WELLINGTON – 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.