Published: Thu, August 10, 2017
Sport | By Billy Aguilar

Olympic gold medalist Betty Cuthbert offered state funeral

Olympic gold medalist Betty Cuthbert offered state funeral

Cuthbert added a fourth gold medal in the 400m at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics. She'd bought some tickets to attend the Games as a spectator because she wasn't certain she'd qualify for the team.

Cuthbert then combined with Shirley de la Hunty, Norma Fleming and Fleur Wenham to win the 4x100m relay while setting a world record.

"I was never fanatical about running, never had any heroes or anything".

Only Ian Thorpe boasts more Olympic gold medals than Cuthbert and she remains the only Olympian in history to have claimed gold in the 100m, 200m and 400m track events.

Athletics Australia has sought permission from the IAAF for athletes who wished to, to be able to wear black arm bands when they compete in London as a tribute to Cuthbert.

Cuthbert also competed at the 1960 Rome Olympics but she did not make it through the heats due to an injury.

"Betty was a very humble and endearing person and whilst coming to WA to escape her popularity, she gave freely of her time and support when it came to supporting aspiring athletes", he said.

The Australian Olympic Committee said an example of Cuthbert's humility was how she prepared for the first Olympics staged in Australia.

The multitide of emotional messages show the incredible impact Cuthbert had on Australian athletics and sport.

Cuthbert's Olympic achievements led to the revelation of her deeply-held Christian beliefs. By her mid-fifties, she was confined to a wheelchair and said that said she felt as though a "dark cloud" had crossed her path.

"From a little girl I believed that God had given me the gift to run and I used it".

Through it all, Cuthbert had been inspired by a bible verse given to her by her grandmother just before she ran in Melbourne.

Her multiple sclerosis came upon her slowly at first, causing tingling sensations in her muscles and blurred vision. I never, ever, once said, 'Why me?' " she told the Morning Herald. I can honestly say that.

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.

Ms. Cuthbert did not marry or have children.

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