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Betty Cuthbert, 4-Time Olympic Gold Medalist, Dies at 79

Betty Cuthbert of Australia waves a greeting after receiving her gold medal for winning the women's 400-meter run at the Tokyo Olympics, October 17, 1964. She is flanked by Ann Packer of Britain, left, who finished second, and Judith Moore, who finished third.
Betty Cuthbert of Australia waves a greeting after receiving her gold medal for winning the women's 400-meter run at the Tokyo Olympics, October 17, 1964. She is flanked by Ann Packer of Britain, left, who finished second, and Judith Moore, who finished third.AP

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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 BOYLE
1956 sprint champion Betty Cuthbert waves as she is pushed by three-time silver medal winner Raelene Boyle as they carry the Olympic torch at the end of the opening ceremony of the Olympics Friday, Sept. 15, 2000 in Sydney.David Guttenfelder / AP

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.

Australia's Betty Cuthbert, right, wins the Women's Olympic Games 4 x 100 metres Relay Final, in a new World Record time of 44.5 seconds, at Melbourne, Australia, Dec. 1, 1956.
Australia's Betty Cuthbert, right, wins the Women's Olympic Games 4 x 100 metres Relay Final, in a new World Record time of 44.5 seconds, at Melbourne, Australia, Dec. 1, 1956.ASSOCIATED PRESS

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