Bye Bye Armstrong

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With recent doping charges, Lance Armstrong’s iconic livestrong wristbands have lost some meaning for cyclists and cancer survivors alike. Grace Isford ’15 Grace Isford ’15

With recent doping charges, Lance Armstrong’s iconic Livestrong wristbands have lost some meaning for cyclists and cancer survivors alike.
Grace Isford ’15

Seven Tour de France titles. 470 million dollars donated to cancer research. 80 million silicone Livestrong wristbands sold since 2004. Lance Armstrong is perhaps known as one of the greatest heroes and role models of a cancer survival and success story. However, this champion’s spotless reputation was shattered due to recent evidence of doping. In fact, there are over 1,000 pages and 26 witnesses affirming Armstrong’s drug use.
The truth is hard for many fans because of Armstrong’s seemingly wholesome, genuine story of accomplishing the impossible. In 1996, after being diagnosed with testicular cancer that spread to his brain and his lungs, there were doubts Armstrong would even live. Yet he fought through his cancer struggles and recovered to win the Tour de France in 1999, a mere two and half years after his last chemotherapy session was completed. He went on to win six more Tour de France titles and become an iconic symbol of resilience, strength and hope for cancer patients throughout the world.
Armstrong solidified his reputation with his creation of the Lance Armstrong Foundation to benefit cancer patients and research. Since its inception in 1997, the Lance Armstrong Foundation raised more than 470 million dollars to support its mission of inspiring and empowering people affected by cancer. With the iconic yellow wristband, millions of Americans were inspired to fight like Lance did and “live strong.”
Yet, in a dramatic turn of events, Armstrong was stripped of all seven of his Tour de France titles and his perfect image was ruined. Upon discovering the truth, many people are questioning how much respect Lance Armstrong deserves and if he ever was a role model, champion or hero.
“My opinion has definitely changed because it was completely inappropriate for him to use steroids. Using them gives him an advantage over other athletes and that isn’t fair,” junior Paige Wilkens said.
Yet for some, Lance Armstrong is still an admirable character.
“Even though Lance Armstrong did drugs, he is still a role model because he has had more of a positive impact on the world than negative,” sophomore Lily Pillari said. “He has been able to improve many people’s lives.”
Although many continue to defend Armstrong and admire his considerable work to help those cancer patients, many refute that Armstrong’s charity would have been as successful without his cycling success.
“Armstrong was one of the best cyclists in the world,” sophomore Emily Sabia said, “but his success was artificial because of the drugs he took.”
Lance Armstrong was once a champion and hero because he surmounted seemingly unconquerable odds. But now, with evidence supporting doping allegations, the world is coming to the realization that Armstrong may have only become the hero and champion he once was with drugs.
 
– Grace Isford, Staff Writer