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?