03 January 2018

Cuthbert and Mathews our first ladies in bronze

IAAF President, Lord Sebastian Coe has unveiled two bronze sculptures of Betty Cuthbert and Marlene Mathews in a special ceremony at the SCG precinct today.

Betty Cuthbert and Marlene Mathews set 11 world records at the former Sydney Sports Ground, and their remarkable achievement sees them honoured as the first female athletes added to the bronze sculptures within the SCG precinct.

The sculptures were donated by SCG Trust Chairman Tony Shepherd and Trustees Alan Jones, Rod McGeoch, and Katie Page.

Mr Shepherd spoke on behalf of his fellow benefactors and the SCG Trust at the unveiling.

“It is quite fitting that the sculptures have captured both Betty and Marlene in action, side-by-side, where they finished in so many contests,” Mr Shepherd said.

“You can really see their determination. Betty’s famous running style, and Marlene’s determination to never be beaten without a fight.

“I think sculptor Cathy Weiszmann captured the grace, speed and athletic brilliance of these two great Australians perfectly.”

Betty Cuthbert represented Australia at three Olympic Games and two British Empire Games. She remains the only athlete to win the women’s 100 metres, 200 metres, and 400 metres at the Olympic Games. Cuthbert set six world records at the former Sydney Sports Ground within the SCG precinct.

Marlene Mathews represented Australia between 1950 and 1961, competing at two Olympic Games, two British Empire Games (Commonwealth Games), a Centenary Games and set five world records at the former Sydney Sports Ground within the Sydney Cricket Ground precinct.

The Trust was able to advise Ms Cuthbert of its desire to commission a sculpture in her honour, prior to her passing in August 2017 and was said to be excited about the project.

Marlene Mathews attended several design sessions in the studio, together with Betty Cuthbert’s twin-sister, Marie Johnston who stood with Ms Mathews, Mr Shepherd and Lord Coe at the unveiling yesterday. They were both delighted with the final casting.

The immortalised runners Betty Cuthbert and Marlene Mathews join 12 other sculptures onsite and appear in the Allianz Stadium forecourt alongside footballers Dally Messenger, Trevor Allan and Reg Gasnier.

The sculpture of rugby great Ken Catchpole was relocated to the new Rugby Australia House on Boxing Day.

SCG bronzed sculptures

There are now 14 sculptures within the Sydney Cricket Ground precinct.

  • Trevor Allen
  • Richie Benaud
  • Ken Catchpole
  • Betty Cuthbert
  • Reg Gasnier
  • Paul Kelly
  • Stan McCabe
  • Marlene Mathews
  • Dally Messenger
  • Paul Roos
  • Fred Spofforth
  • Johnny Warren
  • Steve Waugh
  • Stephen 'Yabba' Gascoign