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Vale Betty Cuthbert AM MBE

Published: 7 August 2017
Released by: The Premier

Today we reflect on the extraordinary life of Betty Cuthbert who has died after a long battle with multiple sclerosis.

Betty was born in Merrylands in 1938 and attended Ermington Public School and Macarthur Girls High School.

At the age of 18, the young woman from Western Sydney became an Olympic super star with three gold medals at the 1956 Melbourne Games.

Australia’s golden girl set an extraordinary nine world records during her sporting career and added a fourth Olympic gold at the Tokyo Games in 1964.

Betty retired after Tokyo, but returned to the Olympic arena as a torchbearer at the opening ceremony in 2000 for the Sydney Games.

Accompanied by Raelene Boyle she carried the Olympic flame into the main stadium - a defining moment in what was a remarkable time in Sydney’s history.

She was awarded an MBE in 1965 for services to athletics in NSW and in 1984 was made a Member of the Order of Australia for her services to sport and the community.

Betty’s legacy will live on in her home town of Ermington where her original family home is heritage listed and the main shopping street is named in her honour.

We remember Betty Cuthbert for her incredible achievements and being a pioneer for women in sport, as well as her advocacy for multiple sclerosis funding and research.

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