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Taiwan temple made famous after athlete wears its cap in victory

2019/09/09 14:24:12

image captured from instagram.com/gustav_iden

Taipei, Sept. 9 (CNA) A Taoist temple in central Taiwan became famous on the Internet after a Norwegian athlete was seen wearing a cap bearing the temple's name on it when he won a triathlon in France Sunday.

Gustav Iden, a 23-year-old, won the 2019 Ironman 70.3-kilometer World Championship held in Nice France, finishing the race with a 3:52:35 record and earning US$45,000 for his first major victory.

What made him famous among Taiwanese netizens, however, was when he crossed the finish line, the triathlete was seen wearing a cap with five traditional Chinese characters "Puyan Shun Tse Kung" on it, referring to a Taoist Shun Tse Temple located in central Changhua County's Puyan Township.

Iden did not explain why he chose to wear the Taiwanese cap while participating the race.

According to netizens familiar with the athlete, Iden found the cap not in Taiwan but in Japan when he previously participated in another race in Tokyo.

For some reason, Iden believed back then that keeping good care of that particular cap could bring him good luck in future races and he ultimately won the Nice race, according to netizens.

Whether the cap served as a good luck charm to the Norwegian's victory is debatable, but apparently, many Taiwanese are buying the story, as the Changhua temple said they had seen a higher demand of their caps after Iden's victory.

The temple's head manager Chen Shou-chin (陳守欽) told CNA Monday that they have received numerous phone calls and inquiries about how to get a hold of their caps since Iden's victory.

The temple originally made 500 caps this year but all of them had been given away to worshipers for free earlier Monday, he said.

He found it amusing to see the athlete found the cap in Tokyo, saying that maybe the cap was left behind by one of the temple worshipers during a previous Tokyo trip.

(By Hsiao Po-yang and Joseph Yeh)
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