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Lance Armstrong's Struggle and Triumph over Cancer

Question:

Discuss About The Autobiography Adds To Public Understanding?

Lance Armstrong is famous for his accomplishments as four times winner of the Tour de France. His autobiography adds to public view that he overcame the challenge and struggle in his life which were dangerous than the mountains of France. Lance survived cancer and his teen mother who had no support of his biological father since Armstrong was at the age of two reared him up (Armstrong, 2001). He struggled for selection in the town’s football team and meanwhile he entered triathlons, which is originator of bike racing and won it. He described in his autobiography to the public the way he first started to ride bike because he wanted to run away from his abusive stepfather and the town where he felt he was unable to fit. This feeling of being free grabbed his interest and became his passion in the journey of his life. In his autobiography, he wrote that he suffered from testicular cancer, which eventually turned into three stages and rapidly covered his lungs and brain (Armstrong, 2001). The doctors who were in charge of treating him tried to provide him hope for life but truly his chances of survival was very less. In his autobiography, Lance said that life was never easy for him; he took cancer as a challenge of travelling mountains and had to go through much painful chemotherapy and suffer largely (Armstrong, 2001). After his surgery, he slowly tried returning in his racing but when he made a came back his teammates refused to accept him thinking he will not be able to be successful and he was threatened that his contract will be opted as well. He describes in his autobiography that after going through all this he committed to racing again and joined the US postal team. He took an oath that he will win the tour de France and won it four times (Armstrong, 2001).

The biography of Lance Armstrong highlights the doping facts in front of the public. Tyler Hamilton was a support to Armstrong during the Tour de France to help him win (Coyle, 2009). Many members of professional cycling team helps the best riders of the team to win and Hamilton did the same. He took drugs for giving himself a shot for being in a successful team. Hamilton wanted to be rich and non-sporty and after Armstrong won the Tour de France, his salary increased by15percentage (Coyle, 2009). Hamilton had the fear of not being able to make it as a good rider and taking drugs helped him with the boost, which he needed.  The drug that Hamilton took was EPO and there are many risks, which come along with the drug. It makes blood healthier and thicker and many cyclists from the 1980 died in their sleep due to unmoved blood. Many cyclists were found to wake up at midnight and practice some movements too keep their blood moving. When Hamilton was asked the reason due to which the fit athletes consumed drugs to make them unhealthy, he pointed that cycling itself is an unhealthy sport (Coyle, 2009). Cyclists need pain tolerance as they are injured suffering from crashes all the time. Tour de France is such a race that needs thick blood and extremely thin body (Coyle, 2009). Road racers feel fit when they are in their bikes and the rest of the time they remain unwell. The doping era offered Armstrong the appetite to win the Tour de France. He disproportionately got benefit from EPO and without this; he would have not been in the race. The biography of Lance Armstrong stated that he became much thinner after suffering from cancer and he tailored his drug taking process for enhancing his strength for cycling and winning (Coyle, 2009).

Using Doping as an Appetite to Win the Tour de France

Lance Armstrong’s autobiography discusses the struggle of his life and his biography highlights some facts about his doping and his journey as well. Both of them have their own area that they covered and both of them are true. His struggle of life was very true because many few people struggles through that amount of pain in their childhood where his stepfather tortured him like anything and his mother faced a lot of trouble rearing him up (Walsh, 2013). Armstrong’s autobiography is written in a very straightforward tone and he has highlighted all his struggle and the role of his mother and wife by saying that without them he would not be able to compete. The book itself is a tale of struggle, love, cancer and care. It describes how his life went from a little boy who was afraid of his stepfather’s torture to a man who was a champion and admired by everyone (Macur, 2014). Whereas, the biography was also in straight forward tone but had the truth of what doping is and how it was utilized by cyclists. Doping is the main theme of the book and the author reveals Tyler Hamilton’s help towards Armstrong and mentions that Hamilton turned to be of great help. The biography of Armstrong mentions that he had admitted doping but he did not let his friend and doctor Michel Ferrari down and claimed that his friend was a good man (Adams, Carine & Emmerson, 2014). His biography updated the fact that he turned aggressive to many people who blamed him for doping. He first failed in the retrospective test in 1999, again in 2000, and in 2012, he was finally charged for doping (Zurloni et al., 2015). Both his biography and autobiography stated the truth in two different perspectives; one of his own and the other about him.

Lance Armstrong is a famous figure apart from having many controversies throughout his life. It can be learned from his biography that many of the controversies that rise along with him are true and thus it can be said that both his autobiography and biography have stated true conversations. However, his autobiography was in his own voice and the biography was written on him highlighting the struggle and his controversies (Adams, Carine & Emmerson, 2014). The biography is unbiased as it has both good and bad side of Lance Armstrong, whereas, his autobiography depicts his struggle and journey of life. His biography revealed his doping issues and described how he is banned for doping. In his autobiography, Armstrong highlighted that after surviving cancer, he faced rejection and his biography showed that his teammates rejected him thinking that he will not be able to race again (Hambrick, Frederick & Sanderson, 2015). In his autobiography, he said that he and his wife had kids through the in-vitro fertilization and similarly his biography claimed that he had become father through the same process. He in his autobiography marked that he had by his side his mother and wife and said that his mother struggled a lot to raise him up (Hamilton & Coyle, 2013). Similarly, in his biography it is seen that his mother truly had to struggle to raise him up because she was a teen mother and her first husband left her when Armstrong was two and her second husband tortured her son regularly. Both his autobiography and biography reveals many of Armstrong’s secrets yet they also highlight some important points about his life. No one can deny the fact that he has been successful on his own merits and thus it can be said that both the books has well described his life (Dimeo, 2014).

References:

Adams, I., Carine, J., & Emmerson, D. (2014). Doping in sport: Lance Armstrong, a case study.

Armstrong, L. (2001). It's not about the bike: My journey back to life. Penguin.

Austin, M. W. (2017). Sport philosophy now: the culture of sports after the Lance Armstrong scandal.

Coyle, D. (2009). Lance Armstrong's War: One Man's Battle Against Fate, Fame, Love, Death, Scandal, and a Few Other Rivals on the Road to the Tour de France. Harper Collins.

Dimeo, P. (2014). Why Lance Armstrong? Historical context and key turning points in the ‘cleaning up’of professional cycling. The international journal of the history of sport, 31(8), 951-968.

Hambrick, M. E., Frederick, E. L., & Sanderson, J. (2015). From yellow to blue: Exploring Lance Armstrong’s image repair strategies across traditional and social media. Communication & Sport, 3(2), 196-218.

Hamilton, T., & Coyle, D. (2013). The secret race: Inside the hidden world of the Tour de France: Doping, cover-ups, and winning at all costs. Random House.

Macur, J. (2014). Cycle of lies: The fall of Lance Armstrong. Best Seller.

Walsh, D. (2013). Seven deadly sins: My pursuit of Lance Armstrong. Simon and Schuster.

Zurloni, V., Diana, B., Cavalera, C., Argenton, L., Elia, M., & Mantovani, F. (2015). Deceptive behavior in doping related interviews: The case of Lance Armstrong. Psychology of Sport and Exercise, 16, 191-200.

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