'A trailblazer for NZ women's sport' – NZOC president's tribute to Yvette Williams

Kiwi Olympic gold medallist Yvette Williams is being hailed as one of the most pivotal figures in the history of New Zealand women's sport, having passed away last night.

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New Zealand's first female Olympic gold medallist died last night. Source: 1 NEWS

Williams, who was 89, became the first New Zealand woman to win Olympic gold in the long jump at the 1952 Olympics in Helsinki.

Williams' prowess didn't stop at long jump either, winning four golds and a silver at the Commonwealth Games in the long jump, discus, shot put and javelin.

Away from athletics, Williams also represented New Zealand in basketball, as well as being named in the New Zealand Hall of Fame in 1990.

Speaking to 1 NEWS today, NZOC president Mike Stanley hailed Williams' impact as an icon of women's sport in New Zealand.

"She was an absolute iconic Olympian, and a trailblazer for New Zealand women's sport," he said.

"She was a very, very special lady."

As for the example Williams set for other women to compete, Stanley spoke of the biggest impact the Olympic gold medallist imprinted in her fellow countrymen and women.

"A can-do attitude. She was the pin-up girl for participation in sport, and success in sport.

"And she gave back. She was a wonderful teacher, she was a coach, involved in administration - Pakuranga Athletics Club, a founding member there. She had a lifetime of giving back, that's a legacy in itself.

"Sport in New Zealand is based on volunteerism, and she was an icon in that as well."

As to how Williams will be remembered, Stanley made it clear that she was so much more than just on field success.

"The gold medal in Helsinki was one thing, but then she won five British Empire and Commonwealth medals in four disciplines, and she was the world record holder.

"And she was a mum, [that] was the other contribution she made in her life.

"She was a wonderful example to all of us."