Winner’s cap also a winner for Puyan Township temple

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff reporter

Tue, Sep 10, 2019 - Page 1

Baseball caps from Puyan Shunze Temple (埔鹽順澤宮) in Changhua County have become an overnight sensation after Norwegian triathlete Gustav Iden wore one while crossing the finish line to win the Ironman 70.3 World Championship in France on Friday.

The 23-year-old uploaded a photograph of himself finishing the race to his Instagram account.

A video of him winning the event and the photo went viral, and led to several Taiwanese athletes heading to the Taoist temple in Puyan Township (埔鹽) to get one of the caps, which the temple has given out for free, according to television news reports.

“I want to see the cap worn by a world champion myself... I thought the name referred to a place in Japan, then I Googled it and found that the temple is actually in Changhua, said one of the athletes, who ran from Taichung’s Wurih District (烏日) to the temple to get one of the hats.

A netizen identified as Daniel Jenssen said that Iden found the cap on the street before the Tokyo International Triathlon Union World Triathlon Olympic Qualification Event last month, and thought it might bring him luck.

Iden wore the cap during the Tokyo event and placed fourth.

Temple staff said its telephone was ringing off the hook yesterday morning with people asking about the caps.

Due to overwhelming demand, the temple office has ordered 1,000 more caps.

Chief director Wei Shin-ku (魏信顧) said the temple honors Xuantian Shangdi (emperor of the mysterious heaven, 玄天上帝), one of the higher-ranking Taoist deities.

The temple ordered 500 caps for an exchange trip its staff made in 2016 to Nantou County’s Shoutian Temple (受天宮) and only had a dozen left before yesterday, he said.

“I heard from our temple members that our cap has become an Internet sensation. We were deeply moved when someone told us that he wanted to pay to have more of the caps made,” Wei said.

Asked how he thought Iden had ended up with the cap, Wei said that a local resident is a Japanese man married to a Taiwanese woman, who might have lost his cap on a trip back to Japan.