Lance Armstrong, The Fallen Hero

"What were you thinking?” Oprah asked Lance Armstrong several times as she referred to ‘that guy’, his so called former self during his tell all interview last week.

As Lance shook his head in dismay, I couldn’t help but wonder what life has in store for him next. He started out a product of a broken home, went from cancer survivor to extreme philanthropist and biked his way into our hearts as an adored uber-athlete. This rise to fame catapulted him into the stratosphere, only to send him crashing down in a hot mess of humiliation. Tough break, but seriously, Oprah’s question was spot on. What was this guy thinking?

The only explanation he was able to articulate was an obsession with winning at all costs and an ego the size of Montana. He is now left with the challenge of facing the people he betrayed along the way who were left reeling in the wake of his reckless defiance. As he searched to find the words, he claimed that he has seen the error of his ways. This won’t help him much as he faces the external consequences of his actions, but internally we can only hope a profound shift is imminent.

People all over the world are expressing their disappointment in his show of arrogance and dishonesty. He was a hero to so many. The thing about heroes is that they encourage us to push our own limits. They give us faith in our ability to rise to the occasion and be better people. When someone like Lance let's us down, it messes with us. It makes us question who and what to believe in.

Let's be honest. We all fall down and with a bit of luck, the power of hindsight eventually helps us learn from our missteps. It cannot be denied that Lance is on a journey and has been handed some pretty significant challenges in his life. What he does with this one, is anyone's guess.

Personally, I prefer to focus on the help he has offered millions of cancer survivors. I only hope for his sake that he finds his path to redemption in a way that will continue to benefit others and restore our faith in those we so highly revere.

Noelle Van Vlierbergen


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