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Hero Profile: Lance Armstrong

Here is a profile of cyclist Lance Armstrong, with comments and my rating on the five characteristics of a sporting hero. You can also give your rating for Lance Armstrong using the same criteria.

skill Lance performed well in his sport over a long period and finished first in the Tour de France a unprecedented seven times (between 1999-2005). To do so requires exceptional skill and physical attributes, but also a very strong team. Having been subsequently found to have taken banned doping substances during this period does not really diminish his performance, as during that time the majority of his competitors also did the same, and he was still clearly better than them. 4
character He comes across as arrogant to many people. He had years of strong allegations of drug use, which he always denied (though not always convincingly). When finally the USADA caught up with him he was unconvincing in his denial and uncharacteristically decided not to fight the charges any more (as he would have lost). 1
family He has not had a good record with relationships. His biological father moved out when he was a baby. When he was three years old, his mother remarried a man named Terry Armstrong. His mother has married and divorced three times. He was married to Kristin Richard, and they have three children. After Lance and Kristin divorced, Lance had a short engagement with singer/songwriter Sheryl Crow. His current relationship is with Anna Hansen, with whom he has a son born in June 2009. 1.5
charity work In 1997, Armstrong founded the Lance Armstrong Foundation, which supports people affected by cancer. 5
popular culture Despite dominating his chosen sport, cycling is not a mainstream sport in his home country, so has not reached the potential he would have if he played a major sport in the US. Making a successful comeback after beating cancer has aligned him with a big proportion of society. 3
hero rating Despite allegations of drug taking, he is a hero to many cancer sufferers and others who have come back from adversity in their lives. 58%

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