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Liu Changchun

Biographical information

TypeCompeted in Olympic Games
SexMale
Full nameLiu•Changchun
Used nameLiu•Changchun
Name orderOriental
Original name刘•长春
Other names劉長春
Born13 October 1909 in Wafangdian, Liaoning (CHN)
Died21 March 1983 in Dalian, Liaoning (CHN)
Measurements167 cm
AffiliationsNortheastern University, Shenyang (CHN)
NOC People's Republic of China

Biography

While studying physical education at the of Northeastern University (today Northeast Institute of Technology) in Shenyang, Liu Changchun won the 100, 200 and 400 metres at the North China Games in 1929, setting national records in all three events. After the Japanese invasion of Manchuria in 1931, the government of the newly established puppet state of Manchukuo decided to send Liu Changchun and middle and long distance runner Yu Xiwei to the 1932 Los Angeles Olympics. But Liu refused to represent Manchukuo and China had no plans to send a team. A general donated 8,000 $ for travel expenses and the director of the Northeastern University, who was also director of the National Sports Association, urged the Organizing Committee of the Games to allow for an emergency entry.

Liu arrived just one day before the opening ceremony and only two days before his first heat. He was obviously handicapped by the three weeks at sea and did not advance from the heats in either event. Four years later, he was a member of the first official Chinese team for the 1936 Berlin Olympics but was eliminated in the heats after arriving late again. Due to the ongoing turmoils after the end of the Chinese Empire, national championships could only be held in 1930, 1933 and 1935. Liu Changchun claimed the national title in the 100 m at all three competitions, additionally in the 200 m in 1930 and 1933, and in the 400 m in 1930. In 1933 he set national records in the 100 and 200 m dash, which were not to be broken for more than 20 years.

After Liu Changchun retired from competition, he served as a lecturer and associate professor at various universities before he started a long career at the Dalian Institute of Technology (today Dalian University of Technology) in 1950. During the Cultural Revolution, he was forced to work on a farm near Dalian, but was later rehabilitated. After China officially returned to the IOC in 1979, Liu served as the vice chairman of the Chinese Olympic Committee and a member of the standing committee of the All-China National Sports Federation. He published his book “Sprint Sports” just one year before his death. Another book was published posthumously.

In 2008, the new gymnasium of the Northeastern University, was officially named Liu Changchun Gymnasium and a statue of the first Chinese Olympian was erected in front. Another sculpture of Liu was placed in the Olympic Plaza in Dalian. China won its first gold medal in 1984 in Los Angeles, the place where a Chinese athlete had his first appearance. His life and achievements as an athlete were later used as a blueprint for several TV series and movies.

Personal Bests: 100 – 10.7 (1933); 200 – 22.0 (1933).

Results

Games Discipline (Sport) / Event NOC / Team Pos Medal As
1932 Summer Olympics Athletics CHN Liu Changchun
100 metres, Men (Olympic) 5 h2 r1/4
200 metres, Men (Olympic) 4 h3 r1/4
1936 Summer Olympics Athletics CHN Liu Changchun
100 metres, Men (Olympic) 5 h11 r1/4
200 metres, Men (Olympic) 5 h6 r1/4
4 × 100 metres Relay, Men (Olympic) China 6 h2 r1/2
4 × 400 metres Relay, Men (Olympic) China DNS

Other participations

Games Role NOC As
1932 Summer Olympics Flagbearer at the Opening Ceremony CHN Liu Changchun