Betty Cuthbert a role model for aspiring athletes at Dubbo

Legendary: 'Golden Girl' Betty Cuthbert (front) takes part in the opening ceremony of the 2000 Sydney Games with fellow Olympians Dawn Fraser, Cathy Freeman, Debbie Flintoff-King and Raelene Boyle. Photo: Andy Zakeli.
Legendary: 'Golden Girl' Betty Cuthbert (front) takes part in the opening ceremony of the 2000 Sydney Games with fellow Olympians Dawn Fraser, Cathy Freeman, Debbie Flintoff-King and Raelene Boyle. Photo: Andy Zakeli.

The athletics community at Dubbo will remember Olympic great Betty Cuthbert as an unmatched role model for its aspiring stars.

The champion track runner died this week aged 79 after a long battle with multiple sclerosis (MS).

Cuthbert created sporting history, winning three gold medals at the 1956 Melbourne Olympics and a fourth at the 1964 games.

In later years she became Australia’s greatest advocate for MS, a condition of the central nervous system.

Dubbo Athletics Club vice president and throws coach Jason Chatfield said Cuthbert’s death was a sad loss for the sport.

Dubbed the ‘Golden Girl’, she remains the only Olympian to have won a gold medal in all sprint events, being the 100, 200 and 400 metres.

“I don’t know if I’ll see that feat again,” he said.

“I’ll make sure we talk about her with the kids at training on Sunday.

“Let them know who she was, someone they should aspire to be, especially coming from a humble beginning.”

The daughter of nursery owners, Cuthbert was born in Merrylands in Sydney's western suburbs, attending Ermington Public School and  Parramatta Home Science School where she developed an interest in athletics and an ambition to compete in the Olympics.

Tributes flowed to Cuthbert on Monday for her achievements on the track, and as a great Australian who lived with MS.

MS Australia chief executive officer Deidre Mackechnie said the world knew Betty Cuthbert as a remarkable athlete who achieved greatness on the track.

“What is also known by many, and something I wish to highlight today is Betty Cuthbert’s remarkable devotion to and efforts for the MS community,” she said.

“Betty was a passionate advocate that people living with MS should receive the best possible support and services.

“She also advocated for research into MS.

“Her lived experience with MS has helped raise invaluable awareness of the condition.”