Lance Armstrong, winner of his sixth consecutive Tour de France may be the best athlete of our times. A great champion.
Posted by: Arun on July 25, 2004 12:17 PM
Well – he’s probably running neck and neck with six-time Formula One champion Michael Schumacher (drives for Ferrari), who’s well onhis way to winning his seventh championship this year. He won his 11th race this morning – the German Grand Prix – (out of 12 so far this season), and seems well-nigh unstoppable. Practically every individual Formula One record worth having is either already his, or within his reach. I was never a fan of his sometimes questionable driving tactics on track, but you just have to respect his ENORMOUS talent, and sheer will to win that must drive him.
Posted by: jeff on July 25, 2004 05:52 PM
Here in Chicago, one of the newscasts reported on his win and then gave just as much time to the useless info that “fellow Texan george bush called to congratulate him”
Who cares about the unelected, draft dodging, deserting, halfwit.
Lance is the story!
Both the begining, middle and end of the story
Posted by: Scott on July 25, 2004 07:42 PM
Dan, I watched the entire tour for the first time, never having been a cycling fan, I’ve always prefered basketball and other American pro sports. I was blown away.
The drama, the passion, and the participation by fans, countries, and towns and cities is astounding. Eat your heart out America, we have nothing like this – the Boston Marathon is a blip on the radar compared to this.
And the history is facinating too. They’ve had doping problems, scandals, death and the rest – but they’ve been able to keep the sport and the challenges great and fan friendly.
Speaking of history – Lance is often refered to as a self-centered prick before his bout with cancer. Well, it’s nice to see that athletes – even a generation’s best as you put it – can grow up and become a gentleman – because in this tour Lance and the entire US Postal team handled themselves with poise and grace. …and that made the Tour even more enjoyable to watch.
What a beautiful race – the country side is breathtaking – the peaks and valleys offer a backdrop for the race that brings a tear to your eye. And if that weren’t enough about every tenth peak has a fairyland castle or fortress – a couple of the stages finished at these historic sites. Many of the stages followed history itself – passing through the same mountain pass as Hannibal – leaving Belgium via Waterloo – wow.
And in very unamerican fashion – the race takes it’s time, winding through France for 19 stages before returning to Paris and finishing with the non-competitive grace of a “gentleman’s” sport.
While I’m sure it’s all good business, it’s quite clear that “the Tour” respects more than just revenue and that’s a big change from our pro sports. I for one will be watching next year to see if Lance can pull off a seventh!
Posted by: Peter G on July 25, 2004 07:56 PM
Great post, and like many other folks I was out grinding up a hill on a bike today, but I think you’re a bit off-base with the part about it being unamerican for a sport to take its time. The obvious counter-example being baseball, spanning 174-181 games over 7 months. You can find whatever you’re looking for in America.
Posted by: Cog on July 26, 2004 12:53 AM
Amazing how the German, Belgian and French fans booing, spitting, accusations of doping, and crude insults scribbled on the pavement all directed at Lance failed to get a mention.
Nothing to see here, move along.
Posted by: Scott on July 26, 2004 02:04 AM
Yes, I get your point and I do like that baseball takes it’s time. I even enjoy that it’s fun to go to the games of a team that is “out of the hunt.”
My passion, however, is basketball and the NBA has become almost 100% about hype. (And the same thing could be said of the NFL) This is the source of my critic of American sports. Combine the commercialism of BBall and Football with the beer drinking Nascar and logo’d out “exhibition sports” like the x-games, surfing, and what not and I just found it refreshing that the tour was a single competition that took 20 days to conclude.
It’s great when college basketball starts because (despite being all about the money behind the scenes) the enthusiasm and passion is there – the kids and the fans love the game. The NBA slogan is “I love this game.” Every time I hear it I’m embarrassed for them because I hear more people say they think it’s too hyped and commercial. If you want to “love this game” it’s college ball all the way.
If you’re a fan of the NBA you’re not going to recognize the teams next year – so many players have already traded teams I can’t keep them straight. And more big names than I remember in recent years. How are you supposed to scream at the TV that so and so sucks and just fouled your guy in that last game of the playoff and then wake up and find out he’s on your team the day after the playoffs end?
Oh well – what’s this all got to do with the Tour de France? Nothing – I just thought it was fun.
Thanks Peter. — Scott
Posted by: Scott on July 26, 2004 02:08 AM
I agree 100% – they gave it harldy a word and I thought it should have been brought up a lot more.
I can see the TV people not saying too much a about it – it’s like people running on to the field at baseball games – don’t give the yahoos coverage or they multiply.
But more should have been written about it and it’s certainly a disgrace to the fans of those countries.
Posted by: vibrissae on July 26, 2004 03:26 AM
Professional sports in America have been mostly ruined by media and monied interests.
There is very little “heart” left in American professional sports.
When it takes the better part of a $100 bill to attend a professional sporting event it’s time to move on to other things.
Posted by: Owen on July 26, 2004 06:31 AM
vibrissae – I commend to your attention high school sports. For all the faults of hyper parents and wildly diverse skill levels, the fun, participant commitment and general values of small-town high school hockey and other sports vastly eclipses the commercialism of the pros and big college sports.
Posted by: vibrissae on July 26, 2004 12:11 PM
Owen, I heartily agree. In fact, local baseball, basketball, softball, and volleyball matches now more than satisfy my need for rooting at competitive events.
Imagine, one can often walk or
bike to the event, pay only $2 for a darn good hotdog, pay a $5-10 admission fee (often, none at all) not have to endure the buffoonery of overpaid ex-professional players-turned-announcers (most of whom have not a single thought in their head except vapid, boring stories from “the old days”, or rapidly fading mamories of the playbook they used when they were active).
The real bonus comes when one has an opportunity to watch real “passion” in sport at the local level instead of the over-hyped, monotonous repetition of over-hyped professsional athletes and the products they endorse.