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Armstrong Is Strong

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"Whoosh!" was the sound of the wind blowing into his face as he raced through the mountain's monstrous decent. As he raced through the Pyrenees, he thought about everything that had occurred in the past couple of years of his life. He felt his heart pounding as he pedaled through the dirt and rocks. Cycling is a tough sport that only certain athletes can endure. The long and painful climbs up a 2,000 foot hill are not the easiest things to do, but certain athletes have done well enough to call themselves champions of the sport. Lance Armstrong has succeeded so many times in this strenuous sport, that he has earned his title as the greatest cyclist. Lance was born on September 18, 1971 in a tiny suburb of Dallas, Texas called Oak Cliff. Because his mother was pregnant with him when she was only seventeen years old, Lance grew up without a father figure, but to him it did not matter. Soon after, when he turned three, his mother Linda Mooneyham married Terry Armstrong who later became Lance's new stepfather. With the financial aid of Mr. Armstrong, Lance's mother moved the family into a more upscale suburb called Plano, where Lance grew up. Lance's mother was not the wealthiest woman alive, yet she always found ways to give Lance what he needed.

When Lance was thirteen, a couple of his friends and him were loitering by the Richardson Bike Shop (a local bike shop by his house), when they discovered a flyer for an Ironkid's Triathlon. He told his mother about the triathlon, and she bought him everything he needed for the race, his uniform, and his first racing bike; a slim, elegant Mercier road bike. Lance joined the Ironkids triathlon, and ended up winning without even training for it. Pretty soon, he was entering triathlons in the professional level and was finishing amongst the top five. Lance was also succeeding in local bike races as well. In 1990, he was invited to train with the junior U.S National team in Colorado Springs and then to travel to Moscow for his first big international race. When Lance turned seventeen, he received a call from the manager of the U.S National Cycling Team, Chris Charmichael, who invited Lance to go to Europe; it was then that his career as a professional cyclist began. By 1996, Lance became the world's top-ranked cyclist winning ten titles in every race from San Sebastiбn to the Tour Du Pont. At his best, Lance was on his way towards success in the Tour de France, when he received some distressing news; he had cancer.

"I thought I knew what fear was, until I heard the words You have cancer." (73). On October 2, 1996, Lance Armstrong received terrible news which stated that he had right testicular cancer or cancer in his right testicle. After being told about his cancer, Lance was immediately on the phone, phoning those whom cared for and loved him. He started first with his mother, then his teammate Kevin all the way to his attorney Bill Stapleton. In the first 24 hours since he was diagnosed, Lance did everything he could to obtain knowledge on the disease that he possessed. His tests had shown that he had stage three, testicular cancer and his chances of survival were very slim. Even though his chances were slim, Lance never gave up hope. With the support of his mother, Lance was sure that he would be fine. He even told himself "I had to keep moving..." (87), and so every morning during his first week of chemo- a treatment of cancer with the use of chemical agents, he would put on a pair of sweats and stride for an hour or more to break up a sweat, and at night, he would do the same but on his bike. Lance did everything in his power to fight the disease, and by December 13, 1996, he finished chemotherapy.

One month after he finished chemo, he met Kristin Richard, and immediately fell in love with her. After his return from chemo, Lance was tentative about riding his bike again; he just didn't "feel good on the bike." (171). All throughout his time of



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