Slate Article on Lance

Discussion in 'Professional Cycling' started by craigstanton, Aug 2, 2004.

  1. craigstanton

    craigstanton New Member

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    FYI . . . just in case you hadn't seen this.

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    Tour De Lance
    The international press snipes at America's superhero.
    By Susan Daniels
    Posted Monday, July 26, 2004, at 2:44 PM PT

    After Lance Armstrong's sixth Tour de France win on Sunday, he got a call from the president of the United States, who told him, "You're awesome." And while the European press largely agreed with that characterization, among the plaudits were plenty of sour grapes.

    An editorial in Madrid's El Pais rehashed unsubstantiated rumors of drug use by Armstrong, remarking, "The triumph of Terminatour comes ... as questions are asked in various quarters if he won these six Tours cleanly or with the help of stimulants," and characterizing him as "arrogant, cold, machine-like."

    And in Switzerland, La Tribune de Geneve scorned Armstrong as haughty and described the U.S Postal Service team's effort as "a typically American business that scorns humanity." It went on to chide the cancer survivor: "Mankind is not fond of those who gorge themselves on success without suffering and without showing compassion for their fellows." (Translations from Spanish and French courtesy of BBC Monitoring.)

    Liverpool's Daily Post reported that a poll conducted by a French newspaper "placed Armstrong behind only Formula One world champion Michael Schumacher and footballer Nicolas Anelka in a list of the most disliked sportsmen in France" and drily commented, "The reasons are unclear, but in the wake of the US-led war in Iraq, his nationality may be a factor."

    "Maybe it's not national but personal," speculated Alastair Campbell in the London Times. "[A]nti-Armstrongism, anti the fact that he keeps winning their game. They respect him. They admire the way he came back from cancer. They see in him a strong character who has devoted his life to their Tour. But Chirac's France wants French winners and, if it can't have them, other Europeans. But Americans? Non, merci."
     
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  2. rejobako

    rejobako New Member

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    Sports/entertainment celebrities tend to be polarizing figures. I'd be willling to wager that if the same survey had asked for the most favorite sportsman in France, Armstrong would place in the top 10; maybe top 5. For most every disgruntled Frenchman who hates Armstrong because he's a stinking American, there's one who admires/respects him for his unequaled effort and dedication to winning cycling most revered event. Fortunately, in France and everywhere else, there are plenty of people who don't project their discontent with another country's government to its citizenry as a matter of course.
     
  3. craigstanton

    craigstanton New Member

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    True enough. I agree with you completely. It is interesting to consider how people's politics inform their respective perceptions of athletes though. For example, on this website in the last few days I have seen more than one strand of legitimate cycling conversation break into nationalistic mud-sling fests. It seems that wherever conversations about great international athletes occur, talk of politics is never far behind.
     
  4. kbs23

    kbs23 New Member

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  5. homeycheese

    homeycheese New Member

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    This quote is amazing "Mankind is not fond of those who gorge themselves on success without suffering and without showing compassion for their fellows." and clearly illustrates what an anti-American bias permeates so much of the European culture.

    I don't guess they consider cancer "suffering" and all the LA has done for cancer awareness to be devoid of compassion.

    The simple fact is Lance being American has brought greater awareness to the TDF and cycling in general. His appearance in GA this spring was like that of a major rock-tour legend, bringing out tons of non-cyclisits.

    Success, like that of the USPS team and the american capitalism that made it possible (look how much Nike, Trek, AMD, etc..put into the effort) has got to make many of the Euros envious of America and contemptuous of their own cultures at the same time.

    Lance and his team have created a new model for success and the lightning-rod he has become can only bring out the best and worst in people.

    Let's hope the interest transcends his retirement and continues to help the sport flourish.
     
  6. craigstanton

    craigstanton New Member

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    Cheers. Homey, that quote is actually what made me post this in the first place. I was completely dumbfounded by this statement. Not only is it amazing for its insensitivity to Lance's personal history with cancer, and the obvious snipe about suffering suggesting that Lance doesn't suffer when he trains . . . because he cheats (e.g., is a doper). It's also amazing in that the author attempts to speak for all of mankind!!
     
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