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John Henry Kuck

Olympic Gold Medalist Born: April 30, 1905, Wilson, Ellsworth, County, Kansas. Died: September 21, 1986, Halstead, Harvey County, Kansas.

John Henry Kuck was born on April 30, 1905 in Wilson to parents Frank and Helen Kuck. He grew up in Wilson and attended Wilson High School where he set national records in shot put, javelin, and discus. He attended Kansas State Teachers College (Emporia State University) and was the 1926 National Collegiate Champion and world record holder in shot put and javelin. He dropped out of college, however, after his sophomore year. He then joined the Kansas City Athletic Club and later the Olympic Club in San Francisco, California.

He married Lida Cooper.

During the 1928 Olympics in Amsterdam, despite having a broken ankle, Kuck won the gold medal in the shot put, even beating the world record by 13 inches.

His successful track and field career led him to hold numerous world records. He was inducted into the Kansas Sports Hall of Fame in 1961, Drake Relays Athletes Hall of Fame in 1964, and the Emporia State Athletics Hall of Fame in 1984.

After the Olympics Kuck became the track and field coach at the University of Kansas in 1929. He soon put his athletic career behind him, however, and worked in the timber business in Idaho. He also owned and operated his own resort. He moved back to his home state in 1972 where he lived in Halstead until his death in 1986.

Entry: Kuck, John Henry

Author: Kansas Historical Society

Author information: The Kansas Historical Society is a state agency charged with actively safeguarding and sharing the state's history.

Date Created: July 2016

Date Modified: July 2016

The author of this article is solely responsible for its content.