Sylvia Potts completed her Diploma in Physical Education at Otago in 1964. She was coached in Dunedin by Allan Potts, who she married in 1965, and this was the beginning of one of the greatest husband and wife partnerships in the history of New Zealand athletics.
Sylvia was selected to go to the 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico, finishing 6th in the semi-final of the 800m. She finished 5th in the final of the 800m at the Edinburgh Commonwealth Games, but it was her effort in the 1,500m final at Edinburgh which has become a legend of track and field in this country. Sprinting to a narrow lead in the home straight, she was in front two metres from the finish when she tripped and fell, losing a certain gold medal.
Her contribution to New Zealand athletics was recognised by her selection to carry the Queen's baton at the 1974 Commonwealth Games in Christchurch, her appointment as Athletics Team Manager at the 1990 Commonwealth Games in Auckland (where her son Richard was a competitor), and the award of a joint ONZM to her and husband Allan for their outstanding contribution to track and field in this country.