Monday, July 25, 2005

LANCE ARMSTRONG



I am not sure what I watched this weekend on the final day of the Tour de France. All I know is that I understood it was historical and that it was worth getting up early to see the same way that Wimbledon used to be when Borg played McEnroe.
Athletically I am not sure what I watched. Was it DiMaggio 56 game hitting streak, was it the Celtics of the 60’s, was it Jordan or was it Edwin Moses running the hurdles.
Really that might not matter. What I do know is that I was watching the first great sportsman of the 21st century. I was watching a man, who has changed the world, changed people’s lives, changed the face of cancer and changed the way we all face a challenge.
I was watching a man that started a phenomenon with the $1 yellow stay strong bracelet and now 50 million later the bracelet has become a way to have your voice heard.
I was watching a man who on Oct 8th of 1996 faced the microphones with less then a 50% chance to live and testicular cancer that had spread to his brain tell us that “I want you all to know that I intend to beat this disease, and further, I intend to ride again as a professional cyclist," Lance said at a news conference on Oct. 8, 1996, in Austin, his face steeled with determination. "I want to finish by saying that I intend to be an avid spokesman for cancer research and awareness, particularly testicular cancer, once I have beaten this disease."
And boy has he ever, and with such vengeance. He taught us to stay strong.
Athletically who he is and where he ranks may not matter. Instead, he has had an impact and he has touched real lives.
Over the past two years I watch a family down the street where their yellow bracelet as their young 8-year-old son battled cancer. I watched as the dad started bike racing as a release and way to reach out to the power of Lance.
Lance Armstrong has changed our world – he is why breast cancer survivors run marathons, why people under treatment still swim their daily laps, he told us you could beat the most evil of disease. He told us that the human spirit is the strongest in the world not some venomous evil diseases.
The most recent Annual Report to the Nation on the Status of Cancer it stated that the risk to U.S. citizens of developing cancer and dying from it was in decline. It added that survival rates for patients of many cancers were on the rise. The tens of millions that Lance’s foundation has raised have to be a part of it.
But you have to wonder if his power on a bicycle is most of it. Where Lance Armstrong ranks, where his achievement place him in the athletic sphere are irrelevant.
What we watched yesterday was a real life metaphor; we watched a faith giver.

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

If there were ever an athlete that could be called the greatest, Lance Armstrong would surely be right there at the top. I hope that what he has accomplished will not overshadow the obstacles that he has overcome. With all the overpaid athletes in sports today, his achievements are something almost unheard of in the world of sports. He has used his situation not only for himself but to raise more than 85 million dollars for cancer research, and hopefully inspire other cancer patients in their battle with cancer. It's too bad a lot of athletes take their skills for granted and are not willing to take the extra step to become better or use it to help others. (Ex. Shawn Kemp. Vin Baker, Koren Robinson) Hopefully Lance will continue to inspire all of us to make the most of our talents and help those in need.

BLACKPOWER said...

I WILL NOT LISTEN TO YOUR SHOW AGAIN UNTIL YOU BLOWHARDS GET ON A SUBJECT OTHER THAN LANCE ARMSTRONG'S SILLY ASS. YOU GUYS GO NUTS WHEN A WHITE GUY SO MUCH AS BLOWS HIS NOSE YOU THINK IT'S THE GREATEST THING EVER. BUT YOU DOG A BLACK ATHLETE INTO THE GROUND. I'M A BORN AND RAISED SEATTLITE AND I'M ASHAMED OF YOUR SHOW, THAT PEOPLE FROM AROUND THE COUNTRY COME HERE, TURN ON THE RADIO AND HAVE TO HEAR ENDLESS, BRAINLESS (WHITE) CALLERS GO ON AND ON ABOUT "MR. STEROID JUNKIE" LANCE ARMSTRONG. THANK GOD I FOUND 790 THE ZONE ON THE INTERNET, GO 2 STEWS. YOU GUYS AT KJR SUCK ASS, YOU RACIST PIECES OF CRAP.

BLACKPOWER said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Jeff in Tumwater said...

I survived a non-testecular Semenoma cancer chest mass...very similar to the type of cancer Lance endured. Based on what I went through...and continue to live with, I find it beyond amazing---beyond belief at what he has accomplished since his recovery. I spend time with cancer patients these days; and, the inspiration of this bike rider cannot be measured. The clinic I hang out at doesn't even start the daily chemo treatments until OLN's live coverage of the Tour is completed.
On rare occasions, sport is more than sport---and
becomes a totally human event---the best of what we CAN be. Lance Armstrong has given us 7 years of that ideal.

Anonymous said...

The person who made the third comment about KJR being racist: It's too bad that some people in this world are ignorant and need to go back to school. My question is: have you given back to your community and what are you doing to help the spread of AIDS in Africa? Have you even raised money to better your community. I bet you the answer is NO. Instead of calling people racist why don't you do something worthwhile instead of calling yourself a victim. It might make a difference if you moved your ass to do something useful.

Myk said...

Blackpower that was a horrible post, what you don't (or doubt would ever..) understand is that even if you believe something as silly as your opinion people will not take it seriously if you say it in such a horrible manner.

As for Lance, I have to agree that he is one of the greatest athletes of all time. However, tonight on ESPN's OTL Nightly there was a comment saying that they felt Lance Armstrong can be the most iconic spokesperson of all time and well I just don't see it. To compare his icon status to someone like Michael Jordan and then say that he will surpass Michael Jordan is just flat out stupid.

In his prime Jordan was to many people in the world the embodiement of the United States, he was a true icon. For some reason I doubt that Lance Armstrong has the same effect on people. Are millions of kids rushing out to ride bikes like MJ and Tiger did? No.

Lance's story is great this year and will be for another 6-12 months and then he will slowly lose his status (just like MJ is starting to do) that is just a fact of life these days as a professional sports spokesmodel.

Mike Barer said...

Excellent post Dave! Lance Armstrong is an example of the best this country has to offer.

Locked on Sports said...

Jeff in tumwater thanks for a great post.

Mike Barer said...

Blackpower, your post is insane. Tiger Woods and the Williams sisters get their share of accolades. As far as the athletes that get ripped, "if the shoe fit--wear it!

Mike Barer said...

I have a tribute to Lance on my Blog as well.

mvbarer.blogspot.com

Biggie said...

cALLING lANCE THE GREATEST ATHLETE OF ALL TIMES IS A SLAP IN THE FACE TO EVERY AFRICAN AMERICAN ATHLETE YOU EVER WATCHED PLAY THEIR RESPECTIVE SPORT. dO PEOPLE IN THIS DAY AND AGE NOT REMEMBER A GUY NAMED JESSE OWENS, OR JERRY RICE, OR MICHAEL JORDAN, OR MOHAMMED ALI. ANY ONE WHO THINKS LA IS THE GREATEST ATHLETE OF ALL TIMES IS A STRAIGHT UP JACKASS!!!!!

Biggie said...

I WILL SAY THAT LA IS PROBABLY THE MAN W/ THE BEST ENDURANCE EVER, MAYBE BUT MOHAMMED ALI PROBABLY HAS HIM BEAT. CONSIDERING ALI COULD RIDE THE TOUR IN HIS PRIME (HE WOULDN'T WIN) BUT HE COULD RIDE IT, I DON'T THINK LANCE COULD GO 15 ROUNDS WITH ANYONE ALI EVER FACED. YOU COULD ALSO DO A VIS-VERSA W/ LA AND JERRY RICE, JERRY WOULD WIN!!

Anonymous said...

LANCE ARMSTRONG IS THE GREATEST ATHLETE OF ALL TIME!!!!!!!!!

LOL AT U BLACKIE!!!!!

Anonymous said...

nice post jeff. lance definately brings to the surface sport as more than sport-- a "totally human event."

in the context of sport it is just that much more amazing what someone can physically do; and lance has done it for a long time, seven years straight. his longevity/durability blows me away.

while his type of cancer may have been less serious, mario lemieux's bout with hodkin's disease was similarly "super human." while his story is less known, it was quite remarkable. diagnosed in early january lemieux returned to the lineup march 2-- the same day as his last radiation treatments! oh, and by the way he scored a goal and an assist. despite missing 25 percent of the season super mario came back to overtake pat laFontaine and win the league scoring title by a wide margin. his incredible, dominant play powered the pittsburgh penguins to an NHL record 17 game winning streak (during which lemieux scored 27 goals and 24 assists). in initially setting the record at 16 games, lemieux put on a show for the ages on the grandest stage at madison square garden with 5 goals and 2 assists; after the 5th goal the new york fans stood in a standing ovation! the guy was unbelievable, as sports illustrated put it (04-19-93), ". . . the only outward sign of his mortality is a half-moon-shaped bald patch on the back of his head. and you only notice that when he takes off his helmet. in full gear he's Super Mario, number 66, the greatest show on earth."

so few people know the remarkable story of mario lemieux. in some way my whole fan-based experience from this past sports history drew me into the lance armstrong story. most importantly, i'm glad that lance is getting the attention that he has EARNED and deserves!!

Biggie said...

JIM THORPE AND PAUL ROBESON ARE THE GREATEST ATHLETES OF ALL TIMES, SORRY!!!!!!!!