Sea attack on teen a puzzle
AUSTRALIA’S golden girl Betty Cuthbert, who set the nation alight with her astounding feats at the Melbourne Olympics, lost the race she could never win on Sunday night, dying after a 48- year battle with multiple sclerosis.
Cuthbert burst into the national consciousness as a modest 18year- old at the 1956 games, when she won every sprint gold medal available to women – the 100m, the 200m and the 4x100m relay.
Injury would rob her of the chance to defend her titles at the 1960 Rome games but she returned at Tokyo in 1964 to win her fourth gold medal, this time in the 400m. Cuthbert remains the only athlete in history to win Olympic gold in the 100m, 200m and 400m events.
She was the first Australian inducted into the International Association of Athletics Federations Hall of Fame when it was founded in 2012, alongside legends such as Jesse Owens and Carl Lewis.
Yesterday, friends, family and admirers remembered the 79year- old as a modest but committed athlete who fought hard on the track and even harder off it.
Australian Olympic Committee president John Coates paid tribute to Cuthbert, saying Australia had lost a sporting legend.
“Betty was the golden girl of the track and a national heroine,” Mr Coates said. “It’s very sad to lose such a great champion.”
Cathy Freeman, the only other Australian to have won 400m Olympic gold, said it was “a very sad day”.
“Betty is an inspiration and her story will continue to inspire Australian athletes for generations to come,” Freeman said. “I’m so happy I got to meet such a tremendous and gracious role model, and Olympic champion.”
Elizabeth Alyse Cuthbert was born, feet first, in Merrylands in 1938 – seconds before her younger twin Marie. As a child she would run up and down the rows in the family’s nursery. At age eight, running barefoot, she would beat boys and girls alike in races at Ermington Public School.
She was noticed by a teacher, who encouraged her to run competitively, setting her on an early path to a NSW championship.
While harbouring a killer instinct as an athlete, Cuthbert remained modest. She rated her chances of selection in the 1956 Australian team so poorly that she bought tickets to attend the Melbourne Games as a spectator.
In 1969 she discovered she had multiple sclerosis.
She would battle the condition for the rest of her life. Gold medal Melbourne Olympic Games — 1956 Gold medal Melbourne Olympic Games — 1956 Gold medal Melbourne Olympic Games — 1956 Gold medal medal Tokyo Olympic Olympic Games — — 1964 1964 BETTY WAS THE GOLDEN GIRL OF THE TRACK AND A NATIONAL HEROINE ... A GREAT CHAMPION SEA lice, stingrays and jellyfish larvae are all suspected of attacking Melbourne teenager Sam Kanizay who emerged from a beach swim with both legs bleeding profusely. Trying to solve the gruesome mystery, Sam’s father Jarrod Kanizay took meat in a net into the water and recorded footage showing dozens of critters feeding on the chunks. Jeff Weir, executive director of the Dolphin Research Institute says the critters in the video are likely sea lice. But parasite expert Dr Thomas Cribb from the University of Queensland said: “It’s not a parasite I’ve ever come across.” UP to 160 residents evacuated from a high- rise unit block in Sydney’s south face at least another night out of home after a crane collapsed onto the side of their building. Authorities have begun investigating what caused the Sunday morning incident at Wolli Creek as engineers help to dismantle the crane, which smashed into a top- floor penthouse apartment of the multi- storey building, crushing the balcony. It comes as a construction union calls for a halt to the use of cantilever cranes until independent engineers’ reports can prove they have been put together correctly. THE death of a refugee on Manus Island has sparked calls for Australian authorities to intervene after what advocates have described as a preventable tragedy. The man’s death is being investigated by PNG authorities. The man is understood to have taken his own life before he was due to move from detention into the Papua New Guinean community. “More deaths are likely unless the Australian Government acts immediately to bring these people, on both Manus Island and Nauru, to safety in Australia,” Dr David Berger of Doctors for Refugees said yesterday.
AOC PRESIDENT JOHN COATES