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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.

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



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.

Yang placed fifth in the decathlon at the 1964 Summer Olympics.

In 1970 he was cast in the western There Was a Crooked Man... as a tough inmate named Ah-Ping who did not speak.

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.

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 a liver cancer. He died in 2007 from a massive stroke.[4] He is buried in Ivy Lawn Memorial Park in Ventura, California.[5]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c Evans, Hilary; Gjerde, Arild; Heijmans, Jeroen; Mallon, Bill. "Yang C. K." Olympics at Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved 15 February 2012.
  2. ^ Han Cheung (30 August 2015). "An Olympic summer to remember". Taipei Times. Retrieved 26 August 2018.
  3. ^ Today in History. (2007-01-26)
  4. ^ Associated, The (1 February 2007). "C. K. Yang, 74, Decathlon Silver Medalist, Is Dead – New York Times". The New York Times. Retrieved 15 February 2012.
  5. ^ "Chuan-Kwang "C. K." Yang (1933–2007) – Find A Grave Memorial". Retrieved 15 February 2012.

External linksEdit

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