It is hard to look back on Lance Armstrong’s career and think about him through the lens through which he was seen at the time. Although cycling has never been a major American sport, Armstrong’s dominance combined with his touching story made him a superstar. At the height of his career, Armstrong was more important than an athlete. He was a philanthropist, television personality and entertainer.
Armstrong’s early years
According to the biography, Armstrong started as a triathlete, but quickly realized that his true love was in cycling. He devoted his entire life to cycling. Armstrong began to climb after the 2002 Olympic Trials. The Americans noted the cyclist as the favorite to win the event in Barcelona. Unfortunately Armstrong did not live up to the height and finished 14th.
Over the next few years, Armstrong began to end the competition, winning the World Road Racing Championship in 1993, dominating several other competitions. When the 1996 Olympic Games took place, Armstrong noticed that he was getting more tired than usual. While I was still resting well, something was wrong.
RELATED: 5 of the Best Bike Documentaries on Netflix
Shortly after testifying to testicular cancer in Armstrong’s brain, everything changed. With a 65 percent chance of survival, Armstrong fought hard against cancer in February of the following year. This event triggered a kind of rebirth. The next year Armstrong was ready to start again.
Just in time for the 1999 Tour de France, he worked his way back into shape, where he exceeded all chances and won. The following year he repeated as a champion and took the bronze home with him at the Olympic Games. He continued his winning streak at the Tour de France until he retired from sport in 2005. After a short comeback from 2008 to 2010, Armstrong’s world collapsed.
Rumors of performance-enhancing drugs followed Armstrong throughout his career, but without a positive test and the goodwill in his story, they were largely ignored. This Cinderella story came to a standstill after former teammates confirmed he was part of a blood doping scandal, CNN reported. The national hero became a villain after the extent of its use became publicly known.
It was an epic doom for someone who had become a national treasure.
Armstrong as an entertainer
Armstrong’s rise to a household name was inextricably linked to his performance on the bike and his memorable history. Armstrong’s fame was also strengthened by a media machine that allowed him to grow bigger than any other sport. He used this to develop the Livestrong Foundation and raise awareness of cancer research. However, he also used this to increase his status as a celebrity.
Fans of the hit 2004 film Dodgeball will immediately remember the scene in which Armstrong himself spoke about overcoming enormous opportunities. He later appeared where most of the big names appear on the Simpsons, and offered a similar, weird look at his life as a megastar. Armstrong was at the top of the world.
He hosted the 2006 ESPY Awards and was an integral part of talk shows around the world. Armstrong was also a well-known Pitchman who sold bicycles, shoes, drinks, and all the products people were willing to pay for shill. He was an icon with a huge fan base and all the goodwill. However, all of this disappeared after his admission.
Armstrong is still performing these days. He occasionally makes fun of his scandals and uses the same machine that made him famous to try to warm up his image again. A new two-part documentation about ESPN is called lance has given Armstrong an open opportunity to tell his side of the story, from the highs to the lows.
For a modern audience, Armstrong’s name lives on in shame. For an earlier generation, it was a name that went beyond sport and became a full-grown celebrity. It only shows how quickly things can change for those who finally reach the top of a mountain on which they are climbing.