The Associated Press PERTH, Australia (AP) — Betty Cuthbert, the only runner to win Olympic gold medals in the 100-, 200- and 400-meter sprints, has died following a long battle with multiple sclerosis. She was 79.
Cuthbert was dubbed the “Golden Girl” in Australia after her starring role as an 18-year-old at the 1956 Olympics in Melbourne, where she won the 100-200 double and anchored Australia’s winning 4x100-meter relay team. She was honored with a statue outside the Melbourne Cricket Ground, the main 1956 Olympic stadium.
Cuthbert was injured during the 1960 Olympics and then retired for 18 months before returning to competition and winning the gold medal in the 400 at the 1964 Olympics in Tokyo.
One of Australia’s greatest Olympians, Cuthbert was the country’s first athlete inducted into the international athletics federation’s Hall of Fame. In all, she set nine world records in sprint events.
Cuthbert was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1969 and was restricted to a wheelchair later in life. In one of her last major public appearances, Cuthbert carried the Olympic torch in the stadium before the cauldron was ignited to open the Sydney 2000 Olympics.Speech