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April 24, 2014

Film examines Lance Armstrong's fall

There’s nothing more heartwarming than someone overcoming impossible odds and achieving the pinnacle of success. The last thing you want is for that story to fall apart. When it happens to an icon like Lance Armstrong it’s even more difficult to accept. He is someone you’d want to admire since he was both a champion and a do-gooder. How does the public react when it all comes crashing down?

A new documentary in the library’s DVD collection, “The Armstrong Lie,” tells the tale of Armstrong’s rise and fall from glory. Filmmaker Alex Gibney was planning to make a movie of Armstrong’s return to compete in the Tour de France a couple of years after retiring. Instead, with all the fallout and his admitting to drug use his film took on a different tact.

For those that don’t know, Lance Armstrong battled back from testicular cancer to win the Tour de France cycling race seven straight years (1999-2005). It is the most famous and arduous bike race in the world. To achieve what he did after suffering through cancer treatment is as inspiring a story as you could imagine. Armstrong retired after his seventh Tour de France championship and dedicated his life to raising money for cancer research. He defined the word “hero.”

There had been rumblings for years that Armstrong was taking performance enhancing drugs, including blood doping. Many other riders were nailed with sanctions for testing positive. And it was clear the sport was riddled with corruption. With all the accusations hurled Armstrong’s way it was hard to ignore them. Although his defense was he never tested positive there are ways to mask such a result. It’s also hard to believe he could stay clean when just about everyone else was cheating.

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