102-year-old French Cyclist Sets New Record

March 11, 2014

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. centenarian /ˌsɛntnˈɛəriən/ (n.) – someone existing for at least 100 years
ExampleCentenarians live a very long life because of their healthy lifestyle.

2. bid /bɪd/ (n.) – an attempt to achieve something
Example: Robert succeeded in his bid to set a new record.

3. surpass /sərˈpæs, -ˈpɑs/ (v.) – to do better than expected
Example: The small player surpassed his potential.

4. humble /ˈhʌmbəl, ˈʌm-/ (adj.) – being simple despite greater status
Example: The humble champion still says he needs improvement.

5. dynamic /daɪˈnæmɪk/ (adj.) – rich in energy and very positive
Example: The crowd applauded the player’s dynamic performance in the court.


Read the text below.
After setting a world record two years ago, a 102-year-old cyclist [SAHY-klist] from France has set another world record in the over-100 age category.

On February 17, 2012, Robert Marchand [MAHR-chand] became the first centenarian biker to reach 24.251 kilometers in one hour. Seven months later, he traveled 100 kilometers in 300 laps for more than four hours. Recently, Marchand showed his skill by increasing his hour record to 26.927 kilometers. Thousands cheered for him as the event took place in French velodrome [VEE-luh-drohm] in Paris.

Professor Veronique Billat [ve-ro-NIK bi-yah] of France’s National Institute of Health and Medical Research announced Marchand’s latest attempt in November 2013. Billat said the cyclist passed the physical tests. She was confident that Marchand would succeed in his bid. And surprisingly, the cyclist exceeded Billat’s estimated distance of 26 kilometers.

Marchand has been physically active throughout his life. He began cycling at the age of 14. He worked as a fireman, gardener, salesman, and wine dealer. Also, he fought as an amateur boxer. At 67, he became serious with cycling and has continuously tried to surpass his limits.  

Despite his accomplishments, Marchand remains humble. He said he is just an ordinary guy who is a long-time cyclist.

When asked about his secrets to a healthy body at such an old age, he advised people to just keep on moving and have a dynamic lifestyle. He admitted that he is also lucky to not suffer from any major diseases.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         What do you think motivates Marchand to be physically fit?
·         What would your motivation be for staying physically fit?

Discussion B

·         How can we encourage older people to participate in sports or other physical activities?
·         Generally speaking, would you say older people in your country have active lifestyle? Please explain.


March 11, 2014