Lance Armstrong

Active - 2004 - 2013  |   Born - Sep 18, 1971 in Dallas, Texas, United States  |   Genres - Comedy, Sports & Recreation [nf], Culture & Society [nf]

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Professional cyclist Lance Armstrong made headlines not only as one of the world's foremost athletes -- with prowess to rival almost any other individual in his chosen sport -- but for his ability to overcome a seemingly insurmountable and devastating obstacle that life thrust into his path. Born and raised in Plano, TX, Armstrong gravitated to strenuous physical activity at an early age, winning the Kids Triathlon at 13. By his late teens, he had established himself as a professional athlete; his focus and attention gravitated away from his high school studies to such a degree that he almost failed to graduate, and he began training doggedly with the U.S. Olympics Cycling Development Team. In successive years, Armstrong racked up a plethora of awards and honors that included multiple Tour de France victories, competition in the Olympics, and -- eventually -- the title of No. 1 racing cyclist in the world. Tragically, in the late '90s, Armstrong's life bottomed out when he received a diagnosis of seemingly irreversible testicular cancer that had spread to his brain and lungs. Never one to take such hardships lying down, Armstrong opted for an extreme form of chemotherapy that, astonishingly, wiped out all of the cancer and brought him back to 100%, despite a slim chance of recovery. He then continued to pursue his racing career for some time -- before retiring indefinitely -- and plunged headfirst into cancer research and social activism on the side.

Cinematically, Armstrong also appeared in occasional features, usually cast in cameos as himself, including Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story (2004) and You, Me and Dupree (2006). In 2005, he hosted a special episode of NBC's Saturday Night Live.

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Factsheet

  • Was a professional triathlete at the age of 16.
  • At 25, was diagnosed with testicular cancer, which spread to his brain and lungs, and was given a 50-50 chance of survival.
  • Following surgery and chemotherapy, was declared cancer-free the next year, and returned to cycling.
  • Won the Tour de France seven straight times, from 1999 to 2005.
  • Was named Sports Illustrated's Sportsman of the Year in 2002.
  • His foundation's yellow Livestrong bracelets, which benefit cancer research, became a fashion trend in 2004.
  • Opened a bike shop in Austin, Texas, in 2008 called Mellow Johnny's. The name was derived from maillot jaune, which is French for "yellow jersey."
  • Broke his right collarbone in a crash during a 2009 bike race in Spain; doctors used a 5-inch metal plate and 12 screws during surgery to repair the bone, which had broken into four pieces.
  • Announced his official retirement from cycling "for good" in February 2011. Had retired once before in 2005.
  • Following an investigation by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, was stripped of his Tour de France titles, his 2000 Olympic bronze medal and received a lifetime ban from cycling.