Famous New Zealanders

Yvette Williams

  • Born in Dunedin in 1930
  • Spent her early years growing up in Dunedin
  • In New Zealand won the shot put title with a throw of 31 feet and 7 inches (approx 9.63 metres)
  • At the Empire Games (now called the Commonwealth Games) in Auckland in 1950 she won the gold medal for the long jump for leaping 19 feet 4 5/8 inches (approx 5.89 metres)
  • Won the Olympic gold medal at the 1952 Helsinki Olympics for the long jump event leaping 6.24 metres
  • Awarded the MBE in 1953
  • Co-founded the Pakuranga Athletic and Harrier Club in 1953
  • At the Empire Games (now called the Commonwealth Games) in Vancouver in 1954 she won the gold medals for the long jump, the discus and the shot put
  • Broke the long jump world record in Gisborne in 1954. The world record leap was recorded at 6.29m (20ft 7 1/4 inches). This record stood for 18 months before it was bettered
  • Played netball for Otago and the South Island
  • Played indoor basketball for Otago and New Zealand
  • She married Buddy Corlett who played basketball and softball for New Zealand in 1954 - subsequently changed her name to Yvette Corlett. They raised four children.
  • Retired from athletics in 1956
  • Worked as a physical education teacher at Otahuhu and Diocesan schools
  • In 1990 was inducted into the New Zealand Sports Hall of Fame


More information

New Zealand History Online