Betty Cuthbert appointed a Companion of the Order of Australia

Betty Cuthbert and Dawn Fraser.
Betty Cuthbert and Dawn Fraser.

OLYMPIC Golden Girl and former Mandurah resident Betty Cuthbert has been recognised in the Australia Day Honours List.

The late Ms Cuthbert was appointed a Companion of the Order of Australia,

Appointment to the Order of Australia is the highest recognition for outstanding achievement and service and she was awarded for eminent services to athletics at the national and international level, particularly as a gold medallist at the Melbourne and Tokyo Olympic Games and as a role model, fundraiser and advocate for research into multiple sclerosis.

Cuthbert, who won more gold medals than any other female in Australian Olympic history and lived in Mandurah for many years, died last August aged 79.

During her career she set world records at 60m, 200m, 220m and 440m and remains the only Olympian to have won gold in all sprint events.

Only swimmer Ian Thorpe has won more gold medals.

At the Melbourne Olympics in 1956, the 18-year old Cuthbert won three gold medals.

She won a fourth at the Tokyo Olympics eight years later after returning from retirement.

Cuthbert was one of the bearers of the Olympic torch at the opening ceremony of the 2000 Sydney Olympics and carried it into the stadium before Cathy Freeman lit the flame.

She was the main guest when the Olympic torch relay passed through Mandurah in 2000.

Cuthbert moved to Mandurah in 1991 where she became a familiar site at school events and in 2014, the City of Mandurah named a Halls Head park in her honour.

Despite her incredible achievements, she beat even tougher challenges in her private life.

In her late 30s, she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and dedicated much of her life to raising awareness of the disease.

Her battle was recognised in the naming of a new therapy room at MS Australia’s Sydney office.

National and international sports personalities packed Mandurah Performing Arts Centre for her funeral last year.

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