(Photo from Google Images)
After finishing ESPN’s 30 for 30 two-part series on Lance Armstrong, I’m still confused on why most of the world still has so much hate for Lance Armstrong. So, I watched it again and it was even better the second time.
Part two starts with the interviewer asking Lance if he wants to be relevant again. Lance responds with “but I am relevant”. Soundbite gold! I laughed. It’s an accurate and ego driven response. Sure, it makes him look like a dick, but Lance doesn’t deny that people will always call him a disgrace to a very complicated story.
Lance won the Tour de France seven, SEVEN, times in a row from 1999-2005. Since then, the closest an American has come to winning the Tour de France is 4th place in 2003 by Tyler Hamilton. Without Lance Armstrong, no one cares or cared about the sport of cycling in America.
I’m still confused about how the Tour de France is actually won. Why do you have teams if it is an individual sport? The tour is split into 21 stages; 9 flat stages, 3 hilly stages, 7 mountain stages, and 2 individual time trials with two rest days. There is a winner from each stage and the cyclist with the fastest time and completes the most stages wins. That’s an average of 105 miles per day on a bike. Ugh, why? My butt hurts just typing that.
Tyler Hamilton described the Tour de France by saying “Arguably the world’s most difficult athletic event. It’s 21 days, over 25 hundred miles on some of the world’s most punishing roads. It’s like running a marathon every day for three weeks”.
Lance moved to Colorado and he hates the snow. “Could be worse, I could be Floyd Landis and wake up a piece of shit every day, that’s what I know”. Tell us how you really feel, Lance!
Floyd Landis was a former teammate who turned into a professional rat. Landis won the Tour de France in 2006 and then tested positive for doping. He was stripped of his title and banned from professional cycling for two years. When Lance announced he was coming back to cycling in 2008, Landis wanted to join his team. No one wanted Landis on their team and Landis, like a bleeeep, blew up the whole don’t ask, don’t tell, secret of doping in cycling with a late-night detailed email. Landis not only ruined Lance’s cycling career and but he also ruined the careers of everyone who had ever been on the bike. Lance never tested positive for using any performance enhancing drugs (PEDs). He only tested positive for advanced stage three testicular cancer. Landis also ended American’s giving a bleeeep about who wins the Tour de France moving forward, for that, I say thank you.
What Lance Armstrong did for cancer across the world is still unparalleled to what any other single person in the world has done for cancer. Those yellow Livestrong wristbands Nike sold for $1.00 with a goal to sell two million to fight cancer ended up selling 80 million bracelets. That’s eighty MILLION dollars raised to fight cancer. And that’s only a fraction of what the Livestrong Foundation has done.
Lance erased the stigma that cancer only affects an older generation. Lance showed the world that you can beat cancer. Lance gave the world hope that surviving cancer is possible. Lance made cancer a conversation. Those conversations and those yellow bracelets built the Livestrong Foundation. If you are diagnosed with cancer today, your experience with doctors, the education and the survival rates are better because of Lance Armstrong and the Livestrong Foundation.
Because cancer happened to Lance Armstrong and because Lance was so public about his cancer diagnosis, he changed the conversation both nationally and internationally about the disease.
Again, I don’t care about PED’s and if you really hate Lance for doping, then you mostly likely hate life in general. EVERYONE WAS DOING IT! It doesn’t mean it was right, but if you believe any form of doping is getting an advantage then it also made the playing field even when everyone was doing it. And Lance still won seven in a row. So why do people still hate Lance Armstrong? You can call him a dick, but he has some charm and there are a lot more dicks out there with zero charm.
Everyone lied about doping. Lance had the most to lose by admitting to doping, because of his Livestrong Foundation. If Lance would have admitted his use in the doping world the first time he was asked about it, then the advancements in cancer research would not be as advanced as they are today. Honestly, the world is better because Lance lied.