Sunday, July 24, 2005

The Domination Ends Today

The Tour de "Lance" officially ends today although it can be argued it was over 21 days ago. Since this is the last time you'll see Lance as a professional athlete, it's time to start thinking about his legacy. I can't say for certain, but I don't think there's ever been someone in professional sports to overcome more than Lance. Forget the cycling accomplishments for a second. How many athletes have ever been months away from death with no apparent recourse only to survive? Out of those, how many returned to their sport? Out of those, how many became the most dominant athlete their sport has ever seen?

You have to remember, the cancer spread all over his body. He was given less than a 50% chance of living. Simply not dying was a heck of a feat. Lance celebrated his remission by becoming one of the most dominant athletes in sports history. No athlete has ever detroyed the competition the way Lance has. I know cycling isn't a big-time sport but what Lance did will transcend history. He could end up being the most important athlete of our generation.


Anonymous said...

Like Tony Kornheiser of PTI said, can you compare seven tour wins to no-hitters by Nolan Ryan? I say no, absolutely not. I'll take Miguel Inderain and one of Ryan's no-hitters over Lance. I'm more interested in female hylai scores. I do envy his escapades with one Sheryl Crow however. Now that is some exercise I'd like.

Jake said...

Lombaowski, you're missing the point! (and I think Kornheiser is too. Although he misses the point a lot.) It's not about how hard cycling is. I never compared cycling to any other sport. I don't know how hard it is because I've never tried it. I'm sure it's very difficult. But that's besides the point. Comparing ANYTHING to Nolan Ryan's seven no-hitters is ludicrous. Nobody will ever come close to that. It's an unbeatable, maybe THE unbeatable, record. You could pull out Nolan's no-hitters in any conversation, comparing any athlete and make them look unimportant. Which is more difficult, seven no-hitters or hitting .400? It's not even close. George Breet and Tony Gwynn made legitimate runs at .400. There might be 5 guys in 20 years to get ONE no hitter. I don't think that's a fair comparison. The point being, (and obviously Kornheiser totally missed this) is that Lance is way more important than Nolan Ryan ever was. What did a Nolan Ryan no-hitter do for someone? I'm sure it provided some enjoyment to baseball fans but can it hold a candle to giving millions of people hope in the fight against cancer? I know it's chic to rip on cycling and cheerleading and racing because they aren't "real" sports but sometimes people transcend the sport and Lance is a prime example of that without even getting in to his seven straight wins. I understand that only once a year does anyone care about cycling, but that doesn't make any of this untrue.

Anonymous said...

I may be missing the point but the point is not black and white. No way is Lance Armstrong more important to me than Nolan Ryan as far as a sportsman. Cancer was just another bump in the road for Armstrong and I think it's a great story. But there are a ton of great stories and Lance's journey although an international one, is backburner to many who could care less about cycling.

Oh, and seven no-hitters beats a .400 season. Seven no hitters is being nearly perfect and .400 is getting it right four out of ten times. One no hitter is an anomaly. Seven no hitters is extraordinary. .400 hasn't been done since 1941 but who has thrown seven no hitters since 1941? Bob Gibson didn't even do it!

Jake said...

I think the difference here is that you're contending that he's not the best athlete ever because cycling doesn't hold a candle to the other sports. You're also saying that people could care less about Lance because nobody cars about cycling.

The problem is that I'm not saying he's the best athlete ever. The fact of the matter is, I don't watch cycling and I don't care about it. It just doesn't interest me. Most of the people that cheer Lance on and celebrate his story don't know the first thing about cycling but are captivated by the story. That's the sign of his importance. Other than his 7 no-hitters and k-record (which are very ipmressive), what did Nolan Ryan do in the world? He was just another very good pitcher i.e Bob Feller, Steve Carlton, Tom Seaver, Roger Clemens. I don't mean to knock him as a person. I'm sure he's a very good person except (for when he's beating up Robin Ventura).

You also mentioned that there are a ton of great stories. I agree with you. However, like I said in the post, this guy was dead as a door nail. No story can compare to that.

Here are some of my favorite athletes ever: Barry Sanders, Joe Dumars, David Robinson and Steve Yzerman.

I'll be the first to admit that none of those players had nearly the impact on the world as Lance has. To say that would minimize what he's been through, minimize the impact he's had on people facing death, and minimize the impact that he has as a dominant athlete. That combination is just unmatched. This is why I think he might be the most "important" athlete of our time.

However, you're right, this is all opinion-based. Nothing is black and white.

P.S. I think you were just re-stating the .400 vs. 7 no-hitters to agree, but just in case you misunderstood what I was saying, 7-no hitters is the most unattainable record in sports. Nobody even gets one anymore.


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