Four-time Olympic gold medallist Betty Cuthbert (NSW) has overnight been announced as an inaugural Member of the IAAF Hall of Fame.
At the age of 18, Cuthbert became the darling of the 1956 Olympic Games in Melbourne. In front of family and friends, the prodigiously talented teenager won both the 100m and 200m and then ran the anchor leg on the goldmedal-winning 4x100m relay team which set world records in both the heats and final.
With the 400m introduced onto the women's programme at the 1964 Olympics, and as she had set two 440 yards world records in 1959 and another pair in 1963, Cuthbert decided to focus on that distance for her final tilt at Olympic glory rather than bid to regain her titles in the shorter sprints.
In the Tokyo final, Cuthbert was in front from the first few metres and never headed, with the Sydney-sider describing her race as perfect.
Cuthbert set 16 official world records, either as an individual or in relay teams, during her career.
She was honoured for her athletics achievements when her home city of Sydney staged the 2000 Olympic Games. During the opening ceremony, she was one of the torchbearers in the stadium alongside Raelene Boyle, Dawn Fraser, Shirley Strickland, Shane Gould, Debbie Flintoff-King and Catherine Freeman.
Established as part of the celebrations to mark the Centennial Year of the International Association of Athletics Federations, the announcement of Cuthbert’s induction was made by IAAF President Lamine Diack.
The Official Induction Ceremony will take place at the IAAF Centenary Gala in Barcelona (ESP) on 24 November 2012.
The 24 inaugural Members will represent all IAAF Areas and include all major event groups (sprint, middle distance, long distance, hurdles, jumps,throws, combined events, race walk, and road running).
The first 12 athletes have been announced to coincide with the IAAF world indoor championships.
The remaining 12 names will be made public between now and the IAAF Centenary Gala in a series of announcements to coincide with important Centennial events including the actual day of the IAAF Centenary (17 July) and the traditional IAAF Dinner (2 August) in London (GBR) on the eve of the start of the Olympic Athletics programme.
“The creation of the IAAF Hall of Fame which has long been a vision of the sport’s governing body is an excellent way to not only honour the lifetime achievements of our greatest athletes, but also to heighten public awareness of our sport and it’s rich history,” Diack said.
Joining Cuthbert as inaugural Members are:
- Jesse Owens (USA)
- Abebe Bikila (ETH)
- Paavo Nurmi (FIN)
- Carl Lewis (USA)
- Emil Zátopek (TCH)
- Al Oerter (USA)
- Adhemar da Silva (BRA)
- Ed Moses (USA)
- Fanny Blankers-Koen (NED)
- Jackie Joyner-Kersee (USA)
- Wang Junxia (CHN)
For more information on the announcement, please click here to visit the IAAF website.
With thanks to the IAAF
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