Carolyn Sackariason
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado

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July 29, 2009
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'Lance Armstrong Livestrong Day' in Aspen gains strength

ASPEN, Colorado - Lance Armstrong may have his day in Aspen after all.

Although there was dissension among Aspen City Council members Monday regarding Mayor Mick Ireland's suggestion that the community honor the seven-time Tour de France winner and cancer survivor with a proclaimed day, others said they like the idea.

Ireland told the Aspen Chamber Resort Association board of directors Tuesday that he was taken aback by the reaction of City Council members Dwayne Romero and Steve Skadron, who didn't want a dedicated "Lance Armstrong Livestrong Day." Skadron thought Armstrong should be left alone and allow him to have his privacy, and Romero wanted to focus on local efforts like Ride the Cure.

"I was surprised there wasn't more support for it," he said, adding as a celebrity, Armstrong has done amazing outreach with his cancer awareness foundation, Livestrong, and his achievements as an athlete should not go unnoticed in Aspen, where he has been a part-time resident since 2008.

"It's refreshing to see a guy that would go out and do something like this without getting paid for it, and it's something that I think kids should look up to him for," Ireland said.

And because Aspen has a long tradition of cycling, honoring Armstrong is appropriate, he said.

Several ACRA board members agreed, including Pitkin County Commissioner Michael Owsley, who said he would bring the suggestion of a Lance Armstrong Livestrong Day to his board.

Cristal Logan, the board's nonprofit representative who works at The Aspen Institute, said she has been in contact with Armstrong in recent months and has invited him to speak at a lecture/conversation format at the campus open to the entire community.

"He has graciously accepted," she said, adding she's hoping for an event in August. "We would love to honor him and all of his work with cancer research and treatment."

That appearance may parlay into a city-wide event that Ireland envisions to involve a proclamation, a short bike race with kids and adults, and a community bike ride downtown with Armstrong leading the way.

"It's a pretty cheap thing to do and it's fun," Ireland said. "Whatever happened to having fun?"

ACRA board member Bobbie Burkley said she supports the idea and it would likely be more well-received if it was just called "Livestrong Day."

David Perry, senior vice president of the Aspen Skiing Co., also supports the idea because of Armstrong's extraordinary push for cancer awareness and who he is.

"I don't care too much about celebrities, but when I see Lance Armstrong I get excited," Perry said, noting one of the last weekends Highlands was open he saw Armstrong near the ZG Grill waiting for his kids to get released from ski school.

"He's a great ambassador for the community."

But the conversation might be much ado about nothing. Ireland said during a work session Tuesday evening that an e-mail from Armstrong had been received, saying he thanked the community for supporting him and that he wants to take some time off.

csack@aspentimes.com


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The Aspen Times Updated Jul 29, 2009 10:23AM Published Jul 29, 2009 10:21AM Copyright 2009 The Aspen Times. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.