Skip to comments.Individual Glory (Lance Armstrong)
Posted on 08/02/2004 5:00:23 AM PDT by jslade
What the Eurpean reaction towards Lance Armstrong's
sixth Tour de France win really means.
by Emily Berns
08/02/2004 12:00:00 AM
Munich WITNESSING THE REACTION in Old Europe to champion cyclist Lance Armstrong's record-breaking sixth Tour de France win, I was reminded of a telling scene in Chariots of Fire, the Oscar-winning movie about the 1924 British Olympic team. In it, two Cambridge University dons confront Jewish student and runner Harold Abrahams (played by Ben Cross) and accuse him of adopting a professional attitude--of striving for individual success at the expense of esprit de corps. Abrahams's restrained but angry reply includes this memorable riposte: "You yearn for victory just as I do, but achieved with the apparent effortlessness of gods."
My seat in Old Europe is in Munich, from which I watched not only Armstrong's extraordinary, awe-inspiring performance but the tangible reluctance among European observers to acknowledge it as such. After he achieved his record-breaking title, a BBC reporter went out of his way to rank the American biker below several past Tour greats. During the three-week race, rumors of drug-taking were revived by the French and others, though the five-time champion and cancer survivor had never failed a drug test. On the German TV station I watched, Armstrong's early wins in the mountains were attributed to his team members' assistance, his dominance in the two individual time trials was played down, his rivals--no matter how visibly inferior--were lavished with praise and attention while the real star was virtually ignored. When Armstrong snatched a last-second victory from a German biker in a stage he did not need to win, a stunned German commentator struggled for words to describe the Texan. "He's so . . . ambitious," he said finally, echoing the Cambridge dons' distaste.
There is another thread that connects these two stories. Harold Abrahams's critics were classic anti-Semites of the upper-class British variety, who regarded the Jewish runner's single-mindedness and intensity as the hallmarks of a "tradesman"--in other words, a Jew. Lance Armstrong's European critics--even if they are not overtly anti-American--resent even more than his dominance of what has traditionally been a European sport his very American style of success. He trains too hard for them, plans too carefully, strives too relentlessly. He does not wear his talent lightly or camouflage his intense desire to win. Success at any price, they imply, just as Abrahams' critics accused him of abandoning the ideals of an amateur in "a headlong pursuit of individual glory."
On one point, at least, Armstrong's European critics are right. Striving for success, like following one's dream, is a quintessentially American trait. Taken together, the two have made millionaire moguls of uneducated immigrants, powerful politicians of low-born nobodies, world-famous inventors of basement tinkerers, and great sports champions of disadvantaged youths like Armstrong. The natural home for ambitious dreamers, whatever their nationality, remains the United States.
(Excerpt) Read more at weeklystandard.com ...
Everybody hates a winner (in Europe).
Ain't it the truth.
Good article, worth a bump or two. I watched almost every day and was blown away by the blue train, and Lance Armstrong.
Maybe they should change the Tour rules, so that everyobdy wins at the end.
That way the "ambitious" can't "take advantage" of others.
Wouldn't that be so EGALITARIAN. Just like the Euroweenies.
Another good one.
Ask Bill Gates. He and Armstrong have a lot in common, namely, the scorn of green-eyed people.
I lost all respect for Lance Armstrong after he left his wife for a celebrity.
years ago a tennis player from Australia told me that their ranking and club jobs system is rigged for being an insider- being good is not enough-YOU MUST JOIN THE PARTY. If this is still true, only a few countries-cities in the world really have a respect for doing YOUR best.
France --> Perm 5, and a bicycle race.
Do you know why? I so elucidate.
Except that he didn't. Armstrong and his ex-wife had an amicable divorce when they disagreed over whether Armstrong should continue competitive cycling (she didn't want to deal with the long season away from home, he didn't want to give up his career). The two are still on very good terms.
Armstrong didn't hook up with Ms. Crow until after the divorce.
Heard a rumor that the missus was tired of all the travelling and time apart. Lance trains in europe as most of the pro tour does. Can't say I'm pleased with his choice of partner, but not my business.
Go Lance go! SEVEN in a row!
Thanks... I'll ping the TDF list! :-)
Please FReepmail me if you want on or off my Tour de France 2004 list. *Warning: This may be a high-volume ping list at times during July 2004.
This past Tour was a display of teamwork in every aspect. The only individual aspect was the final win.