Irene Hirst

Biographical information

TypeCompeted in Olympic Games
Full nameIrene•Hirst (-Williams)
Used nameIrene•Hirst
Born11 July 1930 in North Bierley, West Yorkshire, England (GBR)
Died1 July 2000 in Bradford, West Yorkshire, England (GBR)
AffiliationsSaltaire Gym Club, Bradford (GBR)
NOC Great Britain


Irene Hirst first became interested in gymnastics when her mother took her to a local gym when she was 3-years-of-age. At 14, Irene joined the Saltaire club, and took up the sport competitively. She was the 1947 Yorkshire novice gymnastics champion, and that same year finished fourth in the senior National Championships at Leeds. She was the senior Yorkshire champion in 1948, and was part of the strong Saltaire club’s contingent at the London Olympics. Irene finished second to namesake Pat Hirst at the 1949 Yorkshire Championships, and after finishing fourth in the nationals in 1951, had her best ever finish the following year, when she was third.

Hirst married Robert Williams in October 1956, and after retiring from the sport, started coaching youngsters in the Bradford area. She became the Bradford council’s gymnastics co-ordinator, and in 1977 founded the Eldwick Gymnastics Club in Bingley which, 40 years later, was still going strong. Irene Hirst died just 10 days before her 70th birthday.


Games Discipline (Sport) / Event NOC / Team Pos Medal As
1948 Summer Olympics Artistic Gymnastics (Gymnastics) GBR Irene Hirst
Team All-Around, Women (Olympic) Great Britain 9
1952 Summer Olympics Artistic Gymnastics (Gymnastics) GBR Irene Hirst
Individual All-Around, Women (Olympic) 115
Team All-Around, Women (Olympic) Great Britain 16
Team Portable Apparatus, Women (Olympic) Great Britain 15
Floor Exercise, Women (Olympic) =125
Horse Vault, Women (Olympic) =74
Uneven Bars, Women (Olympic) 110
Balance Beam, Women (Olympic) 125