|MSNBC flip flops... I'm sure they're feeling the heat...||spyderman|
Jul 26, 2002 1:29 AM
America’s greatest athlete, bar none
Armstrong beats them all — Woods, Shaq, Williams sisters
July 25 — He doesn’t exist for 11 months of every year. Gone. Is Lance Armstrong in a drawer somewhere, filed and folded like a bank statement? We take America’s most dominant athlete for granted. And then, there he is again in the leader’s yellow jersey, just in time to provide some sweet background noise every July.
OF COURSE, IT isn’t so simple. Armstrong trains over the winter back in Austin, Texas, or in the French Alps. He competes with the U.S. Postal Service team in road races and time trials for up to nine months.
But we don’t know about that, and frankly we don’t care. When it comes to cycling, our tiny satellite dish picks up only the Tour de France, which is the sport’s Super Bowl and Kentucky Derby rolled into one. And here is Armstrong again, pedaling ahead through the sunflower fields.
Borges: Armstrong is no great athlete
There were 189 riders at the start this time, staring at 20 stages and 2,151 gorgeous, rugged miles over mountain and through valley. There was never a doubt about who was going to win this thing, no matter how much Armstrong tried to make it sound as if the finishing order was no certainty.
Tour de France
21 stages, July 6-28
• Armstrong three stages away from fourth title
• Borges: Great feat, but he's not a great athlete
• Bondy: Armstrong is America's best athlete
• Feedback: Is Armstrong great athlete?
• Interactive: Tour de Lance -- race breakdown
• Race schedule
“Anything can happen,” he kept saying. The only question, really, was his winning margin. By the time the riders left the demanding Alps on the final Thursday, Armstrong had his five-minute advantage and it was all but a done deal.
When he crosses the finish line at the Champs-Elysees in Paris on Sunday, Armstrong will become a four-time champion — one title better than Greg LeMond, his American predecessor, and one title worse than the all-time record.
Whether we care to notice or not, Armstrong is now on top of his individual sport like no other player.
Tiger Woods? Sorry. Did you see the guy struggle and fail at the British Open? Armstrong endures those high winds and rain on a regular basis, yet never pedals into the rough.
Shaquille O’Neal? Closer. But O’Neal enjoys (and resents) a partner of near-equal greatness in Kobe Bryant. Armstrong has a group of eight selfless teammates with USPS. They are more competent than in the past — particularly Roberto Heras — but Armstrong is the man ultimately responsible for himself, and the attacks up the mountain.
Likewise, the Williams sisters of tennis. They’ve won four of the last five majors as an entry, but not as individuals. They take turns.
Armstrong’s results can be deceiving, almost human. He doesn’t win every race he enters. He was fourth this April at the Amstel Gold Race in Maastricht, Holland. He didn’t win any gold medals at the Sydney Olympics, despite the unrealistic hopes of those who don’t understand that such shorter races are not the same event.
He rarely captures individual stages in the Tour de France. He picks his spots, shares the wealth with his competitors. But he is always in control at the Tour — whether he is cycling with the main pack, or he is in a smaller, breakout group. He keeps track of the riders who are true threats, reeling them in or leaving them behind.
People take from his remarkable triumphs whatever pre-conceived notions they tote to the finish line. He is a mirror for their own cynicism, or wond
|They weren't flip-flopping....||DrPete|
Jul 26, 2002 3:39 AM
|It was just a point/counterpoint type argument. Both articles pretty much came out at the same time. It's not a retraction, it's just a debate.|
|They weren't flip-flopping....||MarvinK|
Jul 26, 2002 6:32 AM
|The counterpoint came out a day (and 20,000 votes rejecting the original article's idea--not to mention an enormous amount of negative feedback) later. The original article was written in poor taste, and never should have made it to print. MSNBC is just trying to save face.|
|re: MSNBC flip flops... I'm sure they're feeling the heat...||clintb|
Jul 26, 2002 7:00 AM
|I thought that was spot-on in what Americans think of Lance and cycling in general. They didn't slam the sport, but recognized that it unfortunately is just not the NFL/Baseball/NBA.
Even though the original article was written by a complete idiot, you've go to admit that "any press is good press". As much as I hated the slamming by Borges, he in some way put cycling on at least someone's radar.