The Rise and (very likely) Fall of a Legend

“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.

9 thoughts on “The Rise and (very likely) Fall of a Legend

  1. AR said or wrote somewhere (sorry can’t recall where) that one should look to plays or fiction for his heroes, and not invest too much emotion in real life heros, because they can change, fail, disappoint, etc. — but the fictional ones always remain exactly what their creators intended.

  2. I am not so sure it matters. Consider it in this regard, that the ideals still exist, they were never false if they were rational and worked. Any success you achieved on account of those ideas, that inspiration is yours. That hero was simply a motivator. At what point do our heros motivate us to be heroic for ourselves? I think that is the ultimate goal, to our own hero in a very real, deeply personal, and moral way. So if and when our heros do fall, we still stand on our own. We are all human, make mistakes, fall into the temptation of taking the easy way out…that doesn’t mean redemption is lost. If Lance can do all he did, with the support of drugs or not, it won’t be so difficult to achieve redemption. But he must first make the choice, to walk that uphill and difficult path towards redemption. Not for those who considered him a hero, but for himself, for the hero inside him that inspired him to do all he has done with his life.

  3. It is often that we find others to look at when deciding whom we will become, heros inspire us, motivate us, and help us question our existence. Heros are everywhere, hiding in amongst the crowd waiting for the right spark to ignite the passion that so many possess as they run ahead. Taking on the world.
    As our heros rise and fall, I think it helps us realize that even those with whom we greatly admire, fail hard, fast, and for some often.

  4. should I stop drinking milk because it contains vitamin D? should I stop eating beef because it has protein because my brain and muscles require it? these things exist in your body because your body requires them they are not reproduced without enhancement you have to ingest items that will enhance…then what else is a steroid? because it doesn’t exist in your body naturally? ….if a person takes steroids its not about his actions but what he can do with it…steroids benefit muscular activity ask anyone who has weak muscle tone…a person who would be wheelchair bound without …..here’s the rub….Lance was in a contest and a contest implies a natural test…pay attention…all men can take an enhancer….not all men will know how to make the most of it……capice? why wear a well made tennis shoe if not to enhance your performance?

  5. Heroes fall because heroes are humans too. What right do we have to condemn the hero we first believed in ourselves if he has fallen; if we have never had the guts to even attempt to become the hero we can be? The point is not to idolise anyone; hero/god/angel/demon/parent/friend/villian/xyz; the point is perhaps to listen to their story and extract the essence that resonates with the hero lying dormant in you?

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