Betty Cuthbert, Australia's four-time Olympic gold medallist, dies at 79

Magpie Brodie Grundy's controversial tackle on North Melbourne's Ben Brown during their round 20 clash on Saturday night

Betty Cuthbert, Australia's most successful Olympic track and field athlete, has passed away aged 79.

Cuthbert, who was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1969, was a torchbearer at the Sydney Olympic Opening Ceremony in 2000.

Cuthbert ended the Games with golds in the 100m, 200m and 4x100m relay, while Gosper pocketed a silver medal in the men's 4x400m.

Eight years later in Tokyo, she became the only person in history to have won Olympic gold in 100, 200 and 400 meters.

"Betty battled her illness for many years and showed tremendous courage, but more importantly she always managed to smile", Australian Olympic Committee president John Coates said in a statement.

Running what she later described as the only flawless race of her career, Cuthbert stormed to victory in 52.01 seconds, ahead of Britain's Ann Packer.

The four-time Olympic gold medallist shot to stardom at Melbourne's 1956 Games - then aged 18, she bought tickets for the Games in case she missed selection.

One of our finest athletes to ever grace the track, Cuthbert remains the only Olympian to have won a gold medal in all sprint events (100, 200, 400).




She was born in the Sydney suburb of Merrylands in 1938.

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

He was 23 at the time, while Cuthbert - who died in Australia overnight - was just 18.

Elizabeth Cuthbert was an inaugural inductees of the IAAF Hall of Fame in 2012 in Barcelona.

"It's very sad to lose such a great champion. I'm so happy I got to meet such a tremendous and gracious role model, and Olympic champion".

Among her many honours, Betty was named a Legend of Australian sport, made a Member of the Order of Australia and has an MS therapy and education centre named in her honour at MS Australia's office in Perth.

"Rest in peace Betty Cuthbert - an inspiration and a champion on and off the track", Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull wrote on social media on Monday. She was content to withdraw from the public eye until one day in 1962 she received a message from God that she should compete in the Tokyo Games. I just think how tough she was.

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