Norman Read was an Olympic gold medal-winning race walker who helped to popularise the sport in New Zealand.
Born in Portsmouth, England, Norman Read spent his adolescence in the United Kingdom, emigrating to New Zealand in his early twenties. While in the UK he completed an apprenticeship as a carpenter.
Initially Read was an underwhelming race walker. However, when international rules changed to favour road walking over track walking, the longer distances better suited Read. In 1956 he won New Zealand titles in both the 20-kilometre and 50-kilometre races.
Arthur Lydiard was a marathon runner and athletics coach, whose most notable students included Olympic and Commonwealth Games champions. He is also credited with stimulating enthusiasm for jogging worldwide.
Jack Lovelock led a remarkably full life before his death, just a few days shy of his 40th birthday, on 28 December 1949. He is remembered in New Zealand and abroad largely for his athletic achievements, especially his dramatic finish in the 1500 metres at the 1936 Berlin Olympics, which won New Zealand its first athletics gold medal. But Lovelock also achieved academically, forged a successful medical career and was a husband and father of two.
The sports writer Peter Heidenstrom rated Yvette Williams as his 'New Zealand Athlete of the Century'. There is no doubt that she was one of our greatest-ever athletes - and probably the most versatile. There were few events for women in track and field in the 1950s but Williams excelled at most of them.