May 11, 2023

[Encore] Taiwan’s “Iron Man of Asia” - The Amazing CK Yang (楊傳廣)

[Encore] Taiwan’s “Iron Man of Asia” - The Amazing CK Yang (楊傳廣)

Decathlete athletes are special. The sport is TEN events: sprint 100 meters, then 400 meters, then race 1500 meters; then comes 110 meters with hurdles you have to jump, then it's on to the long jump, the high jump, pole vaulting, discus throwing, javelin throwing, and finally, shotput. It's exhausting just reading that list, let alone doing it. But Maysang Kalimud, from the Amis Indigenous group in Taitung, won silver in the decathlon at the 1960 Rome Olympics. Competing against his friend, American Rafer Johnson, Maysang Kalimud, better known by his Chinese name, CK Yang (楊傳廣 1933-2007), lost the gold medal by a hair's breadth, and became the first Olympic medalist from Taiwan. The man the international press called “The Iron Man of Asia,” may have been the greatest all-round athlete to ever compete for Taiwan. We love this story, so we're re-releasing it this week – enjoy!

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Cover images: UCLA Coach 'Ducky' Drake stands between American decathlete Olympic gold medalist Rafer Johnson (1934-2020), and  Taiwanese decathlete Olympic silver medal winner CK Yang at the Rome Olympics in 1960. Coach Drake trained both men, who became friends. Johnson won by a tiny margin in the points system used in decathlete competitions. Image via UCLA. Right: CK Yang on the cover of the December 1953 Sports Illustrated magazine. 

Below: Johnson and Yang at the end of their grueling decathlete fight for Olympic glory. According to Wikipedia: He (CK Yang) 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,  heis the only athlete not from the United States or Europe to hold the decathlon world record. Image via Yahoo News

Watch THIS video of CK Yang from the 1960 Olympics, a time before Taiwan was compelled to compete as "Chinese Taipei." 

Below: Born in 1933 in Taitung ( 臺東, in eastern Taiwan), CK Yang's real name was Maysang Kalimud. He was a member of the Taiwanese Indigenous Amis group, and later served as a legislator from 1983-1986, representing the Lowland Aborigine constituency 平地原住民選舉區. He died in 2007 at the age of 73. (Image via Taiwanese American

Below: Images of rural Taitung taken by Eryk Michael Smith