• Entry type: Person
  • Entry ID: IMP0122

Cuthbert, Betty

(1938 – 2017)
  • Born 20 April, 1938, Merrylands New South Wales Australia
  • Died 7 August, 2017, Western Australia Australia
  • Occupation Commonwealth or Empire Games Gold Medalist, Olympian, Track and Field Athlete


Betty Cuthbert was the first Australian athlete to win an Olympic gold medal on Australian soil. Nicknamed the ‘Golden Girl’ of Australian athletics, she was inducted into the Sport Australia Hall of Fame in 1985 as an Athlete Member for her contribution to the sport of athletic. She was elevated to “Legend of Australian Sport” in 1994.

Betty Cuthbert was so unsure that she would make the Australian Olympic Games team in 1956, she bought tickets to attend the Games as a spectator.


In 1956, at the Olympic Games in Melbourne, Betty Cuthbert became the first Australian athlete to win a gold medal on Australian soil. In fact, Cuthbert won gold in three track and field events at these Olympics: the 100 metres, 200 metres and the 4×100 metre relay. She made a winning return to form at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, taking gold in the 400 metres. She has achieved 16 world records. In the 1970s, Cuthbert was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and began actively campaigning for research funds for the Multiple Sclerosis Society. Her autobiography, Golden Girl, has been printed in two editions.

In 1965, Cuthbert was appointed as a Member of the Order of the British Empire, for athletics in New South Wales. She was later appointed as a Member of the Order of Australia (1 January 1984), and awarded the Australian Sports Medal (8 February 2000).

Betty Cuthbert died on 7 August 2017. At her death, she was still the only Olympian to have won gold in the 100m, 200m and 400m and only Ian Thorpe (five) has won more gold for Australia.



  • 2001 - 2001

    Inducted into the Victorian Honour Roll of Women

  • 1960 - 1960

    Participated at the Rome Olympics

  • 1964 - 1964

    Athletics – 400m Event

    Gold Medalist at the Tokyo Olympic Games
  • 1962 - 1962

    Athletics – 4 x 110y Relay

    Gold Medalist at Perth Empire and Commonwealth Games
  • 1956 - 1956

    Athletics – 100m Sprint, 200m Sprint, 4 x 100m Relay

    Gold Medalist at the Melbourne Olympic Games

Published resources

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