Grumpy Mann: 77-Year-Old World Triathlon Champion Is Giddy and Feeling Great

Jae-Sung Park tried to calm his nervousness. He tried to figure out what he was going to do during his first competitive triathlon, a double marathon that takes athletes swimming, biking and running.

“I’m 77 years old, people go, ‘Oh my gosh. You’re going to fall,'” Park said. “And I said, ‘You know what? You guys can have your jokes, but it’s my day.'”

His wife of 56 years, Kaizad Kiros, worries about the difficulty of his aching body, his sore shoulder and neck from biking. But she tells him every time they check up on him, “You’ve got my back.”

Park has won the women’s championship eight times, the most of any triathlete in the world, men or women. He and Kiros met in a Hong Kong gym nearly 50 years ago when Park was just a boy.

There was no more right place, right time, right person.

“We were always at the gym together and never did anything else,” Park said. “She’s my best friend.”

Park developed a remarkable ability to get in and out of a bicycle gear quickly. Now he’s showing other athletes his own muscle memory.

“He’s the best, the best, the best athlete I’ve ever seen,” he said.

He figures if he keeps his card, he’ll finish in under five hours.

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