The man who beat cancer.
That’s what comes to my mind when I think of Lance Armstrong.
Armstrong has become an American hero not only because of his status as a decorated cyclist, but also because of his perseverance in overcoming one of the most life-threatening illnesses of our time.
At age 25, after his second Tour de France win, Armstrong was diagnosed with stage three testicular cancer. Following surgery, he was given less than a 40 percent chance of survival.
So what did Armstrong have to say about that? He came right back three years later, not only defeating cancer, but adding five more Tour de France titles to his collection. He encouraged others to fight just as he had, creating the popular “Livestrong” bracelets, and spreading hope for others to overcome cancer just as he had.
But this past June, when the United States Anti-Doping Agency charged Armstrong with doping and drug trafficking, it seemed that he didn’t have any fight left in him.
After denying any association with doping or drugs for years, Armstrong continued to claim his innocence. He immediately filed a lawsuit against the USADA, but it was rejected by the judge.
Because he was unwilling to take any further tests, the USADA planned to strip him of all of his titles post 1998, including his Tour de France victories, and forever banned him from the sport of cycling.
After filing a second lawsuit, Armstrong later decided to drop all challenges against the USADA.
Armstrong continues to publicly declare his innocence, and claims he dropped the case to protect his family’s privacy.
But for someone who has built their entire reputation on determination and persistence, it just doesn’t add up. If Armstrong wasn’t guilty, I just don’t see him giving up everything he has worked for without a fight.
Armstrong has always been the first to say that everything he has achieved, he has done it himself. But maybe now, that has an entirely new meaning.