So who stands alongside Peter Snell on the female side of things as NZ's greatest sportswomen thus far.
1. Yvette Williams (gold medal long jump 1952 Melbourne and a swag of other athletics medals and acheivements)
2. Elsie Wilkie (winner of 2 world's bowls champs and in 1977 beat three of NZ's best male champs)
3. Sarah Ulmer (winner of gold in women's pursuit 2004, world records, and other commonwealth golds)
4. Erin Baker (winner of 8 world triathlon titles [sprint and ironman] over her career and a duathlon title!)
5. Sandra Edge (netball midcourt legend)
6. Irene van Dyk (netball shooting superstar)
7. Caroline Evers-Swindell (rowing gold 2004 Olympics and numerous world champ titles)
8. Georgine Evers-Swindell (rowimg gold 2004 Olympics and numerous world champ titles)
9. Analise Coberger (silver winter Olympic gold 1992 plus other world titles)
10. Susan Devoy (Squash 4x World Champ; 8x British Champion plus many other events)
11. Beatrice Faumuina (Shot put winner of World Champs 1997 and 2 Commonwealth Golds)
I would like to include Jean Batten, but I do not consider flying a plane from Britain to NZ solo a sport; like Ed Hillary's climb of Everest, it is a glorious and astonishing feat, but not sport (see my earlier blog on what is a sport?). Valerie Vili is the next who will contend for this title but needs to win a big one; I am sure it will come.
So who is the best?
It comes down to
1. Yvette Williams
2. Erin Baker
3. Irene van Dyk
4. The Evers-Swindells
5. Susan Devoy
For me it is a no-brainer. Susan Devoy is head and shoulders above the rest; 4 world squash titles and 8 British Opens (the equivalent of the World Champs)! She is a legend! She could have gone on as well, but chose to retire and have a family. She now runs multi-sport events and raises money for charities, so she is the real-deal for sure.
After that, Erin Baker; she is not recognised as much as she should be because she competed before the triathlon hit the Olympics etc; but she was the best by far.
Then the Evers-Swindells. For me, if they win the next Olympic gold they will go to nos 1. They are multiple champions.
Then comes Yvette Williams; I wanted her to win because I know her family! But she was a briliant athlete and still the only NZ woman to win an Olympic gold in athletics! Finally, Irene! She is a legend. Again if she and the girls win the next world champs, she will move up for sure.
1. Susan Devoy
2. Erin Baker
3=. Georgina and Caroline Evers-Swindell
5. Irene van Dyk
So arise King Peter (Snell) and Queen Susan (Devoy)... it sounds like something out of the "Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe!