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Age is just a number. Ask this remarkable, record-setting 105-year-old cyclist.

'I'm doing it to prove that at 105 years old, you can still ride a bike.'

Although he loved cycling, Robert Marchand stopped participating in the sport when he was just 22 years old.

His coach told him that, because of his small stature, Marchand would never become a cycling champion, CNN reported. So, Marchand figured, what's the point?

Marchand, who was born in France in 1911, went on to do other exciting things with his life after locking his bike away all those years ago. But his passion for cycling never truly subsided.


Now — more than eight decades after he first decided to quit — Marchand is proving his old coach dead wrong.

Photo by Philippe Lopez/AFP/Getty Images.

On Jan. 4, 2017, Marchand set a new cycling record at the age of 105. And the world is giving him a much-deserved standing ovation for it.

Photo by Philippe Lopez/AFP/Getty Images.

In one hour, Marchand pedaled 14 miles at the Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines velodrome cycling competition near Paris.

It's a new distance record for the 105-and-up category — a pool created specially for Marchand, according to the Associated Press.

Photo by Philippe Lopez/AFP/Getty Images.

"I didn't see the sign for the last 10 minutes, otherwise I could have gone faster," the smiley record-setter told BFMTV.

Photo by Philippe Lopez/AFP/Getty Images.

Still, he explained, he's "not here to break any record."

"I'm doing it to prove that at 105 years old, you can still ride a bike."

Photo by Philippe Lopez/AFP/Getty Images.

Amazingly, it wasn't even until age 75 that Marchand decided to get back into the sport, CNN reported.

It's not as if he'd been lying low all those years, though. Throughout his adult life, the French veteran — who's lived through both world wars — has worked as a firefighter, a gardener, a lumberjack in Canada, and a truck driver in Venezuela, just to name a few.

After getting back into cycling as a senior, Marchand has completed impressive cross-country trips, like Bordeaux to Paris and Paris to Moscow, according to ESPN.

Photo by Philippe Lopez/AFP/Getty Images.

"He never pushed his limits, goes to bed at 9 p.m. and wakes up at 6 a.m.," Gerard Mistler, Marchand's friend and coach, told AP. "There's no other secret."

Life's about so much more than riding bikes and setting records, and no one understands that better than Marchand.

The 105-year-old — who will turn 106 in November 2017 — is going strong thanks to his love of laughter, looking at the glass half-full, and a great group of friends who keep him young.

Photo by Philippe Lopez/AFP/Getty Images.

He's living proof that age really is just a number.

Photo by Philippe Lopez/AFP/Getty Images.

"Setting goals for himself is part of his personality," Coach Mistler said. "If he tells me he wants to improve his record, I'll be game. Robert is a great example for all of us."

Whether you want to graduate from college at 99 or deadlift 225 pounds at the gym at 78, Marchand's cycling record is yet another great reminder that none of us is too old to dust off an old bike and hop on for a brand new adventure.

Courtesy of Elaine Ahn

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The energy in a hospital can sometimes feel overwhelming, whether you’re experiencing it as a patient, visitor or employee. However, there are a few one-of-a-kind individuals like Elaine Ahn, an operating room registered nurse in Diamond Bar, California, who thrive under this type of constant pressure.

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via Pexels

If you know how to fix this tape, you grew up in the 1990s.

There are a lot of reasons to feel a twinge of nostalgia for the final days of the 20th century. Rampant inflation, a global pandemic and political unrest have created a sense of uneasiness about the future that has everyone feeling a bit down.

There’s also a feeling that the current state of pop culture is lacking as well. Nobody listens to new music anymore and unless you’re into superheroes, it seems like creativity is seriously missing from the silver screen.

But, you gotta admit, that TV is still pretty damn good.

A lot of folks feel Americans have become a lot harsher to one another due to political divides, which seem to be widening by the day due to the power of the internet and partisan media.

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Connections Academy

Wylee Mitchell is a senior at Nevada Connections Academy who started a t-shirt company to raise awareness for mental health.

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Teens of today live in a totally different world than the one their parents grew up in. Not only do young people have access to technologies that previous generations barely dreamed of, but they're also constantly bombarded with information from the news and media.

Today’s youth are also living through a pandemic that has created an extra layer of difficulty to an already challenging age—and it has taken a toll on their mental health.

According to Mental Health America, nearly 14% of youths ages 12 to 17 experienced a major depressive episode in the past year. In a September 2020 survey of high schoolers by Active Minds, nearly 75% of respondents reported an increase in stress, anxiety, sadness and isolation during the first six months of the pandemic. And in a Pearson and Connections Academy survey of US parents, 66% said their child felt anxious or depressed during the pandemic.

However, the pandemic has only exacerbated youth mental health issues that were already happening before COVID-19.

“Many people associate our current mental health crisis with the pandemic,” says Morgan Champion, the head of counseling services for Connections Academy Schools. “In fact, the youth mental health crisis was alarming and on the rise before the pandemic. Today, the alarm continues.”

Mental Health America reports that most people who take the organization’s online mental health screening test are under 18. According to the American Psychiatric Association, about 50% of cases of mental illness begin by age 14, and the tendency to develop depression and bipolar disorder nearly doubles from age 13 to age 18.

Such statistics demand attention and action, which is why experts say destigmatizing mental health and talking about it is so important.

“Today we see more people talking about mental health openly—in a way that is more akin to physical health,” says Champion. She adds that mental health support for young people is being more widely promoted, and kids and teens have greater access to resources, from their school counselors to support organizations.

Parents are encouraging this support too. More than two-thirds of American parents believe children should be introduced to wellness and mental health awareness in primary or middle school, according to a new Global Learner Survey from Pearson. Since early intervention is key to helping young people manage their mental health, these changes are positive developments.

In addition, more and more people in the public eye are sharing their personal mental health experiences as well, which can help inspire young people to open up and seek out the help they need.

“Many celebrities and influencers have come forward with their mental health stories, which can normalize the conversation, and is helpful for younger generations to understand that they are not alone,” says Champion.

That’s one reason Connections Academy is hosting a series of virtual Emotional Fitness talks with Olympic athletes who are alums of the virtual school during Mental Health Awareness Month. These talks are free, open to the public and include relatable topics such as success and failure, leadership, empowerment and authenticity. For instance, on May 18, Olympic women’s ice hockey player Lyndsey Fry will speak on finding your own style of confidence, and on May 25, Olympic figure skater Karen Chen will share advice for keeping calm under pressure.

Family support plays a huge role as well. While the pandemic has been challenging in and of itself, it has actually helped families identify mental health struggles as they’ve spent more time together.

“Parents gained greater insight into their child’s behavior and moods, how they interact with peers and teachers,” says Champion. “For many parents this was eye-opening and revealed the need to focus on mental health.”

It’s not always easy to tell if a teen is dealing with normal emotional ups and downs or if they need extra help, but there are some warning signs caregivers can watch for.

“Being attuned to your child’s mood, affect, school performance, and relationships with friends or significant others can help you gauge whether you are dealing with teenage normalcy or something bigger,” Champion says. Depending on a child’s age, parents should be looking for the following signs, which may be co-occurring:

  • Perpetual depressed mood
  • Rocky friend relationships
  • Spending a lot of time alone and refusing to participate in daily activities
  • Too much or not enough sleep
  • Not eating a regular diet
  • Intense fear or anxiety
  • Drug or alcohol use
  • Suicidal ideation (talking about being a burden or giving away possessions) or plans

“You know your child best. If you are unsure if your child is having a rough time or if there is something more serious going on, it is best to reach out to a counselor or doctor to be sure,” says Champion. “Always err on the side of caution.”

If it appears a student does need help, what next? Talking to a school counselor can be a good first step, since they are easily accessible and free to visit.

“Just getting students to talk about their struggles with a trusted adult is huge,” says Champion. “When I meet with students and/or their families, I work with them to help identify the issues they are facing. I listen and recommend next steps, such as referring families to mental health resources in their local areas.”

Just as parents would take their child to a doctor for a sprained ankle, they shouldn’t be afraid to ask for help if a child is struggling mentally or emotionally. Parents also need to realize that they may not be able to help them on their own, no matter how much love and support they have to offer.

“That is a hard concept to accept when parents can feel solely responsible for their child’s welfare and well-being,” says Champion. “The adage still stands—it takes a village to raise a child. Be sure you are surrounding yourself and your child with a great support system to help tackle life’s many challenges.”

That village can include everyone from close family to local community members to public figures. Helping young people learn to manage their mental health is a gift we can all contribute to, one that will serve them for a lifetime.

Join athletes, Connections Academy and Upworthy for candid discussions on mental health during Mental Health Awareness Month. Learn more and find resources here.

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