74-year-old Estonian double world champion returns home to hero's welcome

Juhan Lukk, Anatoli Männi, Sulo Mannine and Aivar Veri
Juhan Lukk, Anatoli Männi, Sulo Mannine and Aivar Veri Source: Aivar Veri, personal collection.

Estonia ended the recent World Triathlon Winter Championships in Norway with a total of six medals. Two of those were won by 74-year-old Juhan Lukk, who recorded victories in both of the championships' senior men's events. On Wednesday, Lukk was given a hero's welcome as he returned to his hometown of Palivere, Lääne County with two new gold medals.

Veteran sports star Juhan Lukk was in for a big surprise on his way home from the World Triathlon Winter Championships in Norway. After reaching his hometown of Palivere, Lääne County, Lukk's car was directed towards the headquarters of the local volunteer rescue services, where proud locals had gathered to greet their returning hero.

"It's still a big surprise for me. I've never received this kind of welcome before," said Lukk. "It's really a huge surprise."

The medals Lukk brought home from Norway this week were not his first however. The Estonian won gold at the European Championships in Cheile Gradistei, Romania two years on the trot, in 2019 and 2020. He also finished second at the 2020 worlds in Asiago, Italy.

The winter triathlon consists of running, mountain biking and cross country skiing, all of which take place on the snow.

"In a triathlon, you need to have one area that you are really good at, and then you should be at least average in the others," Lukk explained.

"I don't really like the summer triathlon, but in the winter one, I can ski and I can ride a bike. My running is a bit weaker. What makes it particularly interesting is that you have to change boots in the middle, grab the bike, then change boots again and get on it," he explained.

In addition to his sporting achievements, Lukk is also well-known in Lääne County for something else he does in Palivere - he is responsible for creating the county's most impressive ski trails.


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Editor: Michael Cole

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