Lance Armstrong is the famous American cyclist, known for winning the prestigious Tour de France cycling race for seven consecutive years. Lance was an athlete from a very early age and won many racing competitions in his cycling career. However, more than all these accomplishments, he is respected for recovering from the dangerous disease of cancer when doctors had declared that his chances of living were very low.
Early Life and Career
Lance Armstrong was born on September 18, 1971 in Plano, Texas to Linda Mooneyham and Eddie Charles Gunderson. When Lance was born, he was named as Lance Edward Gunderson but his father left him and his mother when he was two. Later his mother married Terry Keith Armstrong who adopted Lance and gave him his name.
From a very young age, Lance was interested in sports and took up racing, swimming and cycling. At the age of 13, he participated in the Kids Triathlon, which included 1000 meter swimming, bike ride for 15 miles and running for three miles. In the following years, he continued to take part in triathlon tournaments and became the national sprint-course triathlon champion at the ages of 16 and 17.
By this time, Armstrong realized his keen interest and passion for cycling and decided to take it up as a career. Leaving his senior high school, he went on to join the U.S. Olympics Cycling Development Team in Colorado for training in cycling. With this he started his successful cycling career where he won numerous awards like the U.S. National Amateur Champion, the First Union Grand Prix and the Thrift Drug Classic. Armstrong achieved the World Road Race Championship in 1993, becoming the youngest person to win the competition.
Cancer and Career after Cancer
While Armstrong was riding high on his success, he was diagnosed with testicular cancer. Armstrong's condition was very serious, as the cancer had spread to his lungs, stomach, brain and lymph nodes. Doctors had very little hope of his survival but Lance Armstrong was determined to win the battle with death. After going through a surgeries to remove the cancerous testicle and the brain tumors, he opted for a different regime of chemotherapy (from the standard one) and came out fully recovered.
Post recovery from the dangerous disease, he began his new innings in the world of cycling. He took part in the Tour de France tournament in 1999 and despite all that he had gone through during his cancer days, emerged as a winner. However, his success did not stop here. Rather, Armstrong continuously won in the tournament every year till 2005, breaking the record of cyclist champions who won the tournament for five consecutive years like Miguel Indurain, Greg LeMond, etc. After his seventh win in 2005, Lance Armstrong retired from cycle racing.
On May 1, 1998, Lance married Kristin Richard whom he had met a year before. Their first child, a son, was born in October 1999, whom they named Luke. In November 2001, they had twin daughters, namely Isabelle and Grace. However, Armstrong's marriage with Kristin did not work out well and they got divorced in 2003. In the same year, he met Sheryl Crow, a singer and song writer. Although they got engaged in 2005, they broke off in 2006. After this he dated Tory Burch, a fashion designer and Kate Hudson for short periods of time. After these unsuccessful relationships, Armstrong started dating Anna Hansen. The couple had a baby boy on May 9, 2009 whom they named Maxwell Edward Armstrong.
After his retirement, Armstrong gave all his time to cancer research and social activism. He has started cancer organizations which help people affected with cancer. He along with some of his companions organized a charity cycle race (Ride for the Roses) in Austin, Texas to collect money to help cancer patients. He has also penned two books It's Not About the Bike: My Journey to Life and Every Second Counts which have become best-selling autobiographies. Looking at the biography of Lance Armstrong, one can say that his life is definitely an inspiring one.