Yang Chuan-kwang

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Yang Chuan-kwang
Yang Chuan-kwang 1960e.jpg
CK Yang at the 1960 Olympics
Personal information
Born(1933-07-10)July 10, 1933
Taitung, Japanese Taiwan
DiedJanuary 27, 2007(2007-01-27) (aged 73)
Los Angeles, California, USA
Height186 cm (6 ft 1 in)
Weight80 kg (176 lb)
Achievements and titles
Personal best(s)HJ – 2.02 m (1956)
PV – 5.00 m (1963)
Decathlon – 8089/(9121) (1963)
Chuan-kwang at the 1960 Olympics

Yang Chuan-kwang, or C.K. Yang (Amis: Maysang Kalimud, Chinese: 楊傳廣; pinyin: Yáng Chuánguǎng) (July 10, 1933 – January 27, 2007), was an Olympic decathlete from Taiwan.[1] Yang attended college at UCLA where he trained and competed with team mate and Olympian Rafer Johnson and was coached by Elvin C. Drake.


Known as the "Iron Man of Asia,"[2] Yang won the decathlon event at the 1954 and 1958 Asian Games, as well as silver medals in the 110 m hurdles and long jump and the bronze medal in the 400 m hurdles. At the 1956 Summer Olympics he placed eighth in the decathlon. He also competed in the high jump.[1]

Yang's most memorable decathlon competition was a decathlon duel with Rafer Johnson, his friend and teammate at University of California at Los Angeles, during the 1960 Summer Olympics in Rome. Going into the final event of the decathlon, the 1500 meter run, Yang trailed Johnson by just 67 points, but Johnson hung on to win the gold medal, with Yang placing second. Yang topped Johnson in all four track events and three jumping or vaulting events, but Johnson gained a large margin in the three throwing events (the shot put, the discus throw, and the javelin throw). Yang was the first Olympic medallist in his country's history.[1]

In 1963, Yang set a world indoor record in the pole vault at 4.96 m (16 ft 3 14 in) in Portland, just one day after David Tork had set the record at 4.93 m (16 ft 2 in) in Toronto.[3] His record only lasted a week. Later that year he finally took the decathlon world record from Johnson at the Mt. SAC Relays, coached by William Neufeld. He was the first man to break the 9,000 barrier under the old scale. When the new tables were re-evaluated, this same score was the first to break 8,000 points under the new system. To date, he is the only athlete not from the United States or Europe to hold the decathlon world record.[4]

Yang placed fifth in the decathlon at the 1964 Summer Olympics.[5]

He appeared in a number of films, including Walk, Don't Run (1966),[6] as well as the 1970 western There Was a Crooked Man... as a tough inmate named Ah-Ping who did not speak.[citation needed]

Yang served in the Legislative Yuan from 1983 to 1986 as a member of the Kuomintang representing what became the Lowland Aborigine Constituency. He later spoke in support of the Democratic Progressive Party.[7]

After Yang's retirement from athletics, he worked as a trainer and supervisor of National Sports Training Center in Zuoying, where Ku Chin-shui and Lee Fu-an were trained. After that, Yang, a Taoist convert from Christianity, worked as a priest and a Tongji in a Taoist temple in his native place for 20 years.[8]

Yang was a member of the Amis, one of the fourteen officially recognized peoples of Taiwanese aborigines. He had a wife, Daisy, and two sons: Cedric Yang (Yang Sui-yuen) and C.K. Yang Jr. and three grandchildren: Madison Yang, Carmen Yang, and Dorothy Yang. In 2001, while serving as president of the National Sports Training Center at Kaohsiung, Yang was diagnosed with liver cancer. He died in 2007 from a massive stroke.[9] He is buried in Ivy Lawn Memorial Park in Ventura, California.[10]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Evans, Hilary; Gjerde, Arild; Heijmans, Jeroen; Mallon, Bill. "Yang C. K." Olympics at Sports-Reference.com. Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved February 15, 2012.
  2. ^ Han Cheung (August 30, 2015). "An Olympic summer to remember". Taipei Times. Retrieved August 26, 2018.
  3. ^ Today in History. rti.org.tw (January 26, 2007)
  4. ^ "12th IAAF World Championships In Athletics: IAAF Statistics Handbook" (PDF). Berlin: IAAF. 2009. pp. 546, 559–60, 649. Archived from the original (PDF) on August 6, 2009. Retrieved May 7, 2011.
  5. ^ "Athletics at the 1964 Tokyo Summer Games: Men's Decathlon". sports-reference.com. Retrieved January 26, 2018.
  6. ^ Dillman, Lisa (January 30, 2007). "C.K. Yang, 74; decathlete won Taiwan's 1st Olympic medal at 1960 Rome Games". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved January 24, 2020.
  7. ^ Jacobs, J. Bruce (2012). Democratizing Taiwan. Brill. p. 162. ISBN 9789004221543.
  8. ^ Yeh, Joseph (September 9, 2009). "The Life and Legend of Taiwan's first Olympic medalist "Asian Iron Man" C.K. Yang". Culture Taiwan. Archived from the original on February 16, 2010. Retrieved January 28, 2020.
  9. ^ "C. K. Yang, 74, Decathlon Silver Medalist, Is Dead". The New York Times. Associated Press. February 1, 2007. Retrieved February 15, 2012.
  10. ^ "Chuan-Kwang "C. K." Yang (1933–2007) – Find A Grave Memorial". Findagrave.com. Retrieved February 15, 2012.

External links[edit]

Preceded by
United States Rafer Johnson
Men's Decathlon World Record Holder
April 28, 1963 – July 24, 1966
Succeeded by
United States Russ Hodge
Preceded by
New Zealand Peter Snell
Track & Field Athlete of the Year
Succeeded by
New Zealand Peter Snell