100 days of Kansas City-area Olympians: John Kuck, discus

John Kuck 1928 Olympics.jpg
Posted at 8:00 AM, Jun 13, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-13 09:00:34-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — John "Johnny" Kuck was arguably the greatest thrower of his era, setting world records in the shot put and javelin during the 1920s.

Kuck was a native of Wilson in central Kansas and attended Emporia State University, where he won the 1926 collegiate championship in the shot put and javelin.

Two years later, he set a world record in winning a gold medal in the shot put at the 1928 Amsterdam Olympics — reportedly on a broken ankle.

He was third through qualifying, but stunned the previous world record holder, Germany’s Emil Hirschfeld, and U.S. teammate Herman Brix, the eventual runner-up, in the Olympic final.

WATCH | John Kuck sets world record, wins gold at 1928 Olympics:

Prior to his Olympic victory, Kuck set the world record in the javelin in 1926 en route to a national AAU championship and added an AAU title in the shot put a year later.

All told, he set more than 20 world records in throwing events during his illustrious career, according to his Emporia State Athletics Hall of Fame bio.

That includes records in the 8-, 12- and 16-pound shot put both indoors and outdoors as well as the javelin.

Kuck was inducted into the Kansas Sports Hall of Fame in 1961, the Drake Relays Hall of Fame in 1964 and the ESU Hall of Fame in 1983.

The Kansas City region has a deep, rich history with respect to the Olympic Games. As the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games approach with the Opening Ceremony scheduled for July 23, we will profile an athlete with ties to Kansas City, Missouri or Kansas each day.

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