Lance Armstrong is human. He is courageous and flawed. Anyone who makes him into a superman is naive. Anyone who dismisses his accomplishments is short-sighted.
He miraculously beat cancer and was the winner of the Tour de France 7 times, and has changed millions of lives through Livestrong.
Is he successful?
Yes and no. But who cares what I think – I’ve never been much of a fan. It’s a question for himself, his family, his friends, and the Almighty to decide.
Society was right to laud him after each win. And it is right now to say to our children, who look to Lance as an example, “this is not acceptable.”
Lance Armstrong: human.
Maybe it is time we stop looking for others to be our superheroes, and start looking at ourselves and each other.
[edit: below added after I posted article online and engaged a few friends in conversation. The comment is my own, but my thanks to Sarah Peck for the suggestion to post.]
Just to close my thought: if we are to take all the articles on doping at face value (whether he is fully culpable, more of a bystander, or whatever) and his incredible achievements and persistence, then Armstrong displayed some of the best and worst in humanity. Incredible determination, athleticism, and charity. And, as the overwhelming evidence indicates, an incredible dose of lying, cheating, fear, obfuscation, hypocrisy.
It’s not “yes and no” at all.
He’s a flawed human, and I’m thrilled that we are now seeing him as such. Just like Tiger Woods, Bill Clinton, and hopefully someday, Steve Jobs. That’s not to detract from their incredible gifts and what they accomplished, and how they have inspired many to reach for greatness. But it’s time to stop treating a few people as divine-like, and start seeing the hero in each of us.