Race-walking has kept Larry Young’s life in motion. Young is a former two-time Olympic bronze medalist and the only American to win a medal in long-distance race-walking at the Olympic Games.
Young was inducted into the Columbia College Athletic Hall of Fame on Oct. 8.
Although Young may have turned his last lap competitively 24 years ago, his love for movement has never faltered. His ability as a race-walker helped feed another passion: art.
He is a professional artist whose bronze sculptures have been collected and are displayed worldwide.
Before he began race-walking, Young was in the U.S. Navy, stationed on a ship as a metal caster.
“I loved my foundry work that I learned in the Navy,” Young said. “I thought it was fascinating to be able to take metal, melt it down into a liquid and then make an object out of it.”
Young’s talent and success with race-walking has provided him with a lifetime of outstanding opportunities. His fleet-foot reputation made it possible for him to stride through Columbia College with a full athletic scholarship for race-walking.
“They needed a third guy to have a race-walking team and I was it,” Young said.
While winning races at college, Young put his foundry experience to work. He took to the starting line for his artistic training and development.
“I knew nothing about art when I started college,” Young said. “I had always been very good with my hands though.”
Young became a jack of all trades around Columbia College as he progressed through his art classes, training, race-walking competitions and wooing his future wife, Candy Cartwright.
“I was able to do both without any problems,” Young said. “When I got out on the road to walk, I would think about art a lot.”
Young helped to start a foundry at Columbia College, where he created art until graduating in 1976.
His experiences on the track inspired some of his earliest sculptures. Three of his first sculptures are of sports figures.
After graduation he traveled to Italy to learn the lost-wax casting process by studying in a foundry for two years. He uses that technique today.
By 1984, Young had established his own foundry in the Columbia area.
The movement in Young’s life did not end when he crossed his final finish line and hung up his shoes in 1980.
All of his sculptures revolve around a theme of motion. In his works, Young uses the juxtaposition of forms to create one work from separate pieces and to give the work motion and life.
“As you move around the sculpture, it changes and moves,” he said “That is all about creating interesting compositional movement in a piece while at the same time utilizing form and space so that it all works together as a unit.”
Young’s accomplishments in race-walking set him on track to become the skilled artist that he is today. Young still gets out on the road for a good walk now and then, but he says it is just for fun.