It’s been a few weeks since Lance Armstrong spoke the truth to Oprah Winfrey and admitted - after years of denial – to using banned performance-enhancing drugs during much of his cycling career.
I am one of the legions of disillusioned. I was one of the believers. I wrote about my gut response to the US Anti-Doping Agency’s formal actions against him last year in this post. But I kept reading all the stories in the news. The subpoenas. The host of former teammates giving evidence against him. Then, over Christmas break, I read Tyler Hamilton and Daniel Coyne’s book The Secret Race. Then came Oprah. The gig was up.
So I broke up with my sports hero.
I still think his cancer story is amazing. He may be a big fat liar and a bully, but he faced something that few of us can fathom. Those of you who have known someone lying on their cancer deathbed have some sense of how stunning his cancer defeat was. To win that battle – and to eventually get back on a bike for even a ride around the neighbourbood - is incredible. The inspiration and hope he has provided to cancer survivors and their families stands. But all the other stuff - the ego, the deceit, the destroying of others’ lives? Way to blow it, dude. That leaves a stink that will linger long.
So, I’m left scanning the horizon for new sports heroes. Not heroes to blindly follow. But people who inspire with their passion, integrity, and will to improve. People who make us want to be better in our own fitness journeys. People who remind us to listen to that little voice within that says why not?
And you know what? They are everywhere.
My new quest is to find more of them – known and unknown. People who are on personal sports and fitness quests to become the best version of themselves.
Like Rich Roll.
Have you heard of this guy? He’s an ex-alcoholic lawyer who - in is forties - transformed his nutrition, life practices, and became a high-performing ultra-triathlete. In 2009, Men’s Fitness Magazine named him one of the World’s 25 Fittest Men. He wrote a book called Finding Ultra: Rejecting Middle Age, Becoming One of the World’s Fittest Men, and Discovering Myself that documents his journey. The beauty is that - between the lines - it’s a story of the spirit, of self-actualization, of finding and trusting one’s true path. He and his wife also have a podcast (Rich Roll Podcast) which, in my opinion, hits the nail on the head of the nutrition-fitness-spirit trifecta that is true health. You should check him out. Buy the book. Support this guy.
And let me know who your sports heroes are.