Mandurah’s golden girl Betty Cuthbert dies at 79

Betty Cuthbert wins gold in Melbourne in 1956. Photo: Getty
Mandurah’s golden girl Betty Cuthbert dies at 79
Mandurah’s golden girl Betty Cuthbert dies at 79
Mandurah’s golden girl Betty Cuthbert dies at 79
Betty Cuthbert wins gold in Melbourne in 1956. Photo: Getty

AUSTRALIA’S Golden Girl and Mandurah resident Betty Cuthbert has died at the age of 79.

Elizabeth Cuthbert was born in Merrylands, NSW in 1938 and lived in Mandurah for many years.

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

Cuthbert won more gold medals than any other female in Australian in Olympic history.

During her career she set world records at 60m, 100 yards, 200 metres, 220 yards and 440 yards, and remains the only Olympian to have won gold in all sprint events.

Only Ian Thorpe has won more.

She also contributed to Australian relay teams setting world records.

In 1956 at the Melbourne Olympics, aged 18, 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 in the stadium before Cathy Freeman lit the flame.

She moved to Mandurah in 1991 where she was a familiar sight at school events.

In 2014, the City of Mandurah named a Halls Head park after Cuthbert.

But despite her incredible achievements on the track, 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 a disease that affects the nervous system and can interfere with the transmission of nerve impulses in the brain, spinal cord and optic nerves.

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