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Just Another Tribute: Lance Armstrong

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Many people, far more articulate and knowledgeable than I, have already written about the phenomenon that is Lance Armstrong. So why should I, someone who is not a cyclist and one who freely confesses to know very little of the sport or its history, write about Lance Armstrong? It is really a simple reason. I am in complete and utter awe of what he has overcome and accomplished. Not just this weekend but over the past 10 years of his life. Lance Armstrong comes as close to anyone I can think of in our world today who is worthy of being called a true miracle. Perhaps, though it sounds unintentionally cruel, we could easily call him a “freak of nature.” I think he really is. I don’t think there has been anything built like him – body, mind, desire, and fire – and I doubt there will be anyone like him any time soon.

He was born to be an athlete. That we know from his youth and his competitiveness. Somewhere, somehow a pilot light was lit in this young man that never went out. I am not even sure it has even flickered. He was running distance races against older men – and winning – at age 10 or 11. He became an age-category champion tri-athlete in his late teens. But it was only when he made the fateful decision to concentrate on cycling that the full burner kicked in. That flame hasn’t gone off since.

He was on the path to being a world-class cyclist in his early twenties. He was known as a bit of a cocky…alright, obnoxious jerk as well. Well, maybe not “a bit of” either. Just like everything else about Lance, he was a complete cocky, obnoxious jerk. Then, the great equalizer came to visit Mr. Cocky.

He was diagnosed as having widely metastatic testicular cancer. Mets to the lung and brain. He had, according to even the optimists, a 25% chance of being cured. That was the doctors’ opinions. Mr. Cocky had a different opinion. Like the cycling challenges that lay ahead, he kicked the cancer’s ass. And, then, much to the bewilderment of the world cycling community – and, especially, France – he decided to kick some more ass.

After this weekend, he has accomplished something no one has ever accomplished. The Tour de France is a 104 year old event. There have been several multiple winners (even American Greg LeMond, someone Lance admits inspired him, worn 3 times) but no one has won the event more than 5 times. Lance Armstrong has now won the event 7 consecutive times.

The man is not of our planet. He has handled all the notoriety and adoration of the world and his country with grace and dignity. He has championed cancer research and has raised millions of dollars for the Live Strong Foundation. He is a walking, talking inspiration to everyone who confronts the horrors of this disease. I can’t imagine anyone who would be a better answer to any young person who, after being diagnosed with cancer says, “Why should I fight this? What chance do I have?” Here kid. Read this guy’s story.

I can’t imagine what may lay ahead for Mr. Armstrong now that his racing days are over. I hope he, unlike so many other athletes, can enjoy his time away from the peloton (see? I did know that word!). I have no doubts, though, that he will accomplish more and, quite possibly, even greater things to add to his resume. He would be a natural as a politician, whichever party he would chose to represent. I can’t bring myself to think of anything this man would fail at (except acting; I have seen some commercials) if he applies himself with the same passion he has used in his sports career. He is one of those rare people who are driven to succeed. And, regardless of the pursuit, I would not bet against him.

So, despite my lack of knowledge of the sport and my inadequate skills at expressing what I really want to say, I say this: Lance Armstrong, you amaze me. I have seen a lot of things in sports and the “real” world but I have never seen anything that left me in total, unadulterated awe of a single person’s physical abilities. You, sir, are awe-inspiring. I wish you well, no matter what you might decide to take on as your next challenge. You have given all of us a reason to believe that anything is possible.

After all, if our human gene pool can make you, it can make people capable of truly great things.

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  • http://xraystyle.blogspot.com Bryan McKay

    He has handled all the notoriety and adoration of the world and his country with grace and dignity.

    Too bad that same “grace and dignity” couldn’t extend to his personal life. It was really cool when he left his supportive wife and family for Sheryl Crow.

  • http://www.docofdiets.com dietdoc

    Bryan writes: “ It was really cool when he left his supportive wife and family for Sheryl Crow.>/i>”

    Reply: Brian, I can’t make a reasoned response to that. I have no information – nor do I care to – about the details or particulars of the divorce documents. I do know that divorce happens, even to mortals like myself.

    Cheers,

    Ron

  • http://www.blogcritics.com Phizer

    Its cool that an ex-cancer victim was able to come back and win the Lance Armstrong.

    If Lance’s performance drug cocktail can do that for a guy missing a nut, just think what they can do for a guy with both and no illness.

    If I may quote Max Von Sydow as Ming the Merciless in 1980’s Flash Gordon: “Clitus, are you sure your men are on the right pills?” For all you non pro-athletes out there, “Lance was on the right pills.”

  • http://www.thebmrant.com Matt

    itals off.

    Phizer, unless you have proof of it—you’re just spouting off about nothing. Has he ever tested positive?

    I thought so.

  • http://www.blogcritics.com Phizer

    I still believe in “Santa Claus” (male, pro, endurance/strength athletes who don’t use performance drugs) too, Mark. And, Santa never leaves any evidence because he’s a smart muther.

    Course, I’m stupid. This stupidity is evidenced by the fact that I can’t even get your name right, Mick. ;)

  • http://www.docofdiets.com dietdoc

    Envy not greatness: for thou mak’st thereby Thyself the worse, and so the distance greater. [George Herbert]

  • ClubhouseCancer

    “One pill makes you larger, and one pill makes you small.” [Grace Slick]

  • David

    “I can’t bring myself to think of anything this man would fail at (except acting; I have seen some commercials) if he applies himself with the same passion he has used in his sports career.”

    Marriage?

  • Albert

    I agree he’s a phenomenal athlete but how do you explain why he didn’t celebrate with his teammates? As with anyone there will be flaws..one is he’s an arrogant SOB, to me it was obvious he wanted to win the tour and not support his team’s leader Contadour contrary to what he stated at the beginning when he joined ASTRANA.

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