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Australia's greatest track athlete, Betty Cuthbert, had died

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Betty Cuthbert, a sprinter and four-time Olympic gold medalist has died at the age of 79 from multiple sclerosis.

"Betty was the Golden Girl of the track and a national heroine", said Australian Olympic Committee president John Coates.

"It's a very sad day, there's no doubt about it. Betty is an inspiration and her story will continue to inspire Australian athletes for generations to come", Freeman said.

"We are saddened to confirm the passing of Olympic legend Betty Cuthbert, our thoughts with her family and friends", confirmed agencies.

It was there, she claimed her fourth and final Olympic gold medal in the 400m.

She returned to the public eye when the Olympic Games were hosted by her home town of Sydney in 2000 and was one of the bearers of the Olympic flame at the opening ceremony.

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

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Cuthbert was dubbed the "Golden Girl" in Australia after her starring role as an 18-year-old at the 1956 Olympics in Melbourne, where she won the 100-200 double and anchored Australia's winning 4x100-meter relay team.

Only in her thirties Betty was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS), a disease that was still relatively unknown at that time.

The only Australian among the 10 inaugural inductees to the athletics hall of fame in 2012, she won her treble at the 1956 Melbourne Olympics when she was 18.

"She always regarded that single gold medal of 1964 as a far greater triumph than any of her three in 1956".

"She was a most modest champion". Four Olympic gold medals was a feat that went unsurpassed until 2004 when Ian Thorpe was at his peak.

MALCOLM TURNBULL, Prime Minister - "Rest in peace Betty Cuthbert - an inspiration and a champion on and off the track". Sydney 2000 Olympic Champion Cathy Freeman was one of those to follow in the esteemed footsteps of the sporting legend. She'd bought some tickets to attend the Games as a spectator because she wasn't certain she'd qualify for the team.

"It was the only flawless race I have ever run", she later said of that victory.

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