Today's Birthday 20/4

Today's Birthday, April 20: Australian Olympic athlete Betty Cuthbert (1938-2017)

Today's Birthday, April 20: Australian Olympic athlete Betty Cuthbert (1938-2017)

Forever Australia's original "golden girl" of the track, Betty Cuthbert's remarkable life was remembered at two ceremonies on opposite sides of the country after her death aged 79 last year.

Family, friends, politicians, sporting icons and broadcasters gathered in Cuthbert's hometown of Sydney for a state memorial service days after her private funeral in Western Australia.

At the Mandurah ceremony, the champion sprinter's four Olympic gold medals were displayed on the stage along with her green Olympic blazer and a photograph of her in her prime at the 1960 Rome Games.

Born Elizabeth "Betty" Cuthbert, a twin sister to Marie, in Sydney in 1938, the youngster realised at an early age she had a God-given gift to run.

Infatuated with the sport, Cuthbert's star rose quickly, breaking Australian Marjorie Jackson's 200m world record months before the 1956 Games to become a natural team selection.

From the time she claimed an Olympic 100m, 200m and 4x100m relay treble as an 18-year-old at the 1956 Games on home soil, Cuthbert was considered a national treasure.

Cuthbert's lunge at the line in the 100m at the Melbourne Olympics was eventually immortalised in bronze outside the MCG in 2003.

Four years after her Melbourne triumph she went to Rome as the favourite to win again, but an injury led to her elimination early in the 100m, and ultimately, her retirement.

She returned to athletics for the 1962 Commonwealth Games and then focused on the 400m for the Tokyo Olympics.

Cuthbert's comeback was complete as she raced to 400m gold in an Olympic record time, becoming the first, and so far only, athlete to win the 100m, 200m and 400m.

After her multiple sclerosis diagnosis in 1974, the legend became the victim of a cruel con man in the late 1990s who left her virtually penniless.

One of Cuthbert's last public appearances came at the opening ceremony of the Sydney Olympics where, in her wheelchair, she carried the Olympic flame into the stadium.

The four-time Olympic champion, who also set 16 world records, was among the 10 inaugural inductees into the IAAF Hall of Fame in 2012.