Giant ambassador Yu Hsiao is winning pro triathlons, setting new records, and changing people’s perceptions—all while working full-time as a Silicon Valley engineer
While Yu has certainly made a name for himself in his birth country, he’s also inspiring people in a different way in his own community. Traditionally, triathlon in the U.S. has been seen as less diverse than other major American sports like football, baseball and basketball, and even other Olympic sports like track and field. Yu hopes his story can help change that.
“From my personal experience, it’s not that triathlon in general isn’t inclusive or welcoming,” Yu says. “I find quite the opposite. Most of my mentors are white and they’ve always been very encouraging and supportive. I think the conflict sometimes comes internally from my own community—whether it’s my own fears and insecurities, or growing up hearing family friends tell me as an Asian person it’s probably best to do what we’re ‘usually’ good at like math, engineering, stereotypical things. It’s almost like we put limitations on ourselves before we even start.”
When asked, Yu says he does not see himself as a role model. But it’s also clear to see that changing people’s perceptions and showing what is possible is fuel for him.
“I’ve competed in triathlons mostly because it’s a fun process to push my own limits, but also to show that it is possible to do what you love at a high level and still balance all the other things in life,” he says. “I hope that my representation in the sport can inspire more kids out there that might have similar doubts that I had and been told they can’t do it. I hope they can see that if I’ve come this far, they can for sure go much farther. If more of us come and join the party, it will only help make our sport even more beautiful than it already is.”