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Lance Armstrong a terrorist target?(17 posts)

Lance Armstrong a terrorist target?Sintesi
Jan 24, 2002 8:06 AM
I have to admit I've thought about this a few times. If someone wanted to make devastating blow to the American psyche or Europe in general the TdF would be an easy place to do it. Scarey as hell. Apparently I'm not the only one, Here's a quote from Frankie Andreu's column reporting on USPS training camp:

"As tradition has it each of the sponsors got to stand up and say a few words. Also, as tradition has it, everyone was waiting to hear from Lance talk about the upcoming year. This year I sensed something different from Lance's talk. Instead of reflecting on last year's Tour and predicting this year's Tour with motivational words Lance seemed nervous. Not nervous because he was speaking in front of a crowd, his words were nervous. Lance talked about the troubles we are in today and how cycling is very fan friendly. Maybe too fan friendly considering it only takes one lunatic to spoil everything. Lance is very, very aware of this, his safety is out there for anyone to take. What is usually a known factor, his fitness, seemed secondary as Lance spoke with tension in his voice about the unknown factor that is his security in Europe and in the races. Maybe I read more into it than someone else but I've known Lance a long time and that was not his normal start of the season talk."

I'm beginning to think he may not make it to 6 tour wins, let alone 5. Maybe the risk isn't worth it. He's set for life, he's got a family... One nutcase could change that forever. Comments?
much bigger fishDog
Jan 24, 2002 8:24 AM
I'd have to think that terrorists would go after much bigger fish, like the President, generals, other officials, etc., and sports figures would be way down the list. Plus, even among sports figures, Lance still is nothing compared to some stars like Jordan. I don't think he should worry any more than the average citizen.

For the first time, I'm with Dogcory
Jan 24, 2002 8:32 AM
I don't think an attack on Lance would be nearly the blow to the American psyche that an attack on, say, Pamela Anderson would. More Americans probably know his name than any cyclist before him, but we're still talking low double-digit recognition (I saw one survey where most people thought 'Lance Armstrong' was an astronaut). If you're going to go to all the trouble of blowing somebody up, you'd get more mileage doing Tom Cruise or Kurt Warner.
AccessibilityJon Billheimer
Jan 24, 2002 8:38 AM
I agree. But bike racers due to the nature of the venue are totally exposed. And disrupting the Tour de France would have great negative PR value. However, you're right, it doesn't have the symbolic value of an embassy, defense installation, or large public monument such as the WTC, the Louvre, etc.
Granted. Your probably right about America.Sintesi
Jan 24, 2002 8:50 AM
But world wide LA is indeed a superstar he has tremendous international name recognition. He is a Michael Jordan in Europe where cycling is a first tier sport and the TdF is second only to the World Cup (my understanding anyway). Europe is a target, as is America, and this threat can pertain to the rest of the peloton as well. How easy is it to sneak gun or a grenade on the side of a 200km race course? Tempting target for terrorists if you ask me.

Maybe you guys are right and sport stars don't rate high with terrorists. Hope you're dead on right.
Tiger Woods would be a high profile target insteadTig
Jan 24, 2002 9:28 AM
Same goes with Michael Jordan or a few movie stars. I doubt someone would simply try to take one individual out. Perhaps a whole peleton, or more likely, the Winter Olympics, a stadium, arena, or ball park.

Anyone read Clancy's "Rainbow Six"? The plot to spread a biological agent in the water mist cooling system in the tunnels at the Sydney Olympic games was masterful as well as sick.
Safety tip for Lancemr_spin
Jan 24, 2002 8:37 AM
Always ride next to Wladimir Belli. He'll keep the fans on their best behavior.
He's got bodyguards.guido
Jan 24, 2002 11:43 AM
A picture in Cycle Sport shows Lance walking along surrounded by three or four mean looking dudes with sunglasses on. All Lance needs is a bright gold chain necklace to perfect the look. I guess he'll have a car with bulletproof glass next, like the Pope. Maybe he's lost his guts for another TDF.
not quite...philippec
Jan 24, 2002 8:38 AM
While the risk is real, it is probably a lot smaller than the risk of being jostled by an over-eager (and slightly drunk fan). If Indurain was never taken down by the ETA, then I feel fairly confident that Armstrong will not be taken out by some Al Queda straggler. The world has changed -- indeed, it is always changing -- but it hasn't fundamentally changed that much. In any case, we should all go on doing our jobs like we did last year -- and for Armstrong, that means winning the Tour.

P.S. Since the Airbus hijacking in Alger 10 yrs. ago and the 1996 GIA bombings, the French have spent considerable effort infiltrating Islamic terrorist cells here, they seem to have done a pretty good job of it. If memroy serves me, the French Secret Service even passsed on warnings of a forthcoming Al Queda attack to the US (unfortuneatly, these were very general in nature). I am sure that they will be monitoring their informants and passing on any potential attack info. to the elite Gendarmerie unit in charge of the Tour's protection.

Biggest risk not from terrorists, but nut job like Hinkley (nm)morrison
Jan 24, 2002 8:40 AM
actually, biggest risk from carsDog
Jan 24, 2002 8:59 AM
A car coming around a corner almost took Lance out last year. He even said in his book that the way he'll probably go is on the grill of a Dodge pickup on some lonely Texas road.

Good point . . .morrison
Jan 24, 2002 9:12 AM
What I was trying to suggest was the idea that, while isolated terrorist attacks occur, they usually are aimed at institutional damage, like buildings, bridges, etc. Attacks aimed at civilians typically are designed to create the greatest number of casualties. E.g., WTC, Oklahoma City, car bombs in Israel, etc.

Individual targets, on the other hand, are relatively rare. When isolated persons are targeted, they typically are the victims of political assasination (e.g., Anwar Sadat) or, more commonly, mentally unbalanced persons seeking fame (notoriety), or seeking to right some perceived slight. For example, remember when Squeaky Fromme (sp?) tried to whack Gerald Ford? Hinkley and Reagan? Fill-in-the-blank 'stalkers' and fill-in-the blank celebrities (Penn, Letterman, etc.)

In terms of risk from INTENTIONAL acts, the nutjob factor would be what would worry me most about someone like Armstrong.

As an aside, I think the last real act of 'terrorism' or even homicidal intent directed at a 'world class' athlete occurred at the '72 Munich games. No? Wait . . . there was that blimp that was hijacked at the Super Bowl, but if I recall correctly, that was nothing more than a poorly acted flick.
Good point, tooDog
Jan 24, 2002 9:21 AM
Yes, I think we must remember what terrorism is. It's trying to instill terror in your target, not just make them mad. Taking out one person like Lance likely won't terroize anyone except his family and other pro cyclists. It will make a bunch of us mad, though. Taking out hundreds or thousands of "regular" people does tend to terrorize, though.

No, wait...Lone Gunman
Jan 24, 2002 10:35 AM
there was that one movie with Jean Claude Damn Dumb crashing through the score board during a hockey game at the Civic Arena in PGH....Or something like that....
Two birds, one stone, in the city of lightmr_spin
Jan 24, 2002 11:02 AM
The American Embassy in Paris is on a corner of the Place de la Concorde. On the final stage, the riders will pass by it 10 times. Blow it up as Lance rides by and you'd really make an impact. A better target, because it is much closer to the riders, is the American Consulate on the opposite corner, across from the Jeu de Paume. Between these two corners is the Hotel Crillion, a five-star hotel that last year flew the Texas flag.

As far as nutjobs, anytime you get a large crowd and TV coverage, you are guaranteed to get a few. And in fact, they show up every year. There were the guys who threw the hay bales in front of the ONCE team during the TTT in 2000. And last year, somebody drove their car into the crowd, killing a child.

Some of the riders might actually be safer with the fans so close. Last year in the Vuelta, Carlos Sastre (?) rode right off the edge of a cliff. Some fans managed to grab him and slow him down, but he still went over. He could have really been hurt if there were no fans there. As it was, they pulled him out, he got back on a new bike, and finished the stage. He quit two days later.
Effects of hit on Pammy as sugested above...Tommy.
Jan 24, 2002 9:18 AM
A real case of ecomonic "boom and bust"?

Just joshin' y'all.

Keep turnin' them cranks,
And spendin' the Bank's

On bikes you can ride,
But still have to hide,
from the woman you call

Arph, arph!
you've seen too many Hollywood moviescyclopathic
Jan 24, 2002 10:31 AM
there's more chance guys making money on gambling would put him down or set him up