It is often said that what doesn’t kill you, only makes you stronger. Lance Armstrong is one of those people who could vouch for the validity of this popular phrase.
Saying that the cyclist’s life has been hard would be an insult. A more accurate description would be saying that he lived a life rife with hurdles that would’ve broken any normal human being. But not Armstrong. He’d barely sunk his teeth into the taste of success when he’d been diagnosed with cancer. At the young age of 25, the illness took almost everything out of him. Multiple complicated surgeries and chemotherapy brought him closer to death than he’d probably ever imagined. And yet, he found his way back – to good health, to happiness and to the sport he loved. He went on to win one title after another and to becoming an American hero, one that the people loved and respected. So what happens when he loses all the titles that made him that hero?
Lance Armstrong was a sportsman right from the age of twelve. Whether it was as a swimmer or as a tri-athlete, he worked hard and he excelled. His career as a cyclist was no different. Even the illness that claims so many lives annually around the world had to bend to his will and determination.
But like any hero, Armstrong attracted as many naysayers as he did supporters. His name was dragged into many controversies, his reputation and even integrity questioned on multiple occasions and by various people. He got away unstained almost every time. So why did the man who’d passed twenty-four dope tests within the period of less than one year decide to pull back today? Why did he choose to let the authorities and the people think what they will? Why did he back out when all those titles were at stake?
It’s hard to believe that the man who, from the age of twelve, knew of nothing more than giving things his very best had such little respect for his body and for the sport that became his very identity. It’s hard to believe that the man who chose an alternative therapy to cancer treatment just to avoid lung toxicity and be able to return to cycling, gave up on his body’s capabilities and turned to performance enhancing drugs.
The will to fight fatigue, exhaustion and negativity on a daily basis cannot come from drugs – it comes from something deeper, something innate. That is the very will that helped him turn away from having to quit cycling and even death. And not many people will believe those who say otherwise.
Many people will continue to believe that Lance Armstrong backed out simply because there is a limit of doubt one can bear inflicted on their integrity, beliefs and principles. There are others who will say he backed out because he was guilty.
Whether you choose to believe that Armstrong chose the retention of dignity over titles or that he chose to hide the truth, the fact that remains is that Lance Armstrong will remain a hero in the eyes of many people. His dedication to his sport and his determination to grow above obstacles will be remembered for years. The titles that he loses may be forgotten, but he will not. Yes, there will probably come a time when his name is no longer on anyone’s tongue, but not many will forget his courage. And with the passage of time, he will become another figure who’s remembered by his fortitude while his name and face are long gone. Stripped of his titles, Lance Armstrong will remain an unsung hero for many a time to come.