Australian Olympic Champion Betty Cuthbert dies

by Leon Thompson August 8, 2017, 0:10
Australian Olympic Champion Betty Cuthbert dies

Tennis player Margaret Court paid tribute to Cuthbert, saying Australia had lost a sporting legend. "She had straw-coloured hair and a distinctive, wide mouthed manner of gulping air that made her look to be roaring exultantly as she streaked down the track". "She was easy to talk to, easy to approach and gave great guidance".

"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. "Betty was a member of a unique band of athletes who inspired thousands of Australians".

"Betty's history of success in athletics is inspiring", continued Arbib.

"She loved the country and we loved her".

"It's a very sad day, there's no doubt about it", Freeman said.

"I'm so happy I got to meet such a tremendous and gracious role model".

"Rest in peace Betty Cuthbert - an inspiration and a champion on and off the track", Mr Turnbull said.

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Trengove only hours before learning of Cuthbert's death had finished ninth in the marathon in London - the best result by an Australian woman at a world championship.

He remembers bursting with pride after listening on the radio as Cuthbert claimed victory in the first Olympic women's 400m.

"I told her that every athlete, especially early in their career, when the big moment comes, they feel something is wrong with their body, but that it's just natural nervousness". She'd bought some tickets to attend the Games as a spectator because she wasn't certain she'd qualify for the team. She's such a down to earth, lovely lady. "I've had some twinges this morning", said Gosper. "She fought really hard with MS".

Cuthbert became known in Australia as the "golden girl" after she won three gold medals at the Melbourne Olympics in 1956 when she was just 18 years old.

AUSTRALIA:At the age of 18, Cuthbert won three gold medals at the 1956 Melbourne Olympics - the 100m, 200m and 4x100m relays.

Cuthbert was one of the bearers of the Olympic torch at the opening ceremony of the 2000 Sydney Olympics and carried it in to the stadium before Cathy Freeman lit the flame.

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