Australian gold medalist Betty Cuthbert dies from multiple sclerosis

  • Australian gold medalist Betty Cuthbert dies from multiple sclerosis

Australian gold medalist Betty Cuthbert dies from multiple sclerosis

She was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis five years later and bravely fought the disease for nearly fifty years.

Cuthbert won the 100m, 200m and anchored the team that won the 4 x 100m relay that year, forever cementing herself in the hearts of Australians as the Golden Girl of Australian track and field.

Cuthbert then combined with Shirley de la Hunty, Norma Fleming and Fleur Wenham to win the 4x100m relay while setting a world record.

In 2000 Cuthbert was one of the torch bearers at the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games in Sydney.

She was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1974 and battled the disease for many years after retiring from her sporting career.

Tributes have continued to flow for Cuthbert from the athletics world and beyond.

One of Australia's greatest Olympians, Cuthbert was the country's first athlete inducted into the worldwide track and field federation's Hall of Fame.

A member of the IAAF Hall of Fame, Cuthbert is also a Legend of the Sport Australia Hall of Fame.

She was notable for her distinctive approach to her sport, sprinting with her mouth wide open and lifting her knees high.

Cuthbert also won gold in the 400m eight years later at the Tokyo Olympics.

The Western Australian government has offered Betty Cuthbert's family a state funeral, which Premier Mark McGowan says she thoroughly deserves.

"She loved the country and we loved her".

"It's amusing looking back at everything", she said.

"Betty was a very humble and endearing person and whilst coming to WA to escape her popularity, she gave freely of her time and support when it came to supporting aspiring athletes", he said.

Marlene Mathews finished in third behind Cuthbert in both the 100m and 200m events in 1956 and remembers her fondly.

Cuthbert, who passed away overnight, is the sole athlete to win Olympic gold in the 100m, 200m and 400m.

Her phenomenal athletic prowess made one of Australia's earliest sports superstars and inspired generations of young women.

"Following her diagnosis of MS, she dedicated much of her life to fundraising to help find a cure", continued Coates.