C.K. YANG passes on

:frowning: Yang, Taiwan Olympian and former UCLA star, dies at 74

Published Sunday January 28th, 2007

LOS ANGELES (AP) - C.K. Yang, the 1960 Olympic decathlon silver medallist for Taiwan who became a UCLA track and field star, has died. He was 74.

Yang died Saturday in Los Angeles of complications from a massive stroke, UCLA spokesman Marc Dellins said Sunday.

Yang (Yang Chuan-kwang) took the silver medal in the Rome Olympics, with Bruins teammate Rafer Johnson winning the gold.Yang’s Olympic medal was the first for Taiwan. He also won two gold medals for his country in the Asian Games in the 1950s.

He finished fifth in the decathlon in the 1964 Tokyo Olympics.

Yang set a decathlon world record of 9,121 points in 1963, before the grading formula for the event was changed.

At UCLA, he was the Bruins’ team captain in 1963 and finished fifth in the high hurdles in the NCAA championship. He still holds the UCLA freshman record of 7,986 points for the decathlon, set in 1960. His UCLA decathlon best of 8,089 points is third in the Bruins’ record books.

“Taiwan has lost someone who may be the greatest athlete of all time, and the rest of us have lost a great friend,” Johnson said in a statement released by UCLA.

“I had a competitive career with C.K. that lasted over a number of years and he was always the most prepared, the most competitive and one of the smartest athletes on the field of competition.”

Johnson said he became a better athlete because of Yang.

Although the competition between them was fierce, Johnson said, “I was always a little ambivalent in my feelings in terms of how bad I wanted to win when I competed against him because he was such a good friend of mine.”

After ending his competitive career, Yang served on Taiwan’s Olympic Committee and spent time there each year helping develop the Olympic program.

He is survived by his widow, Daisy, and sons Cedric and C.K. Jr. Funeral arrangements are pending, but Yang had hoped to have his remains buried at the national track and field training centre in Taiwan.

OH Shit thanks for passing that on KK…

i have been trying to call him even yesterday about a few matters and i had only spoken with CK recently during charlies visit in OZ as he was my biggest supporter when i was in Taiwan and for the changes i wanted to make to the track program.

what a great man indeed and a sad loss of a true legend for sport in Taiwan to relate his status over there he can only be compared Dawn Fraser, Don Bradman and Ian Thorpe in australia for the high regard in which he is held.

was also at one stage a scratch marker in Golf

personally for me i had seen films and heard of him as a former IAAF athlete of the year in 1963 and when i landed in taiwan for the first time with no chinese speaking skills he took me under his wing and we spent many hrs travelling to meets and discussing what can be done to improve the sport in Taiwan.

A sad loss of a great friend and a true gentleman of the sport :frowning:

Brief Profile

A chance meeting in his native Taiwan with two-time Olympic decathlon champion Bob Mathias set C.K. Yang on a quest to become the world’s greatest decathlete. He pursued that dream as a UCLA student, where he was a teammate of 1956 Olympic silver medalist Rafer Johnson. At the 1960 Olympics in Rome, the two locked in what is considered one of the greatest duels in decathlon history. C.K. trailed Rafer by only 67 points going into the final event, the 1500m. If he could beat Rafer by more than 10 seconds, he would win the gold medal. C.K. chances looked good, as his 1500m PR was more than 18 seconds faster than Rafer’s. But Rafer rallied to run a PR by more than 5 seconds, and finished fewer than two seconds behind C.K., to clinch the gold medal.

C.K. warmed up for his epic 1960 battle with Rafer by winning his first Mt. SAC title. He returned to Mt. SAC in 1963 with a performance that literally changed the record books. His World Record score of 9121 forced a revision in decathlon scoring tables, with points now more evenly distributed among events. This proved to be a detriment to C.K., as it removed the huge pole vault advantage (he was the first decathlete to clear 16 feet) he typically held over his competitors.

He returned to Mt. SAC in 1964, again in preparation for the upcoming Olympics. C.K. recorded his third Relays victory. He went on to finish 5th in Tokyo.

C.K.'s 1963’s World Record score at Mt. SAC remains Taiwan’s national record, by far the oldest record still in existence.

Born: 1933

Career Highlights

PR: 9121 (8009 adjusted to 1985 scoring tables)
World Record, 1963
9121 points (8009 adjusted)
Olympic Silver Medal, 1960
Olympic 5th place finish, 1964
U.S. National Champion:
1959: 7549
1962: 8249
1964: 8641
Asian Games Champion, 1954
Asian Games Champion, 1958

i guess you have a permanent place in history when they change an events scoring system to bring the rest of the field back to you

lived a great life between taiwan, LA and hawaii each year bascially following summer whenever he could after his career ended part roles in movies such as Walk Dont Run in 1966 with Cary Grant, There was acrooked man in 1970 with Kirk Douglas, Henry Fonda and Burgess meredith where he played a man called Ah Ping Woo he laughed telling me the story because he said they paid him to act chinese the easiet thing he ever had to do :smiley: and another where he played Wong in a western starring george peppard but not sure of the name of it

The China Post staff

Taiwan’s first Olympic medalist Yang Chuan-kwang died Sunday at the age of 74, the state Central News Agency reported.
Yang, who won silver in the men’s decathlon at the 1960 Rome Olympics, died of a brain hemorrhage three days after he suffered a stroke and was admitted to hospital near his son’s home near Los Angeles, the agency said.

Yang, born in 1933 to the indigenous Ami Tribe, showed an early proficiency in athletics. His coach discovered his talent and introduced him to the decathlon, and after two months of training in the event, Yang competed in the 1954 Asian Games in Manila. He scored 5,454 points and won a gold medal for Taiwan, earning the nickname “Asian Iron Man.”

Four years later, Yang went to Japan for the 1958 Asian games, where he won not only another gold medal but also the ROC government’s support for further studies at the University of California at Los Angeles.

In 1960, Yang took silver at the Rome Olympics after a duel with his UCLA schoolmate Rafer Johnson of the United States. It was the first Olympic medal Taiwan had ever won.

In 1963, Yang set a final world record of 9,121 points in California before the grading formula for the decathlon was changed.

In response to Yang’s death, Premier Su Tseng-chang said he felt sorry to hear of the bad news, adding that he has instructed the National Council on Physical Fitness and Sports to organize an ad hoc committee to handle the funeral affairs and grant Yang some sort of appropriate honor.

Su said that Yang’s outstanding achievements in the decathlon in international arenas made him a national hero. The premier expressed the hope that all nationals can learn from Yang’s sportsmanship and support sports activities.

A spokesman with the Department of Information & Cultural Affairs under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs also said yesterday that the ministry would immediately contact the family members of Yang to assist them in handling relevant affairs.

Meanwhile, Chi Cheng, who won the bronze medal at the 80-meter low hurdles in the 1968 Summer Olympics held in Mexico City and nicknamed the “Flying Antelope of the East,” yesterday lamented at a press conference that the death of Yang is not only a loss of great athletic talent for Taiwan but also a great loss of the entire Chinese people

Chi said she had known Yang for over 50 years, and the memories of their joint efforts in the Rome Olympics have remained fresh to her.

Chi cited the remarks made by Yang’s wife Daisy Chou as saying that Yang hoped to have his remains buried at the national track and field training center in Tsoying, Kaohsiung, southern Taiwan.

Chi said Yang had his wish come true when the government built an indoor track and field gymnasium at the Tsoying center, adding that Yang regretted failing to find successors in the decathlon.

Ck with Rafer Johnson

When I came into the sport the old timers used to speak in awe of Rafer Johnson and CK Yang, their rivalry always earned a chapter in any history of the sport. Nanny you were fortunate to meet him. Guys like that are too rare, what a character, what a talent, what a Man. (and CK was ok too :slight_smile: )

one regret when i finished with Taiwan was only weeks later the squad went to san diego for a training camp and Rafer Johnson called in to spend some time with CK the guys and sat down over lunch with them.

A guide to the respect they have for each other was the fact that CK helped Rafer improve his pole vault in that olympic year and the improvements in the end were the difference between gold and silver, i asked him did he ever regret helping rafer beat him and he said not for one minute we were always great friends and hey its only sport…

Taiwanese Olympian is buried in Ventura
By Rhiannon Potkey, rpotkey@VenturaCountyStar.com
February 4, 2007

To the people of Taiwan, he was a national hero.

To the people of Ventura, he was the man who cut their meat.

To Asian countrymen, he was the track and field icon who brought them glory by capturing Taiwan’s first Olympic medal.

To his Thousand Oaks neighbors, he was the spry senior who took daily walks through The Oaks mall for exercise.

Although he was born in Taiwan and competed for his native country, C.K. Yang had deep Ventura County connections.

Friends, family members and Taiwanese dignitaries gathered to honor the Olympic silver medal-winning decathlete in Ventura on Saturday afternoon during a memorial service at Ted Mayr Funeral Home and burial at Ivy Lawn Memorial Park.

Yang, a longtime Thousand Oaks resident, died of complications from a stroke on Jan. 27 at Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in Woodland Hills. He was 74.

From his humble beginnings as the son of a rice farmer, Chuan-Kwang Yang became a symbol of national pride when he captured the silver medal in the decathlon at the 1960 Olympic Games in Rome after a riveting duel with UCLA teammate and good friend Rafer Johnson.

Yang was nicknamed the “Asian Iron Man,” and his legacy included two gold medals at the Asian Games and former world records in the decathlon and pole vault.

‘A world-class athlete’

Many county residents knew another side of Yang.

Married to Daisy Jue, whose family owned Jue’s Market on Main Street in Ventura, Yang spent many Sunday afternoons working behind the meat counter at the market wielding a large cleaver and a warm smile.

While slicing slabs of beef for backyard barbecues, Yang established close ties with the loyal customers. Some were aware of his athletic feats, while others had no clue.

“If you didn’t know who he was, you would never suspect he was a world-class athlete and celebrity,” said Jim Morgan, an assistant principal at Buena High School who worked as a box boy at the market from 1962 to 1966. “He was just a regular guy in there who even swept the floors. He was just as congenial and nice to everybody.”

Yang’s track prowess came in handy at the market when a shoplifter made off with a bottle of liquor. After an employee told Yang, he gave chase and caught the unsuspecting robber near Anacapa Street. Yang recovered the liquor and let the man go free.

During his Olympic years, Yang occasionally trained at Ventura High School’s track. One afternoon, he tried to offer advice to a young pole-vaulter who replied, “I already have a coach.”

“C.K. just politely walked away, but the coach said, ‘Do you know who that is? That is C.K. Yang. He just broke the world record on the pole vault,’” said Yang’s sister-in-law, Dorothy Lee.

A model for sportsmanship

At a time when track and field was soaring in popularity, the dramatic decathlon showdown in Rome between Yang and Johnson captured the world’s attention.

The competition came down to the final event — the 1,500-meter race — and Yang and Johnson were placed in the same heat. Yang won the race, but Johnson stayed close enough to remain in the overall lead and capture the gold.

“I was very ambivalent about the whole thing,” Johnson said. “Normally, when you are competing against someone you are going for the jugular, but I could not do that against C.K. I don’t think it took anything away from my performance because C.K. actually made me a better athlete when I went head-to-head with him. He forced you to be that.”

Yang and Johnson first met at the Melbourne Olympics in 1956. They broke through their initial language barrier by using sign language.

Their relationship blossomed into a lifelong friendship and became a model for how race relations and sportsmanship can be bred through athletics.

Yang decided to attend UCLA so he could train with Johnson, and the two spent hours together on and off the track.

Johnson would take Yang to his hometown of Kingsburg near Fresno, where they would share meals of black-eyed peas, greens and chitlins. Yang would take Johnson to Jue’s Market, where Johnson ate the fresh produce, especially the seedless red grapes.

Passion for coaching

“He was just like my brother,” Johnson said. “We would find him a place to sleep when he was at my home and eat together and go to some high school games.”

Tearing up at the memory during the memorial service, Johnson described how after he crossed the finish line during the 1,500 at the 1960 Games, he leaned his head on Yang’s shoulder and Yang placed his right arm around Johnson’s waist.

“To me, that was the significance of a great friendship,” Johnson said.

Daisy Jue, a student at crosstown rival University of Southern California, was introduced to her future husband during a Fourth of July celebration at General Lee’s Restaurant in Chinatown.

“Everybody knew who he was because he was the greatest athlete in Asia,” she said. “I was the biggest, tallest Chinese girl in there, so he asked me to dance. He said it was love at first sight. It took me a while with this guy, but I eventually came around.”

Married in 1959, Yang and his wife eventually settled in Thousand Oaks in 1970, and raised two sons, Cedric and C.K. Jr.

Yang’s true passion was coaching, and until his death, he split time between Thousand Oaks and Taiwan, where he trained athletes and served on Taiwan’s Olympic Committee.

Cedric Yang said his father always looked forward to returning to Ventura County, because it allowed him to be just a regular guy.

Celebrity status in Taiwan

He played 18 holes on every golf course in the area, ate menudo during Sunday brunch at Golden China Restaurant and enjoyed heaping plates of pasta at Ferraro’s.

“When he was in Taiwan, they would follow him like they do Tiger Woods on the golf course,” Cedric Yang said. “Over here, his celebrity status wasn’t as great, and I think it gave him a break from all that. He could just relax and be himself.”

The Yang family wanted to have C.K. buried at the national track and field training center in Taiwan, but was unable to receive clearance from the government, according to Cedric Yang.

After an Olympic flag was draped over C.K.'s casket at his memorial service and he was lowered into the ground at Ivy Lawn a few hours later, Cedric Yang knew his father would approve of his burial site. “This was home for him,” he said.

Asian media cover funeral for Taiwan hero

Newspapers changed their front sections to display it prominently. Television stations selected it to lead off their broadcasts.

The death of Taiwanese track and field star C.K. Yang last week was major news in Asia.

Yang, a longtime Thousand Oaks resident, was the first Taiwanese athlete to earn an Olympic medal when he captured the silver at the 1960 Olympics in Rome.

At his memorial service on Saturday at the Ted Mayr Funeral Home in Ventura, three Chinese-language television networks sent cameras to capture footage, and several Asian newspapers sent reporters.

“Not a lot of people can have this kind of so-called privilege or treatment, but C.K. is a national hero for the Taiwanese,” said ETTV reporter Peter Wang.

ETTV — a Taiwan-based media company dedicated to serving the Chinese community worldwide — was planning to tape-delay a broadcast of Yang’s funeral along with showing a one-hour special on Yang’s life, according to Wang.

Taiwan is holding a public memorial service for Yang in Taipei on Friday. Seven members of Yang’s family, including his wife and two sons, are leaving this morning from Los Angeles International Airport to attend.

“This is a huge story for people in the Asian community,” said LA 18 Mandarin news anchor Ursula Huang. “C.K. Yang was a major figure who is being mourned by all of Asia.”