PERTH, Australia (AP) Betty Cuthbert, who won the 100- and 200-meter and sprint relay gold medals at the 1956 Olympics, has died following a long battle with multiple sclerosis. She was 79.
Athletics Australia on Monday confirmed that Cuthbert died overnight in Western Australia state.
Cuthbert, who was injured during the 1960 Olympics and then retired for 18 months before returning to competition and winning the gold medal in the 400 at the 1964 Olympics in Tokyo, was the first Australian inducted into the international track and field federation’s Hall of Fame. Athletics Australia said Cuthbert set nine world records and is the only athlete to win the 100, 200 and 400 sprints at the Olympics.
Cuthbert was dubbed the “Golden Girl” in Australia after her starring role as an 18-year-old at the Melbourne Games, and was honored with a statue cast in bronze outside the Melbourne Cricket Ground.
She was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1969 and was restricted to a wheelchair in recent years. In one of her last public appearances, Cuthbert carried the Olympic torch in the stadium before the cauldron was ignited to open the Sydney 2000 Olympics.
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Lindsey Vonn’s top rival for downhill gold is in danger of missing the upcoming Olympics.
Ilka Stuhec, a world champion Alpine skier from Slovenia, suffered a torn ACL after a practice crash in Austria this weekend.
Stuhec had become a strong medal favorite for PyeongChang after winning FIS World Cup titles in downhill and Alpine combined last season. She also won a gold medal in downhill at the 2017 World Championships, where Vonn placed third.
According to a post on the FIS website, surgery is set for this Wednesday, with more information to come after that. But preliminary reports suggest that she is likely to miss the Olympics.
“For now it looks like Ilka Stuhec will have to miss a large part or maybe the whole World Cup season, including the Winter Olympic Games in South Korea,” a spokesperson for Struhec told Reuters.
In a tweet, Struhec acknowledged that she would be sidelined “for a few months.”
The Olympics start in less than four months.
Mikey Lillis, a 17-year-old aerials skier, died in his sleep at his home in East Rochester, N.Y., overnight Saturday, according to U.S. Ski & Snowboard.
“We are a family, and as a family our entire team grieves for Mikey, his own family and his teammates,” U.S. Ski & Snowboard President and CEO Tiger Shaw said in a statement. “We’ll remember him for the pathway he was following and the goals he was beginning to achieve. Our condolences go out to his parents Bernie and Jamie and the entire Lillis family.”
Lillis was working his way to join his two older brothers at the elite international level. He made three podiums on the Nor-Am Cup tour between the last two seasons.
Jon Lillis, 23, is the reigning world champion in aerials. Chris Lillis, 19, won the FIS Rookie of the Year award last season with four top-10 finishes on the World Cup.