Australia's Olympic running legend Betty Cuthbert (L), winner of four gold medals in 1956 and 1964, is escorted by Reelene Boyle as she holds the Olympic torch during the opening ceremony of the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney. Photograph: (AFP)
She died after a long battle with multiple sclerosis late Sunday
Australian sprinting legend and four-time Olympic gold medallist Betty Cuthbert has died at the age of 79.
She died after a long battle with multiple sclerosis late Sunday, AFP cited officials as saying.
Cuthbert won three gold medals at the 1956 Melbourne Olympics in the 100m, 200m, and 4x100m relays at the age of 18.
Cuthbert, known as the original “Golden Girl”, also won gold in the 400m eight years later at the Tokyo Olympics in 1964.
Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull called her an “inspiration and a champion”.
“Rest in peace Betty Cuthbert - an inspiration and a champion on and off the track,” he wrote on Twitter.
Rest in peace Betty Cuthbert - an inspiration and a champion on and off the track.— Malcolm Turnbull (@TurnbullMalcolm) August 6, 2017
"Betty was the Golden Girl of the track and a national heroine," said Australian Olympic Committee president John Coates.
"It's very sad to lose such a great champion. Betty battled her illness for many years and showed tremendous courage, but more importantly, she always managed to smile."
She remains the only athlete, male or female, to win Olympic gold in the 100m, 200m and 400m.