Lance Armstrong Bio: Life and Controversial Career

Lance Edward Armstrong was born September 18th, 1971 in Plano, Texas. He was a talented athlete as a child, and began swimming competitively at age 12. He became a professional triathlete by 16. Armstrong soon decided his talent and interest lay in cycling, and the rest is history! Unfortunately, after winning seven Tour De France races, his titles were stripped due to accusations of doping, which he has regularly denied. Regardless, this cancer survivor continues to be a champion for the cure and an icon of cycling. Join WatchMojo.com as we learn more about the life and career of Lance Armstrong.
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Lance Armstrong Bio: Life and Controversial Career of The Seven-Time Tour De France Champion


This cyclist has contended with cancer and controversy. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’ll be learning more about the life and career of Lance Armstrong.

Childhood


Lance Edward Armstrong was born September 18th, 1971 in Plano, Texas. He was a talented athlete as a child, and began swimming competitively at age 12. The next year, he won a junior triathlon, and was a professional triathlete by 16.

Armstrong soon decided his talent and interest lay in cycling, so he focused on that sport. He almost failed to secure his diploma thanks to his extensive training with the U.S. Olympic cycling developmental team in Colorado during his last year of high school.

Early Career


After graduating, he quickly began excelling past his peers to win races. In 1990, he became the U.S. national amateur champion.

The next year, Armstrong made a splash on the international scene when he entered the grueling 11-day, 1,085-mile Tour DuPont. While he didn’t win that event, he rode the momentum to the 1992 Barcelona Olympics. However, even with the hype, Armstrong failed to impress and he finished fourteenth.

International Cycling Career and 1992 Olympics


Armstrong was unshaken, and quickly signed a pro contract with the Motorola cycling team. His professional career got off to a rocky start when he finished dead last in his first race.

Career Comeback


Armstrong showed his trademark determination and persevered with his career. In 1993, he won multiple titles, including the World Cycling Championships, and participated in his first Tour de France. Within three years, he was the world’s top-ranked cyclist.

However, Armstrong soon slowed down. Though he won the ’96 Tour DuPont, he was forced to pull out of that year’s Tour de France due to illness, and put in an atypically sluggish performance at the Atlanta Olympics.

Cancer


Finally, on October 2nd, 1996, at the age of 25, Armstrong found the cause of his deterioration: he had stage-three testicular cancer. Because it had spread to his lungs, abdomen and brain, he required chemo and surgery right away. His career was put on hold, and he was faced with 40 percent chance of survival.

Despite that bleak diagnosis, Armstrong made a miraculous recovery. His cancer was in remission by early 1997, and he chose to use his experience to inspire others by forming his own charity organization, the Lance Armstrong Foundation.

Return to Competitive Racing, Tour De France Record and Charity


By 1998, Armstrong made a triumphant return to competitive racing. The following year, he did the unthinkable: he won the most prestigious race in cycling, the Tour de France. This stunning victory made Armstrong a recognized celebrity the world over and a prominent symbol in the fight against cancer.

Not content to be a one-time winner, Armstrong managed to don the yellow jersey at the Tour de France for the next six years straight. In 2000, he also won a bronze medal in the Men’s time trial at the Sydney Olympics.

By 2004, his charitable foundation launched the “Livestrong” campaign, and began selling yellow bracelets to raise funds for cancer research. They became a popular accessory, and over 80 million units have been sold at one dollar each since they went on the market.

Finally, on July 24th, 2005, Armstrong retired from professional cycling after his seventh consecutive Tour de France victory. But, he wasn’t gone long: three years later, he decided to return to the sport. He finished third at the 2009 Tour de France, and twenty third at the 2010 edition. Finally, February 16th, 2011 was the day he announced his final retirement from competition.

Steroid Controversy


However, Armstrong’s impressive achievements came into question during the latter half of his career, when rumors circulated that the athlete was doping. After many investigations, the United States Anti-Doping Agency officially charged Armstrong in June 2012. He fought the charges but ultimately admitted defeat while maintaining his innocence. He was banned from cycling and stripped of all the honors he took home after August 1st, 1998, including his seven Tour de France titles.

Legacy


Lance Armstrong has spent his career breaking records and inspiring millions. Like other high-profile athletes, he is not immune to blemishes on his record, though he maintains his success is the result of training and sheer determination. No matter what the future holds, countless fans will always regard him as a champion.

Has Lance Armstrong inspired you? How do you feel about the controversies surrounding his records? For more profiles of your favorite athletes, be sure to subscribe to WatchMojo.com.
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