Lance Armstrong recently confirmed rumors that he will be returning to professional cycling. The internationally famous cyclist will seek his eighth Tour de France title primarily in an effort to actively spread cancer awareness. Armstrong plans to discuss his cycling program Sept. 24 in New York City at the Clinton Global Initiative. Being the icon that he is, who better to fight a global epidemic than a professional athlete doing what he does best?
Even at 17 years of age, Armstrong had a motive for cycling. His father left the family when Armstrong was 2 years old, forcing his mother to work full time to support him. He learned from comprehensive tests at Cooper Clinic in Dallas that his body had an especially innate ability to endurance train. Armstrong used that knowledge, combined with an inspiring passion for athletic competition, to make some significant money, even in high school.
A common misconception about Armstrong is that he quit cycling after seven championships because he was found guilty of blood doping or another performance-enhancing violation. In reality, despite consistent attacks by mostly the European media, he never once failed a drug test, and has never been found guilty of any similar act. Armstrong likely quit cycling because he wanted to spend time with his family after training for what is commonly known as the most grueling and daunting event in the athletic world. No NFL player, not even a coach, has seven Super Bowl rings.
At 36 years old, Armstrong is an ideal American hero to be in the spotlight battling cancer, especially considering the success of the Lance Armstrong Foundation. The organization has raised more than $260 million since 1997 and had a huge part in passing Proposition 15 in Texas – a $3 billion research grant into cancer.
Throughout his struggle with cancer, Armstrong has reached out to other patients and has always used his fame positively to inspire others. As Texans, but more importantly Americans, we should feel an obligation to support the comeback of Lance Armstrong in his dilligent effort to fight cancer.
John Andrew Willis is a sophomore environmental science major from Dallas.