Norwegian athlete’s Taiwan 'lucky hat' goes viral

Ironman Gustav Iden won his event in France but received international attention for his hat, which name checked a Taiwan temple

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(Gustav Iden IG photo)

(Gustav Iden IG photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – A “lucky hat” that name checks a Taiwan temple has gone viral after its wearer, Norwegian athlete Gustav Iden, won a triathlon event in France, Central News Agency (CNA) reported on Monday (Sept. 9).

Iden won the Ironman 70.3 World Championship in Nice, France, in 3 hours, 52 minutes and 35 seconds. As he was sprinting towards the finish line, sharp-eyed Taiwanese noticed the hat he wore bore the legend: "Puyan Shunze Temple" (埔鹽順澤宮).

The 300-year-old temple in Puyan Township (埔鹽鄉), Changhua County (彰化縣), honors the god Hsuan Tien Shang Ti. It has a mud statue of the god from when the temple was rebuilt after being destroyed by fire in 1948, the Puyan Township Office website confirms.

According to the CNA report, Iden noticed the hat lying on the ground when he took part in an Ironman competition in Tokyo. He picked it up, and took good care of it in the hope it would bring him luck – which it did, as he won the event in Nice, France.

This prompted Taiwanese to call the temple and ask if they were selling hats. However, a temple spokesperson said demand had been incredible and the entire stock of 500 hats were given away on Monday.

An order for 1,000 more hats has been made and they should arrive in three to four days, according to the CNA report. Temple secretary-general Chen Shou-qin (陳守欽) said visitors from as far as Taipei and Taichung had come to claim hats.

Chen said the temple often gives away hats and lucky charms. He said he had no idea how one of the temple’s hats had ended up on a Tokyo street, the report added.