- Posted January 17, 2013 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Lance Armstrong speaks out
Lance: Hero or Cheater
On Living Strong: The Tour de France was dominated by two men through 1999-2005. The battles between the American, Lance Armstrong, and the German, Jan Ullrich, we unforgettable. They were two heavy weight fighters punching not with fists, but with their powerful legs driving up steep mountains to victory. The struggles and battles each day were so captivating that Americans were now tuning in during the month of July to cycling rather than baseball. Lance truly brought the sport back in the US. However, he wasn’t the only American to win the tour. Many people forget that we still have a hero in Greg LeMond, an american who won in 1986, 1989, and 1990. Which makes us wonder what made Lance so special?
Being a cancer survivor made a great headline and gave many people hope. But I like to believe everyone loved watching Lance because of the extraordinary battles for victory he endured on the slopes. After all, the struggle for victory is what makes any sports exciting. Who will ever forget the stare down on l'Alpe d'Huez in 2001. Where Lance with one stare said it all to Jan, are you coming or not? Or the masterful handling of the bike when he had to go off-roading down the mountain side of the Cote de la Rochelle to avoid a bone shattering crash. Other than individual moments, there were also moments of glory for the team. In 2003 team U.S. Postal claimed victory in a come from behind fashion to become the first American team to ever win a team time trial stage.
Yes, doping is a problem in sports, all sports. However, in this sport, much like baseball that was common practice by most riders. I’m sure it helped him win, but I don’t know how much of an advantage it really gave Lance. Durning this time many of his rivals such as Jan were most likely doping as well. All in all Lance had tremendous skills and talent on the bike with or without drugs. But just like our baseball heroes, Roger, Sammy, and Mark, he was tempted by drugs and the desire to keep winning. He sub came to temptation, and fell from popular sports role model, to a labeled “cheater”. Most heroes you get to meet never quite turn out the way you imagined, but does that make them not heroes?
With all this said I still must regard his battles on the mountain as some of the most exciting and inspirational pieces of television I had ever watched and probably will ever watch. Live strong.
- Age 26, cycling and sports enthusiast