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Olympic long jump champion Yvette Williams dead at 89


Yvette Williams, who was New Zealand’s first female Olympic gold medalist and holder of the world long jump record, has died at age 89.

In a statement Sunday, Athletics New Zealand said “we are sorry to share that 1952 Olympic gold medalist Yvette Williams passed away (Saturday) night aged 89. Yvette leaves behind a huge legacy in the sport that we love.”

No cause of death was immediately available.

Williams won the long jump gold medal at the 1952 Helsinki Olympics with a jump of 6.24 meters, an Olympic record and only one centimeter short of the world record then held by Dutch athlete Fanny Blankers-Koen.

She set a new world mark of 6.29m in the New Zealand city of Gisborne in February, 1954.

Williams also won four Commonwealth Games gold medals. She was a multi-talented athlete who also won national titles in shot put, discus, javelin and the 80 meters hurdles and represented New Zealand at basketball.