Skip to main content

Lance Armstrong - A Fallen Hero! Really?

At the very outset, let me state that I am pretty confused. Hence, I expect no clarity in this article. Rather, it is an attempt to thrash out my ideas and hopefully try and figure out where I stand.

Lance Armstrong – A fallen Hero! There are not many stories that captivate more than those that talk of fall from grace. The bigger the hero, the greater is the impact. Lance Armstrong was not just a hero; he was an inspiration to millions from across the globe.  Armstrong conquered mountains, overcame death; Armstrong defeated opponents, vanquished cancer; Armstrong battled exhaustion, endured pain. And in doing so, he won a million hearts, set in motion countless dreams and captured the imagination of many more. Armstrong, a hero, if there ever was one.
Did Armstrong cheat? Did Armstrong take drugs? Honestly, I do not have a clue. What I want to explore though is how people’s perception of Armstrong will be affected by the accusations. To be honest, today, they are more than accusations. By refusing to fight further, Armstrong, at least in the eyes of law, is a cheat. But does it really matter? Does it make him any less a champion? Does it make him any less an inspiration?

Firstly, the appeal of sport lies in the assumption of a level playing field. Sport relies on the trust it builds with the spectator. The moment this trust is broken, sport loses its meaning. It is reduced to a mere kicking of the ball or a hurling of an object, etc. It is stripped of its very essence, i.e. the celebration of human spirit. Any athlete, when he indulges in foul play, especially doping, does a great disservice to his sport. Armstrong, if guilty, is no different.

But Armstrong the fighter will continue to inspire. Here is a man, who in the prime of his life is diagnosed with the most belittling of diseases; Testicular Cancer. He is given less than an even chance to survive. Overnight, the world crashes around him. The world at his feet, literally; and a diagnosis later; he stares death in the face. The fighter that Armstrong is; he battles pain and conquers death. Mind you, he did not ‘cheat’ death, he conquered death. He not only conquered death, he had the audacity to dream. He believed that a cancer survivor could master the Tour De France. For the thought alone, Armstrong is a winner. But he went further; he actually did win the Tour De France, a record seven times. Having just battled excruciating pain, he chose to court pain yet again. He chose to succeed. Drugs might make you a superman, drugs might beef up your body, drugs might give you super-human strength and endurance but no drug in the world can ever give you the spirit that Armstrong possessed. This was achieved by Armstrong alone. The greatest victory of his; none can take this away from him, even if they so desire.  And yet, incredibly enough, this is not Armstrong’s greatest achievement. Armstrong’s call to fame lies not in what he has achieved but in how he has made it possible for others to achieve. A book that inspired millions and a foundation that helped cancer patients; Armstrong’s legacy in the pantheon of American heroes lies secure.

And so I come back to where I have started. Does it matter?  Does Armstrong remain a role model? It boils down to the age-old adage; Take the good, Leave the bad. Accept the man for what he is, for what he has achieved and learn from his mistakes. Lance Armstrong for all his flaws, for all his shortcomings will remain an inspiration for many a year to come.

P.s. The one thing that drives home the magnitude of Lance Armstrong’s achievements:

After July21st, 1969, When Neil Armstrong set foot on the surface of the moon, it is incredible that, today, to many the name Armstrong conjures up visions of a yellow jersey hurtling down mountains rather than the landing on the moon. It is ironic that Neil Armstrong died just two days after Lance Armstrong gave up a fight for probably the first time in his life.


Popular posts from this blog

The Ascent to Sandakphu

IndiaHikes - Sandakphu
Man originated somewhere deep in the jungles of Ethiopia. And then, he walked, and walked, and walked; to become, arguably, the most dominant species in the history of the planet. Walking then, is the most natural thing in the world, and as old as the hills themselves. And yet, today, walking is an archaism. We live in the era of Uber and Amazon, of the remote and the elevator; all designed to not just make walking unnecessary but also unfashionable.
Trekking then, inhabits this curious corner of contradiction, natural and unnatural at the very same time. For the first time trekker, this contradiction is all the more magnified; accustomed as he is, to the warm comforts of luxury travel, the lure and excitement of trekking is nonetheless elementary, almost primal even.
As the first timer treks, flat terrain is his friend, all so familiar and so very comforting; if at all, monotony is the only damper. The descent is a trickier beast, with dangers potentially lurk…

Just how much did Sachin mean to us?

Aspiration for success is the single most natural thing in the world. It is not a trait unique to human beings alone; it is the very fundament upon which nature exists. It is what gives rise to evolution and results in life as we know it. And yet there are times, when even before you begin, you not just suspect that you will not succeed, but know that you are doomed to, and, will fail. Nonetheless, you go ahead and do it anyway. Because it is not a choice, but a call to duty; like a mountaineer attempting to scale that one last impossible peak, a surgeon trying to perform the miracle that will not happen or even a letter of infatuation that you know will never be reciprocated. Failure is merely a meaningless by-product.

And so I attempt to put in words, the emotion that cannot be explained but only be felt, the phenomenon that cannot be understood but only be experienced and a love that cannot be rationalized but can only be succumbed and surrendered to. I attempt to both understand …

Mahendra Singh Dhoni - The Gladiatorial Monk

Published on Sports Cafe

A captain is only as good as his team; or so they say. Well, they are fools. Cricket, with its nuances and minute intricacies, with its subtleties and glorious uncertainties elevates Captaincy into an art form of the highest order. From Mike Brearley to Steve Waugh, from Imran Khan to Saurav Ganguly and from Richie Beanaud to Graeme Smith, Cricket is awash with examples of great captains inspiring their players to dredging the deepest of reserves and leading them to conquering the highest of peaks. A Cricket team is greater than the sum of its parts. The difference is the team’s captain. Little wonder then, that they say, in India, the Prime Minister’s job is the 2nd toughest job in the country, after that of the Country’s Cricket Captain; which brings us to MS Dhoni.

I had never been to Ranchi. But then again it is not the sort of place you will often find yourself needing to visit. By all accounts, it is a small city, inconsequential in the larger scheme of th…