Recently, the well-known and widely inspiring Lance Armstrong admitted to using performance enhancing drugs during his seemingly astonishing career as a cyclist. While being accused many times of doping along his path to greatness, Armstrong consistently denied such speculations, giving his fans faith in him as an athlete and a human being. Once he revealed that the doping allegations were true in an interview with Oprah Winfrey, his world of accomplishments he had built over the years came crashing down. Opinions were voiced all over the world labeling Armstrong a fraud, a liar, and a cheat. Armstrong was stripped of his titles and banned from cycling for the remainder of his life.
Before this controversy arose, Armstrong was best known for his incredible accomplishments whilst battling cancer. He won seven consecutive Tour de France titles from the years 1999 to 2005. The young cyclist from Plano, Texas began his athletic career early in swimming and running at the age of 10. He then began competing in triathlons at the age of 13, and became a professional at 16. In 1989 and 1990, he was the national sprint-course triathlon champion. Soon after, he directed his talents toward cycling.
In just his senior year in high school, Armstrong received an invitation from the U.S. Olympic development team to train with them in Colorado Springs, Colorado. The following summer, he placed 11th in the World Championship Road Race with the best time of any American cyclist since 1976. After numerous accomplishments in cycling, he received the devastating news that he had been diagnosed with testicular cancer in October of 1996. The tumors eventually spread to his abdomen, lungs, and lymph nodes. After many aggressive chemotherapy sessions, and having a testicle removed, Armstrong was given a 75 percent chance of survival. Once further examinations revealed that the cancer had spread to his brain however, his chances dropped to a 50-50 chance. Despite such an exhausting battle, Armstrong underwent enough surgeries to declare him cancer-free in February of 1997, thus leading to the most extraordinary period in his career.
After his plans to retire had fallen through, Armstrong attempted to secure his name as the best cyclist in history by competing in the Tour de France yet again in 2009, placing third behind his teammate Alberto Contador and Andy Schleck. Throughout his career, Armstrong received large amounts of ridicule about his state of athleticism, with claims of performance enhancing drugs playing a large role in his success. Denying all of the accusations, Armstrong went on to be known as the best athlete worldwide to many people. After his admitting of doping, his reputation crumbled, and his legacy was demeaned to a mere career. He was cast among the various athletes convicted of using illegal substances used to enhance their abilities. People may still see him as one of the greatest athletes of all time, but there is no doubt that his actions have forced people to question whether or not his success was due to performance enhancing drugs, or pure athletic ability.