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Women's Marathon Champion Grete Waitz Dies at 57

Women's Marathon Champion Grete Waitz Dies at 57

Gold medalist marathon runner Grete Waitz died at age 57 at a hospital in her native Oslo on Tuesday after fighting cancer for six years. Throughout her  exemplary career she competed in the 1972 and '76 Olympics in the 1,500 meters. She one a silver medal behind Joan Benoit in the first women's Olympic marathon at the 1984 Los Angeles games.

Gold medalist marathon runner Grete Waitz died at age 57 at a hospital in her native Oslo on Tuesday after fighting cancer for six years, according to BBC News.

Waitz had been living with cancer since 2005 but avoided discussing her health condition in public.

"She didn't wish to put too much focus on herself and her disease but hoped she could contribute in some way to help others, says Helle Aanesen the manager of the Active Cancer Foundation in Norway, who knew Waitz through her work with the foundation.

"She was a fantastic and immensely successful sports practitioner and also a role model and pioneer in women's sports. She showed that women too can run longer distances than 1,000 metres,” Aanesen added.

Throughout her  exemplary career she competed in the 1972 and '76 Olympics in the 1,500 meters. She won a silver in the first women's Olympic marathon at the 1984 Los Angeles games, according to the LA Times.

“She will be remembered as one of the best marathon runners of her time,” International Olympic Committee President Jacques Rogge said. Waitz also won the London Marathon twice and the Stockholm Marathon once. She also landed five titles at the world cross-country championships.

The International Track and Field Assn. called her “one of the brightest flames” of modern athletics.

A private funeral ceremony is planned for next week, according to Waitz's wishes. Waitz is survived by her husband Jack and her two brothers, Jan and Arild.

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