A highly experienced and respected International Attorney and Politician, Mr. George Malek-Yonan’s background as a decorated elite athlete from an early age, truly instilled in him discipline, a competitive edge, and a drive to succeed. He was an Assyrian Nationalist. His love for his nation made him a fearless warrior fighting for the rights of his people.
When Malek-Yonan was a young attorney, he singlehandedly negotiated with the Shah of Iran and successfully secured a seat in the Iranian Parliament for the Assyrians as a legitimately recognized minority. With unparalleled determination he gave a voice to the Assyrians of Iran as equal and no longer second-rate citizens. To date, Assyrian representatives occupy that seat in Parliament.
Mr. George Malek-Yonan (1924-2014) was an Assyrian International Attorney, Politician, and Iran’s Elite Athlete having received more than 60 gold, silver and bronze medals presented to him by the late Shah of Iran in the fields of Track and Field, Pentathlon, Soccer, Basketball, and Table Tennis.
The Assyrian Malek family traces its roots back eleven centuries. During the Assyrian Genocide of 1914-1918, Malek-Yonan's family fled to Mesopotamia during the Great Exodus from Urmia where George Malek-Yonan was born in Baghdad on 11 October 1924. At the age of four, his family migrated back to Iran and finally settled in Tehran. His parents were Yosip (Joseph) and Suriya, both Assyrian. His older sister, Florence, was Knighted in the early 1970s and lived in Switzerland where she died in 2007. His older brother, David (1923-2004) was an accomplished athlete having recieved many gold, silver, and bronze medals. He became a renowned engineer in Iran who built many of Iran's major freeways and roadways as well as numerous silos in Russia. His younger brother, Cyrus, left Iran at the age of seventeen for England to study at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts in London and eventually settled in Paris until his death in 1992. Malek-Yonan married Lida Bet-Benyamin (1928-2002), also of Assyrian descent, in Tehran in 1950. They had two daughters: Rosie and Monica.
Malek-Yonan studied at Tehran University’s Law School, earning a Law Degree in 1946 and a Degree in Political Science in 1947. In 1964 he studied law at Golden Gate Law School in San Francisco, California. He practiced International Law for more than fifty years representing many of American, European, and Asian corporations in Iran. He was the attorney for the U.S. Embassy in Tehran during the American hostage takeover. He permanently moved to the U.S. after the Iranian Revolution and lived in Southern California until his death on 14 November 2014.
Three gold medals presented at Mar-Mar Palace in Tehran by the former Shah of Iran, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, earned George Malek-Yonan the title of Champion of Champions in Iranian Sports in the fields of Track and Field, Pentathlon, and Soccer, bringing the total of medals awarded to him to 47.
The Shah awarded his older brother, David, also an accomplished athlete, numerous medals. The brothers played on the same Soccer and Basketball teams.
Malek-Yonan was a natural at sports. He played high school Soccer, Basketball, and Volleyball. After a chance encounter with Iran's Track and Field coach, Ahmad Izadpanah, at Amjadieh Stadium (today known as Shahid Shiroudi Stadium), Malek-Yonan became interested in Track and Field.
In 1934 Izadpanah had begun organizing various Track and Field meets and by 1936, the Iranian Athletics Federation was established and Iran joined the International Amateur Athletics Federation.
Malek-Yonan first competed in the Long Jump and Triple Jump in 1944 where he earned two Silver Medals. The same year he participated in Iran's University Competitions in the Long Jump, the Triple Jump, Javelin, and Shot Put, earning four more Silver Medals.
While studying law at Tehran University, he won a Gold Medal in Table Tennis in 1946 and was a member of the University of Tehran Soccer, Volleyball, and Basketball teams.
Malek-Yonan was hailed as the most decorated athlete at Iran's 1948 National Athletic Competitions, earning him the title of Champion of Champions. He was the only athlete in 1948 to have received a gold medal as well as winning the Track and Field Cup. He competed in the Pentathlon (2 x 100 meters, 1,500 meters, Javelin, Discus, and Long Jump), as well as the 100 meters, 200 meters, and Long Jump, winning four Gold Medals and earning First Place at the 1948 Olympic Games Qualifiers. He chose not to compete at the Olympics.
Malek-Yonan became the President of the Sports Organization in Iran until the late 1980.
MALEK-YONAN'S 1944 RECORD
Long Jump, Silver Medal
Triple Jump, Silver Medal
Long Jump, Event: Iran's University Competitions, Silver Medal
Triple Jump, Event: Iran's University Competitions, Silver Medal.
Javelin, Event: Iran's University Competitions, Silver Medal
Shot Put, Event: Iran's University Competitions, Silver Medal
MALEK-YONAN'S 1946 RECORD
Table Tennis, Gold Medal
MALEK-YONAN'S 1948 RECORD
100 Meters, 11/5 Seconds, Event: National Championship, Gold Medal
200 Meters, 24/4 Seconds, Event: National Championship, Gold Medal
Long Jump, 7/55 Meters, Event: National Championship, Gold Medal
Pentathlon, 2305, Event: National Championship, Gold Medal
1948 Titled "Champion of Champions"
First Place, Event: 1948 Olympic Games Qualifiers
MALEK-YONAN'S 1950 RECORD
Long Jump, 6/43 Meters, Event: National Championship
200 Meters, Event: Eatern Mediterranean Cup Championship, Bronze Medal
Long Jump and Triple Jump, Event: EasternAt the Eastern Mediterranean Cup Championship, Fifth Place