PERTH, Australia — Betty Cuthbert, who won the 100- and 200-meter and sprint relay gold medals at the 1956 Olympics, has died following a long battle with multiple sclerosis. She was 79.
Athletics Australia on Monday confirmed that Cuthbert died overnight in Western Australia state.
Cuthbert, who 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, was the first Australian inducted into the international track and field federation’s Hall of Fame. Athletics Australia said Cuthbert set nine world records and is the only athlete to win the 100, 200 and 400 sprints at the Olympics.
Cuthbert was dubbed the “Golden Girl” in Australia after her starring role as an 18-year-old at the Melbourne Games, and was honored with a statue cast in bronze outside the Melbourne Cricket Ground.
She was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1969 and was restricted to a wheelchair in recent years. In one of her last public appearances, Cuthbert carried the Olympic torch in the stadium before the cauldron was ignited to open the Sydney 2000 Olympics.