Yvette Williams dies aged 89

Yvette Williams, New Zealand's first-ever female Olympic gold medallist, has died aged 89.

She passed away on Saturday night.

Williams took home the gold in the long jump at the 1952 Helsinki Games, becoming the first New Zealand woman to win an Olympic event.

She leapt 6.24 metres to win the long jump final then - also setting a world record in 1954 with a jump of 6.28m.

The tributes are pouring in on social media for Williams, who became Yvette Corlett after marrying national basketball representative Charles 'Buddy' Corlett in 1954.

Athletics New Zealand posted that "Yvette leaves behind a huge legacy in the sport that we love. Our thoughts are with Yvette's family and friends".

Sports Minister Grant Robertson called Williams "an extraordinary athlete who blazed a trail for NZ women. RIP Yvette".

Joseph Romanos Tweeted: "Very sad today to hear of the death at 89 of Yvette Williams, who was a superstar of her era, an Olympic gold medallist in the long jump, a world record holder and a pioneer for all the female NZ sports legends who followed. A wonderful person I was proud to know. RIP Yvette."

Romanos told Newshub Williams was "an amazing sportswoman".

"I think she was our first great New Zealand sportswoman and paved the way really for the great athletes that followed - not just the great track and field athletes like Beatrice Faumuina and Valerie Adams but also the other great New Zealand sportswomen like Susan Devoy and Barbara Kendall and the Evers-Swindells and so on.

"Yvette was the person that went out into the world and proved that it could be done."

In 1950, she also won the gold medal in the long jump at the British Empire Games (the forerunner of the Commonwealth Games) in Auckland - as well as silver in the javelin.

In 1987, Williams was named Athlete of the Century at the 100th anniversary of Athletics New Zealand.

She originally excelled in shot put and won 21 national titles in all - the second-equal-most in history - in long jump, javelin, shot put, discus and the 80-metre hurdles.

Williams even set a New Zealand record in pentathlon that stood for 10 years - and also represented the country in basketball.

Born in Dunedin in 1929, she attended Otago Girls' High School.