“I am sad and have finally accepted there really are no true heroes in our world”
Someone on Facebook wrote this in response to the recent news about Lance Armstrong. This week came with some pretty damning evidence in the Lance Armstrong saga. It would be pretty hard at this point for even his staunchest support to continue to believe in him.
This is an interesting study in how legends and role models evolve in popular culture, and how they can fall – and fall HARD. For anyone who read ‘It’s Not About the Bike’ or ‘Every Second Counts’, this is a terribly bitter pill to swallow. Having a role model, a hero to aspire to, is an incredible act of faith. An act of absolute belief in the value of the individual you respect and honor. When that belief gets shaken, it is not just that hero that falls, it is also the belief in their own judgment that falls, for the many people who idolize that hero.
Here, it is not enough to say that one should still respect Lance for his work with Livestrong, and that it far outweighs what he did on the bike, on those seven tours, on the journey that he vividly describes in his two books that inspired millions. If one truly believed in the idea of the person that the books, or the seven tour wins represented, one cannot still continue to have the same respect after this revelation (assuming it is true).
At this point, some strong supporters would still continue to believe that this is all a conspiracy to frame Armstrong, and it is all a witch hunt (I continue to be one of those people, maybe it is just my years of being inspired by Armstrong that is the reason, and not facts. Maybe for a supporter like me, the only thing which would cause me to believe otherwise is hearing it from Lance Armstrong himself), but nonetheless, it is an important reminder – Heroes inspire. But Heroes fall too. Sometimes, they fall harder than you could ever imagine.