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editorial

John Kerry won’t be stopped by physical or political injuries

John Kerry, an avid biker, rides after a bilateral meeting with the Iranian Foreign Minister in Switzerland in March.
John Kerry, an avid biker, rides after a bilateral meeting with the Iranian Foreign Minister in Switzerland in March.Associated Press

Secretary of State John F. Kerry is one tough septuagenarian. Good for him.

Kerry, 71, fractured his leg in a cycling accident that occurred in France over the weekend. A dedicated cyclist who takes his bike with him around the world, he chose a challenging route that was part of the Tour de France. According to media reports, the accident occurred when his bike hit a curb while he was riding at a low speed at the start of a climb.

Kerry flew back to Boston for treatment at Massachusetts General Hospital and was unable to attend a meeting on the Islamic State that is taking place in Paris. But he participated via telephone, and according to remarks provided by the State Department, told attendees that ISIS — or “Daesh” as he referred to the terrorist group — “is a resilient and utterly ruthless foe that has weaknesses and can be defeated.” He also said the terrorist group “is no more a state than I am a helicopter” (which might be the painkillers talking).

Kerry’s healing process will now play out against the June 30 deadline for the final terms of a proposed nuclear deal with Iran. That’s unfortunate timing, and, despite his denials, his recovery period may very well affect his ability to carry on those negotiations.

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However, such inconvenience doesn’t make age a reason to hang up his spandex shorts and biking helmet any more than it would if he were 20 years younger. Indeed, Google “exercise and aging,” and any multitude of essays and studies pop up with the same conclusion: Staying fit is the path to staying healthy.

Over the years, Kerry’s beloved activities have taken their toll. An ad that featured him windsurfing was used against him with devastating effect during the 2004 presidential campaign. In 2012, he showed up at the State of the Union address with two black eyes and a broken nose after mixing it up in a pickup hockey game. But the injuries — whether political or physical — haven’t stopped him. He’s unafraid of getting hurt or laughed at. That toughness is good for his health and good for America’s negotiating power.

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