Yvette Williams was New Zealand’s first ever female Olympic gold medal winner and is widely regarded as one of New Zealand’s greatest ever athletes.

In 1952, Williams dramatically won gold in the long jump at the Helsinki Olympic Games. Williams fouled her first two attempts and was in danger of failing to record a distance but completed a legitimate jump on her third attempt. The top six jumpers, including Williams, continued for three more attempts each. Williams jumped 6.24m for the historic win and returned to New Zealand as a national hero. 

She was New Zealand Olympian #76 and only our ninth ever female Olympian.

Williams went on to further sporting success and in 1954 broke the world record for women’s long jump with an astonishing leap of 6.29m in Gisborne.

The Dunedin born athlete wasn't only a long jumper, she also competed in discus and shot put, and across her disciplines won a staggering four gold medals and one silver at Commonwealth Games.

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Yvette's Games History