Monday, July 25, 2005

Inspiration wears yellow

The world now knows that Lance Armstrong has captured his seventh straight Tour de France victory, and has retired from the sport that he dominated for so long.

It's easy to measure his legacy in terms of victory, and to calculate his greatness by the number of times he stood atop the podium and the manner in which he could absolutely crush competitors on a climb, in a time trial, or on a flat stretch of impossibly beautiful French road. But this doesn't do justice to the impact that he has had on the lives of cancer survivors - and anyone else who has simply aspired to lead a better life.

For years, he has been dogged by rumors of drug use, that he somehow cheated his way to the top. Arrogant European cycling fans could never quite accept that an American - a brash Texan, no less - could come in and lay claim to iconic status in 'their' sport. They mercilessly taunted him along the route, conveniently ignoring countless scandals that claimed their own so-called national heroes.

As always, Lance found a tactful way to both put them in their place, and to remind the rest of us that there's so much more to him than his ability to turn a bicycle into a frighteningly quick blur of color and motion. I'm struck by what he said just after he finished the race:
"For the people who don't believe in cycling - the cynics, the skeptics - I'm sorry for you. I'm sorry you can't dream big and I'm sorry you don't believe in miracles."
We do, Lance. We've watched yours for so many years. We look forward to seeing where your journey takes you - and the rest of us - in the years to come. It's not often one gets to see a miracle play out so gloriously. And for that we are thankful.

Your turn: I hope you'll all take a few minutes to share your thoughts on Lance Armstrong's legacy. Where do you find your inspiration? What are you going to do with it?


Pearl said...

oh, that's who Lance is. Good on him. Great quote.

mike said...

You know I am a Lance fan. I draw inspiration from him. I look out my window and see a so so day and don't want to ride my bike and think, here is a guy that was riding hundreds of miles a week between chemo sessions. All you have to do is look at the photo on the back of the current commemorative Sports Illustrated issue and it makes your world, your troules, seem not so tough. To see where he was nearly ten years ago and where he is now. It is a miracle level thing for sure.

Anonymous said...

Knowing that people like "us" who face disease and illness and strive to fight back and succeed. That's what is inspiring.

SURVIVAL from death is Miraculous.

Been there, done that!! 11 years + now.

There are walking, talking, bicycling living miracles.