Norwegian athlete famous for lucky temple hat visits Taiwan

Iden made wish to win gold at 2020 Tokyo Olympics

Iden (in red) at Shunze Temple.

Iden (in red) at Shunze Temple. (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The Norwegian athlete who went viral for wearing a “lucky cap” with the name of a Taiwanese temple on it arrived in Taiwan Saturday (Nov. 9).

Gustav Iden became famous on the island after he was seen wearing the hat on stage while receiving a medal for winning a triathlon in the French town of Nice in September. The cap displayed the Chinese characters for “Puyan Shunze Temple” (埔鹽順澤宮), the name of a place of worship in the Changhua township of Puyan.

However, Iden had reportedly never even visited Taiwan, only passing through an airport in transit. He found the cap lying on the ground during a triathlon event in Tokyo.

As a result of his win in France, the hat suddenly became a hotly sought-after item in Taiwan, turning into a local souvenir.

On Saturday, Iden and his hat showed up at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport, where he was welcomed by Changhua County Magistrate Wang Hui-mei (王惠美), CNA reported.

During the afternoon, Iden visited the Shunze temple, where he was mobbed by people shouting "champion." Asked what he would wish for, he said he hoped to win a medal at next year's Tokyo Olympics. If he won the gold, he would return to the temple to express his thanks, Iden said.

The athlete's itinerary also includes a run in the Tianzhong marathon on Sunday (Nov. 10). He said he would also like to taste local delicacies like guavas and take part in a news conference promoting a beef-and-mutton festival while receiving the honorary citizenship of Changhua County.