Freshman year, I read one of the most influential books ever. It was about the oustanding cyclist, Lance Armstrong, who overcomes the obstacles and issues he faces with testicular cancer, and ends up winning the Tour De France.
Lance Armstrong, one of the greatest cyclists alive, winner of the Tour De France, cancer survivor, husband, father, son, and human. His story of triumph and courage begins on September 18, 1971 when he was born to mother, Linda Mooneyham in Plano, Texas. Lance was extremely athletic and competitive starting at a very early age. He began running and swimming when he was a mere 10 years old, and took up competitive cycling at 13. Lance, was one of the youngest people competing at the triathlons, but by the time he was 16 he became a professional triathlete. Soon after this Armstrong, decided to focus on cycling because it was what he enjoyed the most, and was what he excelled at. During his senior year of high school he was invited to train with the U.S Olympic Development Team. The following summer, he qualified for the 1990 junior world team and placed 11th in the World Championship Road Race, with the best time of any American since 1976. That same year, he became the U.S. national amateur champion and beat out many professional cyclists to win two major races, the First Union Grand Prix and the Thrift Drug Classic. He went on to win many more races, and become a strong rider. Lance Armstrong's career as a cyclist had finally kicked off, but the unthinkable was about to happen. In October of 1996, Lance was diagnosed with testicular cancer. The tumors were spreading rapidly and he needed to begin chemotherapy immediately, but Lance fought the disease with the same strength and stamina he had on the bike. Although his chances of survival were slim, he was optimistic and maintained hope. Lance went through many painful and exhausting rounds of chemotherapy, and even brain surgery, but in the end he came out victorious. In February 1997, he was declared cancer free. Many people expected Armstrong to just hop back on his bike, and to be completely fine. But Lance did not ride for another year. He was terrified that his cancer would return, and just couldn't seem to find the same love and passion he had for the sport before cancer. His sponsors were starting to loose hope, and people feared he would never ride again, until his coach and long-time friend Chris Carmichael insisted that he traveled to Boone, North Carolina, for an intensive training camp. Lance agreed, and as he was biking through the beautiful Appalachian Mountains, something inside of him clicked. He realized that he was wasting his life, by just sitting around at home, and he also realized how much he loved biking. He had always thought of biking as a career and very serious business, but after this trip, he truly understood that he belonged on that bike. When Lance returned to Plano, TX, he announced that he wanted to bike again. He trained very hard, and slowly he started to win races, and become a better rider. His life started to come back together, and he even got married to Kristin Richard and had three children. He had an extremely successful life and family, and had achieved so much after he recovered from cancer. Today he has won the Tour De France 7-consecutive times, beat multiple records, and has even created a cancer foundation, that helps families to pay for treatment, and that provides money for research. Armstrong's story definitely shows you, that if you try your hardest and never give up, you will come out on top, not matter what the circumstances may be.
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