What a coincidence… two people with the same surname made news in those last couple of days. Neil Armstrong (the strong arm) has died. He made history by being the first man on the moon, my generation most likely saw him live on tv when he was making those famous steps and we all listened to his now famous words. True, he rode to the moon with help of an army of engineers and he was not alone in the craft, but he was the first. We made him a symbol, we simplified things for ourselves by giving an individual human name to a great team achievement. The era they started is by no means over, just look at the Curiosity landing on Mars. The era lives on and it is an era full of heroics we may not even know about. Most of it we owe to people like Neil.
The second arm, Mr. Lance Armstrong, was not that strong, albeit in one regard we know about – the competitive bike races. He did conquer cancer, which in itself is a great victory, especially for him. But he failed us in all what we loved him for – the endurance, the victories, the mastery of the sport. We simplified things and held him for a hero, victorious over his disease and other competitors. With him the era of cycling has ended. He did his sport great damage, he spat in the faces of all those who took him for their example and fought on without doping. He made them all a joke. I am not a cyclist, I actually disrespect that sport already for a while, admittedly generalizing a bit. It doesn’t really matter that we (corporations, spectators) may have something to do with its demise. Cyclists make their choices themselves. Apparently a lot of them chose wrong. Lance definitely chose wrong. I just hope that the shadow of his actions will not fall over other sports. Let us keep them clean and praise those, who fight with themselves and their weaknesses without help of modern chemistry.