'Golden Girl' Betty Cuthbert dies, aged 79

Betty Cuthbert
Betty Cuthbert races towards the finish line.

Australia’s “Golden Girl” of athletics Betty Cuthbert has passed away aged 79.

Cuthbert won hearts around the country after taking home three gold medals at the 1956 Melbourne Olympics, and a fourth at the 1964 Tokyo games.

Channel Nine reports the beloved athlete was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1969 and dedicated much of her life to raising awareness for the disease.

She was just 18 years old when she won her first Olympic gold medal and remains the only Olympian to have won a gold medal in all sprint events, being the 100, 200 and 400 metres.

She was born in the Sydney suburb of Merrylands in 1938.

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In 1956 she became the first Australian to win triple Olympic gold.

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.

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Cuthbert reportedly died peacefully in a Perth nursing home at the weekend.

Tributes have already started flowing on social media with politicians, athletes and fans all honouring the remarkable woman.

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Do you remember when Betty Cuthbert won gold? What are your thoughts on this sad news?