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Betty Cuthbert: Athletics

Elizabeth “Betty” Cuthbert AM, MBE (born April 20, 1938 in Merrylands, New South Wales, died 6 August 2017) is a former Australian sprinter who won four Olympic gold medals. In the span of her career, she set world records for 440 yards, 220 yards, 100 yards and 60 yards. She also competed with the Australian relay teams winning 4x100 meters, 4x110 yards, 4x200 meters and 4x220 yards.

Greatest Sporting Achievements

This Australian runner won the Australian junior 100 meters title in less than 12 seconds when she was only 15. During the 1956 Olympics, she broke record after record, winning gold medals for 3 different events.

In nine years, she set a total of 16 world records, 11 individual records and 5 relay records, winning her fourth gold medal in the Tokyo Olympics in 1964. Cuthbert was the second woman to win four track gold medals in 1981. She was inducted into the Sport Australia Hall of Fame in 1985. 

Why Was She So Good?

Because of her will to win, she became the champion. Betty Cuthbert said in an interview that she never thought she would win the 100m much more the 200m. Who could forget Cuthbert’s signature running style – with her high knee lifts and her mouth wide open? “Everything I did that required effort, I opened my mouth. Even to catch a ball, I opened my mouth.” Betty Cuthbert felt freedom when she ran and that’s what she supposes was good about it.

What You May Not Know

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Profiles Extra

There are profiles of past athlete champions from a large range of sports. See also profiles of Olympic athletes and pages about sporting heroes.

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