Olympic Legend Betty Cuthbert Has Passed Away

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Despite battling multiple sclerosis at the time, Cuthbert took centre stage at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney when she participated in the final stages of the torch relay in Homebush Bay.

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

Cuthbert broke onto the Olympic scene in Melbourne in 1956, claiming three gold medals on home soil in the 100m, 200m and 4x100m replay.

Known as Australia's "golden girl", she went on to win gold in the 400m at the Tokyo Olympics eight years later.

"The Golden Girl tag attached itself to her for all the years afterwards, symbolic of her entrenchment in the collective affection of a nation", Australia's peerless Olympic historian Harry Gordon wrote of Cuthbert.

Tennis player Margaret Court paid tribute to Cuthbert, saying Australia had lost a sporting legend.

Friend and former Olympic sprinter Raelene Boyle said Cuthbert had won medals with "humility and distinction".

"Her feats on the track brought together Australians as one".

Cuthbert set four world records in 1958 but injury was to hamper her campaign at the 1960 Olympics in Rome and she retired for 18 months immediately afterwards. It was this faith that kept her going for so long and through the most hard times. "She was just a great person".

"Betty is an inspiration and her story will continue to inspire Australian athletes for generations to come".

The Olympic great was a torch-bearer at the opening ceremony of the 2000 Olympics in Sydney.

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

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

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