Story of Lance Armstrong: Is He Still a Hero or Just a Cheat?

Jill Baughman | Aug 25, 2012 Good News

Livestrong bandWow, what a crazy, sad ending to this whole Lance Armstrong saga. After winning all of our hearts (who didn't own one of those yellow LIVESTRONG bracelets?) by defying all the odds, beating cancer, and going on to win seven Tour de France titles, he's now being stripped of those titles and banned from the sport for the rest of his life by the USADA. He's also disqualified from all competitive results obtained on and since August 1, 1998. He'll have to give up his medals, titles, winnings, finishes, points, and prizes.

Now that the USADA has stripped Armstrong of everything he's worked for, due to charges of consuming performance enhancing dugs, I'm experiencing a multitude of feelings, especially as a fan who once really believed in him. He was an easy guy to cheer for, and looking back, it's difficult to believe that in one day, the USADA has essentially taken away and eliminated his entire, storied career.

From making headlines for being an up-and-coming amateur cyclist to his battle and ultimately defeat of cancer to winning (and now losing) a historic seven Tour de France titles, I'm still trying to come to terms with the fact that Lance's journey has ended this way. After more than a decade of court battles and accusations from teammates and other competitors, Lance has thrown in the towel, and who knows what's next for him and when he'll make headlines again.

As of now, let's take a quick look back at everything Lance has accomplished and what he's ultimately lost. 

Are you a Lance Armstrong fan? What do you think about him not fighting the USADA?


Image via Bensmcc/Flickr

  • Early Career


    Image via PoweriPics/Flickr

    Lance was a talented cyclist from a very young age. In 1987-1988, he was the number-one ranked triathlete in the 19-and-under group. In 1987, he had more points than five professionals. At 16, he became a professional triathlete and was the national sprint-course triathlon champion in 1989 and 1990. He then found his love in cycling after becoming the U.S. Amateur Championship in 1991.

  • Cancer


    Image via NIH Record/Wikimedia

    On October 2, 1996, when he was 25, Armstrong was diagnosed with stage three testicular cancer. The cancer spread to his lungs, lymph nodes, and brain. He then underwent two surgeries, one to remove his cancerous testicle and the second to remove the lesions on his brain. He also received four rounds of chemotherapy.

  • Comeback


    Image via Sherool/Wikimedia

    Lance Armstrong soon became an inspiration to all of us, particularly those suffering from cancer, when he returned to cycling in 1997. He won the Sprint 56K Criterium in Austin, Texas. His Livestrong yellow bands were released in May 2004 to raise funds for the Lance Armstrong Foundation.

  • Tour de France Wins


    Image via Jarrett Campbell/Wikimedia

    Lance continued to inspire by winning the Tour de France in 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, and 2005. Though the Tour de France was his biggest races, he was able to rack up many other wins and championships along the way. He won his seventh and final Tour de France on July 24, 2005.

  • USADA Strips Him of Wins


    Image via William Howard/Wikimedia


    After a long, legal battle with the USADA over doping allegations, Lance Armstrong decided he won't fight the charges anymore. With allegations from teammates and after over 13 years of tests, reports, and court orders, Armstrong has had enough. Unfortunately, that means all seven of his Tour de France wins have been stripped, and we fans are now left to take it all in and figure out for ourselves whether he's a true hero or just a plain ol' cheater.

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