Luann Ryon,the last American woman to win individual Olympic archery gold medal, has died at the age of 69 ©World Archery

Luann Ryon of United States, the 1976 Olympic women’s archery gold medallist, has died at the age of 69.

She remains the last American woman to win an individual Olympic gold in the sport.

Ryon was said to have taken up the sport at Riverside Community College (RCC) in California because all the tennis classes were full when she tried to enrol.

She made rapid progress and was an intercollegiate champion in 1974 before earning selection for the national team.

At Montreal in 1976, she was still only 23-years-old when she won the US Olympic trials.

She had not been expected to win in the Canadian city but shot an Olympic record score of 2499 points to take the gold medal, ahead of the two most recent world champions, Valentina Kovpan and Zebiniso Rustamova, both from the Soviet Union.

"She had the mental attributes, the discipline and the competitive drive," the 1972 Olympic men's champion John Williams said of Ryon.

Little more than six months later, Ryon also became world champion in Canberra in Australia.

She added gold in the team event.

In 1983, Ryon also won gold in the Pan-American Games held in Caracas in Venezuela.

Ryon won gold medals in the team event and individual 30 metres, adding silver in the individual 50 metres.

She was inducted into the RCC Hall of Fame in 2010.

"Luann Ryon was well thought of as a competitor and was viewed as a 'class act”' by her opponents," the citation said.

She died in Riverside on December 30.