The Dallas Morning News has selected Lance Armstrong as a finalist for it’s “Texan of the Year” award. The Dallas-based newspaper was careful to note that the award is not necessarily given to individuals for their positive contributions. Rather the award acknowledges the impact an individual has upon society whether it is positive or negative.
“It reflects the prominence of what Texans do, not what we’d prefer them to do,” wrote the editorial staff of the Dallas Morning News (DMN). “Armstrong’s crash to Earth in 2012, with all its painful reverberations, leaves a Texas-size crater that qualifies him as a finalist for this year’s distinction. His fall wasn’t pleasant to behold. If nothing else, it’s a lesson about the perils of hero worship.
The DMN largely decided to recognize Armstrong for the impact of his doping scandal rather than his greater contributions to cancer awareness. It was the allegations related to the use of anabolic steroids, erythropoietin (EPO) and other performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs) that have made Armstrong the topic of water cooler discussions in 2012.
The newspaper acknowledged the amazing and inspirational accomplishments of the athletic prodigy known as Lance Armstrong.
Armstrong defeated professional triathletes in competition at age fifteen.
He became the youngest cycling road racing champion in history at age twenty-one.
And not only did he overcome testicular cancer that had metastasized to his lungs and brain, he returned to cycling to win seven consecutive Tour de France titles.
Along the way, he helped raise half a billion dollars for cancer awareness via the Lance Armstrong Foundation. He used his clout to encourage voter passage of Proposition 15. Proposition 15 was an amendment that authorized up to $3 billion in state funds for the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas.
However, these accomplishments had little to do with the DMN’s decision to select Armstrong as a “Texan of the Year” finalist. It was the implosion of Lance Armstrong and his unceremonious fall from the pedestal that had the greatest “perceived” impact on society.
If it wasn’t for the United States Anti-Doping Agency’s (USADA) exhaustive 200-plus page report that convinced a significant number of people, including all of Armstrong’s sponsors, that Armstrong doped, it is unlikely that the DMN would have even chosen Armstrong as a nominee for “Texan of the Year” award.
Texans love to build up heroes and put them on a pedestal. But they enjoy knocking them off the pedestals even more.
Dallas Morning News. (December 18, 2012). Editorial: Texan of the Year finalist Lance Armstrong. Retrieved from http://www.dallasnews.com/opinion/editorials/20121218-editorial-texan-of-the-year-finalist-lance-armstrong.ece
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