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Lance Armstrong and his tarnished Image

Lance Armstrong has been stripped of his seven Tour de France titles and this week he had to give back his Olympic bronze medal but was his confession to Oprah Winfrey enough to satisfy his fans? According to reports, it may depend on who you talk to. Not only was Lance Armstrong a world class cyclist, he also was the founder of the cancer charity Livestrong and a survivor of testicular cancer. His battle overcoming cancer, for many, was more of an inspiration than his sport’s accomplishments. So what are those who admired him for his cancer battle now thinking about his cheating? [caption id="" align="alignright" width="300"]English: Lance Armstrong 2009 Magyar: Lance Ar... English: Lance Armstrong 2009 Magyar: Lance Armstrong a 2009-es Tour de France-on Italiano: Lance Armstrong 2009 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)[/caption] Some cancer survivors have argued that the millions he has raised for cancer research, which can be a life and death issue, illustrates Lance’s total victory over adversity much more than his so called cycling success. Bob Denton, 64, is a cancer survivor, who began cycling after his cancer diagnosis. He says he found strength in the yellow armband. "When I would be exhausted trying to keep up with the pace line, I'd look down at that yellow band and get my second wind," Denton said. Other cancer survivors have also mentioned that what Lance accomplished off the bike continues to be a source of inspiration, regardless of his tarnished cycling image. Many feel that now that Lance Armstrong has come clean it is time to accept his apology, move on, and focus on his message of encouragement he offers to other cancer survivors. Not all cancer survivors, however, share the same attitude. Although many are not ready to claim Armstrong is evil, many do recognize that his tactics to win at any cost did great damage to the sport of cycling and to other individuals as he, in the words of one cancer survivor, “bullied and played mind games, using cancer as a cloak to cover his sins.”

Lance Armstrong and Charity Work

And this is a great question. Did Lance Armstrong use his fund raising and charity to mask his “sins”? Were some of us duped into looking the other way because we were in awe of the good work he was doing for cancer research and funding? Most survivors claim to have mixed feelings or they choose to separate their feelings about the man and the charity he created. Some survivors still pass out the trademark Livestrong cancer bracelets and discuss Livestrong and all the work the charity completes each year without discussing the man who made it happened. Many claim that the good that Lance Armstrong has done can live on through Livestrong, even if the image of the man who built the company is tainted. We all look for role models and heroes and Lance Armstrong seemed to fit the bill. He was the perfect example of someone who overcame insurmountable obstacles to accomplish great things, helping and inspiring millions of people. It was always about more than the bike, it was about life or death, a struggle we all eventually face. He was a hero, until he wasn’t
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