Hear an extract from 1954 radio documentary, 'Sports Mirror', about the 1954 Commonwealth Games and Yvette Williams's three gold medals.
Of the teams New Zealand has sent overseas to the British Empire and Commonwealth Games, the 1954 team that went to Vancouver, Canada, was the most successful, winning seven gold medals, seven silver medals and five bronze medals. And as we had expected, New Zealand's most outstanding competitor was Yvette Williams who won the first event — the shot put — not previously included in the Games. So her shot of 44 feet 9 ½ inches (over 3 feet better than her nearest rival) creates, in itself, an Empire Games record.
Live Announcer: Yvette Williams, world record holder for the broad-jump, has now won the first final at the Canadian games. And she looked very happy as she jumped from the victory dais, which is a very good sign for her future events — the broad jump, the discus and the 80 metres hurdle.
Narrator: And that, as it happened, was a fair prophecy.
Although Yvette Williams failed to gain a place in the 80 metre hurdles final, she did come second in her heat in 11.3 seconds, a tenth of a second slower than the winner, Miss Desforges of England — and both times bettered the Empire Games record. However, in the final Yvette Williams could only gain sixth place with a time of 11.4.
But the other two events in which she was still to compete in were another story. The broadjump and the discus, both on the same day. In the broadjump, Yvette broke her own Empire Games record, jumping 19 feet 11 ½ inches — nearly 7 inches better than her record. And shortly afterwards, in the discus, she recorded 147 feet 8 inches which automatically became a record for the Games as this event too was included for the first time. Yvette Williams thus brings home to New Zealand three of our seven gold medals, a record for any New Zealander.