Many of those captured by Lance’s story were people who like Lance, were fighting cancer – cancer in their bodies, cancer in the bodies of family and friends. Fighting to win – to win those victories in a race that they had not voluntarily joined, a race that they had not freely signed up for. So Lance won them over and they were won over to appreciate their victories – not victories of being the first over the Alps, not riding through the gauntlet of spectators as you climb the Col du Tourmalet in the Pyrenees, not getting through 21 days of mostly 4+ hours a day of rigorous racing. No, their victory was getting over the hump of comprehending the cancer race that stood before them, the victory of passing through a gauntlet of doctors, hospitals and tests with humor and poise in tack, the victory of getting through days and weeks and months of rigorous chemotherapy – often, one day at a time. Yes, many were inspired to battle for these victories as they met the next stage on the course that so often looked nothing like the pre-race description. And, yes, these cancer racers shared their winning with family and friends who were there to cheer them on wherever they found themselves on the course.
Race officials will take away the biking victories from Lance Armstrong – his legacy will not be the same after the fall of 2012. Lance might even have a ‘come to Jesus moment’ and understand the underside of Lombardi’s quote and accept the gracious truth that “winning isn’t everything”. But, let us hope that those in the cancer race will not be deflected by Lance’s detour, and will hold on to their victories along their ways, graciously understanding the many dimensions of winning. It’s not about the bike!