Enough of the idolatry
July 31, 2009
Well before Lance Armstrong moved to Aspen, he had a fanatical following here – and just about everywhere in the United States.
A cancer survivor and seven-time winner of the Tour de France, Armstrong’s story is one that inspires the ill and motivates all kinds of athletes, from the highly paid to the weekend warriors.
That said, Armstrong is as much a “hometown boy,” as some people call him, as Ken Lay was and Barry Bonds is. Sure, his newest son was born at Aspen Valley Hospital last month, so that might make him a local by naturalization.
But Mayor Mick Ireland’s proposal to hold a “Lance Armstrong Livestrong Day” in Aspen, while well-intentioned, smacks of hypocrisy.
First, as snooty as Aspen residents are about achieving “local status,” giving Armstrong his own day seems downright disingenuous.
Second, Armstrong happens to be a second-home owner from Texas. Now maybe we’re going out on a limb here, but it seems that some “locals” have a problem with second-home owners from the Lone Star State.
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Somehow, however, that bit of trivia is overlooked in Aspen’s worship of its “hometown boy.”
Make no mistake, we think it’s pretty cool that Armstrong spent countless hours cycling area roads in his preparation for this year’s Tour de France, in which he finished third on Sunday.
But we also agree with City Councilman Steve Skadron’s assertion that this would look as if Aspen is attempting to exploit Armstrong’s celebrity.
There are others who also contribute mightily to our community – be them police officers, firefighters, teachers, doctors, you name it. These people make the town tick, not Armstrong, he of part-time residential status of about one year.
While it has been an enjoyable ride watching Armstrong train in Aspen and pull off an admirable performance in France, it’s time to slam the brakes on this idea while preserving whatever integrity is left.
This ride is one Aspen should not take.