Survival Stories #10: Lance Armstrong

August 4, 2009

I'm Cade Courtley, Navy SEAL and host of Spike TV’s Surviving Disaster. I've heard a lot of great survival accounts over the years.  However, these 10 individual narratives represent true self-preservation through instinct, and a never-say-die attitude.  This list is a chronicle--a testament--of what I find most impressive in defining true individual strength and human perseverance.  These few did not just lead to legend, but more important and most basic, survival.

10. Lance Armstrong
If any one person embodies the saying, “Don’t Mess with Texas,” it’s got to be Lance Armstrong, one of the most accomplished competitive road cyclists of all time. Armstrong’s career began as a tri-athlete, and in 1987 he was ranked number one in the 19-and-under USA Triathlon. He soon realized his strongest talents were in cycling, and went on to win his first Tour De France stage in 1993, as well as various other championships throughout the early ‘90s.

However, in October of 1996, things took a drastic turn when Armstrong was diagnosed with stage three testicular cancer. His condition was grave, as the cancer had already spread to his lungs and brain, and he immediately began surgery and chemotherapy, and was given less than a 50/50 chance of survival.

Despite the grim prognosis, his cancer went into complete remission in 1997, and by January of 1998, he was already back to his hardcore training regimen, determined to become a competitive racer once again. To say he was successful in that endeavor would the ultimate understatement, as he would go on to win seven Tour De France races between 1999 and 2005.

Lance returned to the Tour De France this year after four years of retirement yet still managed to take third place, racing against some riders who were the sons of men he had previously battled. Now that’s determination.

Stay tuned to as I’ll be unveiling the top 10 most inspiring survival stories one-by-one over the following weeks.


Want more? Check out Survival Story #9: Beck Weathers


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