No matter which camp you reside, lover or hater of Lance Armstrong, there is no denying his impact on the sport of Triathlon. Not only on the podium, and the attention to the professional ranks, but the exposure he brings to the races themselves. Media flocked to Panama to see Lance, then to Galveston, and now the media is here at the St. Croix 70.3 Ironman thanks to Lance. The additional attention is great for the communities in which we race. More exposure on smaller, but epic, races is much needed for race directors to continue to bring us great racing experiences. And, btw, from what I’ve seen of the course and the feedback from those whom have raced it, this is an epic Ironman race. Beautiful swim, technical and tactical bike with lots of ups and downs and one Beast of an up, and a beautiful but challenging run. It’s now on my list.
But I digress; I’m writing this to thank Lance. Often we focus on the wrong headlines. Tweets and Facebook posts shouldn’t make national news. What should, with more frequency, is the good that people do, not the bad or controversial. Regardless of your view of Lance and your opinion of him entering our sport, which was probably his before it was most of ours (being he raced here back in 1988), I’d like us to consider something that became clear to me this week.
Last night the Buccaneer hosted an athlete’s reception. The Pros, media, St. Croix government, and other prominent local citizens attended the reception. This is the first athlete reception I’ve attended where a Governor attended, obviously part of the Lance Effect. I attended, but did not get a chance to speak with Lance. He was one of the first to arrive and was immediately hit up for questions and photo opportunities. He was very gracious with his time, taking moments to speak with each person that came up to him, signing books, helmets, and taking snap shot after snap shot with fans.
Certainly this was not something he had to do. Actually, the truth is Lance doesn’t have to do anything. He can fly in to race and not speak to anyone, go out there, do his thing, and jump back on a plane. But he elects to make an impact, not for himself but for others. Over the past week he participated in Bo Bikes Bama to raise money for tornado ravaged communities in Alabama, then off to Duel in the Pool to raise money for teenagers with cancer, and now down here to race St. Croix.
He’s gracious with his most precious commodity, his time.
If I had had the opportunity to speak with him last night I simply would have said,