Lance Armstrong Returns To Cycling — As A Superfan
Lance Armstrong continues to love cycling, regardless of whether his fans love him back.
The seven-time Tour de France winner was at the peak of his career when he confessed to doping in 2013. His victories were stripped, he was expelled from the Livestrong Foundation and he faced several lawsuits, one of which was settled in April.
Armstrong has had many years to reflect on his cycling career. He’s made amends with many friends, family, and community members. He’s developed a podcast called “The Forward,” which addresses adversity and self-growth. And he’s even joked about his troubles, like the time he pretended to be an “anonymous doping informant” on the HBO mock-u-mentary, Tour de Pharmacy.
But digesting the fall of his career, and what lessons to glean from his mistakes, has been a long process:
It’s been six years since things came crashing down. I spent three years, at least, in not a great place. Not so much physically, or even mentally. But just upset, bitter, angry. And then the last couple of years or so, I found a different place. The thing that allowed me to reengage with the public was the first podcast I did, which was a weekly show called “The Forward”.
His podcast has become pivotal in more ways than one. Armstrong says he had a “come-to-Jesus” moment when a former Livestrong employee listened to the podcast and eventually reached out to invite him to coffee:
We sat down for coffee and she walked me through the whole process — what life was like at Livestrong on the way up, at the point when things crumbled, and then what it was like as they continued to crumble. The moment that really shook me the most was that she walked me through what the leaders of the organization told the staff on what they ought to say if you were at a cocktail party or if you were on a bus or plane. What do you say? And the people there said, “Just say what he says.” And so she said, “When we did that, and the truth came out, we felt complicit.” And so complicit is a very, very different word than betrayal. And so for me, that was a moment where I was like… oh my god. I get it that people are betrayed but if you feel complicit, if you felt like you were in on the act, that’s way heavier than betrayal.
Revelations aside, Armstrong knows his work is far from over:
I’ve walked this path with people that were affected. I’ve traveled the world with people I was unkind to and sat across from them and spoken to them, apologized to them, asked for their forgiveness. Almost every single one of them has allowed me that. I’ve settled every law suit to the tune of $111 million. So if you’re asking me if I feel like, any time in my day, I’ve still got work to do, I mean I know I have work to do on myself.
Lance Armstrong, Former professional cyclist
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