Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Retirement 2.0 - The Lance Armstrong Legacy

We all know the story of Lance Armstrong. We know how he grew up and what kind of man he grew to be.  We know he was diagnosed with stage three testicular cancer when he was only 25.  We know he made an amazing recovery and came back to win a record smashing 7 Tours de France.  We also know that he retired in 2005 after his last Tour de France.  What happened to him after that?  He made an unexpected comeback in 2009.  He competed in the Tour de France that year and came in 3rd.  He competed in the Tour in 2010 and came in 23rd after a series of extremely unlucky events.  His comeback wasn't as successful as he'd originally wished, but did that make a difference?  Not to Lance.  He said that he came back to bring even more attention to fighting cancer.  Lance Armstrong brings more spectators to the sport than any other athlete in the cycling world.  I think he accomplished his goal.

On February 16th, 2011 Lance announced his official retirement from professional cycling.  This came as quite a shock to me.  He was expected to race in the Tour of California as well as the Tour of Colorado, which is a brand new race starting this year.  He will not be competing in either race. It is a huge disappointment to us cycling fans who were looking forward to watching him race a time or two more but if you think about it, what more can he acheive that he hasn't already?  He's proved time and time again that he's the best in the world.  He has nothing left in the world of cycling.  He has said time and time again, "I really can't say I have any regrets. It's been an excellent ride." He will go down in history as the biggest success and legend this sport has ever seen.  I can honestly say I'm grateful to have been apart of something so spectacular.

Some might twist this and say Lance retired because of all the speculations swirling around about if he's a clean rider or not.  We'll get into that more in posts to come but in May of 2010, former professional cyclist, Floyd Landis, came out and not only admitted to having doped, but also made outrageous allegations against Lance and other riders.  That's not news to the public.  Doping allegations have followed Mr. Armstrong throughout his career. 

Whether Lance is guilty of doping or not is not up to us to decide.  We need to leave this to those who are trained to investigate Lance's case.  Until there is proof, I am inclined to believe that Lance is innocent.  I could argue the point all day that all the "smoke" around Lance and his teammates is proof enough.  I could also argue all day that the UCI is corrupt and they are protecting Lance.  The bottom line is, proof has yet to be shown.

In the meantime, I'll watch the investigation go on and say farewell to Lance.  There's no doubt that he'll be missed.  I'll miss watching him climb up the grueling Alps during the TdF.  I'll miss watching him ride with his team.  I'll miss wondering what he'll do on every stage of a race.  I'll miss watching him just plain and simply ride his bike.  I'll miss the legacy that he leaves every time he races.  But I'll remember the imprint he made on not only the courses , but on people's lives.  No one can condemn a man who has tried so hard for over 10 years to fight a disease that kills hundreds of thousands of people and effects millions.  I wish only the best for him as he spends time with his family and furthers his cancer foundation.  Livestrong!

No comments:

Post a Comment