Oslo: Norway's former marathon world record holder and world champion Grete Waitz has died at the age of 57, Norwegian media reported on Tuesday. Waitz had been suffering from cancer.
Waitz won the inaugural world marathon title in Helsinki in 1983 and a year later took Olympic silver in Los Angeles.
She won her first New York City marathon in 1978, setting a world best time before winning the race a further eight times. Waitz also won the London marathon in 1983 and 1986, setting world records on each occasion.
"Grete Waitz was one of a kind," Norwegian Athletics Federation president Svein Arne Hansen said. "To me, she was also the greatest athlete we've had in Norwegian history."
Waitz will be be remembered as a "champion of female long-distance running and women's sports in general, at a time when some still believed that women should not push themselves as hard physically as men," Norwegian daily Aftenposten wrote.
First Published: Tuesday, April 19, 2011, 18:47