Only four riders in history have won five Tours — Eddy Merckx, Miguel Indurain, Bernard Hinault and Jacques Anquetil. (Only Indurain won 5 straight victories.) To call this feat Herculean would both minimize the difficulty of the tour, and give Hercules too much credit. Lance's victory today can be described as nothing less than superhuman — a reminder that supermen do walk among us mere mortals. In my book, Lance earned his place today among the most elite athletes of modern history — men and women like Jim Thorpe, Mark Spitz and 23-time Ironman triathlon winner Paula Newby-Fraser.
Of course, Lance's victory today cannot be remembered as simply a victory over the other riders in the Tour. To get here, Lance Armstrong fought a terribly difficult personal battle with testicular cancer that nearly took his life. He fought back from that deadly disease, and then fought back into the top ranks of cycling to win 6 consecutive tours. No person has ever accomplished this athletic feat, let alone a man who has stood at death's doorstep. Lance's victory today should serve as inspiration to all of us that there is no such word as impossible — that hope is a method.
In our daily lives, I believe we can all learn something from Lance's victory today. It should inspire us to see opportunity in adversity, and to challenge ourselves to ever higher aspirations even when the odds seem stacked up against us. Of course, we are not all supermen like Lance. But by emulating his will to live and his passion for excellence, we can all become super in our own ways.
(Photo Credit: The Associated Press)