Shock and awe. Did he really just say that? Uh, yeah, I did.
And really, if you think about it, and remove emotions from the conversation, you’ll probably agree.
Let me get this out of the way first. Lance Armstrong did so much good for the ongoing fight against cancer. He has inspired so many and that can never be taken away from him. He is an American hero in that respect.
Okay, feel better? Now onto the point of this piece.
Lance Armstrong is easily the most overrated athlete in the history of American sports. My arguement is pretty simple.
Has someone ever accomplished something that so few ever watched or even cared about?
I do not know one person that ever watched a full stage of a cycling event. I certainly do not know anyone that watched every stage of a cycling event. Sportscenter highlights have never, EVER fueled a career and a rise in popularity of an individual more than Lance Armstrong.
I also am unclear on what Lance Armstrong ever did except win one race, one race for 7 times. He did do it 7 straight times, and his 7 is more than anyone else’s in Tour de France history to his credit. But what does that have to do with winning an award for athlete of the year?
Is this the equivalent to winning the Master’s and not golfing or competing the rest of the year? Is this like winning Wimbeldon and that is all that matters for the tennis season? I don’t recall the Daytona 500 winner being crowned athlete of the year for doing only that, do you?
Lance Armstrong was named the AP Male Athlete of the Year from 2002-2005. Four straight years?!?!
Lance Armstrong recieved an ESPY as best Male Athlete in 2003, 2004, 2005, and 2006.
All I ask is, for what????? Winning a race that 99% of us didn’t watch? More people watch any of the other individual sports, golf, tennis, and NASCAR…and they watch them in their entirety. They also watch all season.
Even if you argue that viewership should have nothing to do with honoring the individual, my follow-up would be: who said the winning a bike race made you the best athlete in the world? Who decided that? To win an award like male athlete of the year once for that accomplishment seems far-fetched. To do it for 4 straight years is downright ludacris!!!
Jimmy Johnson has won 5 straight NASCAR titles. He got the AP award once. I can live with that, even though I can debate the “athletic merits” of being a car driver. But he also won for a “season’s accomplishments” not for winning ONE race.
Same thing goes for Tiger Woods, Michael Phelps, and others that have won the award.
I think Lance Armstrong’s story was a terrific one, albeit one that should probably appear with an * because of the likely doping he did during his run of victories at the Tour de France. Lance seems to get the pass Barry Bonds does not, probably in part because he participated in a sport nobody really follows or cares about, and he is likeable because his human success story of beating cancer and inspiring so many.
So Lance Armstrong’s retirement yesterday barely makes a ripple in the sports world pool, because it shouldn’t. I just think is comically overrated it ever made much of a splash to begin with.