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Lance Armstrong's feat among best in sports

SPECIAL TO ESPN.COM

July 27, 2005
It is so difficult to win anything seven times in a row. I don't care if it's playing cards with your friends or relatives! What Lance Armstrong accomplished recently by winning his seventh straight Tour de France is amazing.

To do that with a healthy body is incredible. To think what Armstrong has been through in his battle against cancer, beating the dreaded disease after finding out at one point it had spread to his abdomen, lungs and brain ... he had no quit in him.

Lance Armstrong embodies all the things that are right about sports.
Coaches often say a quitter never wins and a winner never quits. When the going gets tough, the tough get going. These clichés are so true when talking about Armstrong and his remarkable success in an event that is so grueling and challenging.

I don't know him, but I wish I did. I wish I had met Pat Tillman as well, but unfortunately he lost his life in a battle to bring honor to the country he represented, the land of the red, white and blue.

When I go on the road to various speaking engagements, I talk about doing the right thing in life. Lance Armstrong embodies all the things that are right about sports.

I also work with the Jimmy V Foundation to raise dollars in the fight against cancer. Every cancer patient should be inspired by what Armstrong has achieved. When you think positively, have faith and believe, and have a support system around you, there is a chance.

When I think about great runs and achievements, I think about the Celtics, Michael Jordan and the Bulls, the great Yankee teams, UCLA under John Wooden ... and seven in a row by Armstrong. The great cyclist's feat is right up there.

Armstrong is a true CHAMP -- C for courage, H for health, A for attitude, M for mental toughness, P for pride.


I went to the see the Red Sox face the Devil Rays on Monday night, and I took Rick and Jane Nowak from Connecticut to the game. They were the high bidders at a Make-A-Wish charity dinner and auction earlier this year. I had a great time with them, as the game was a thriller, ending in 10 innings with the Devil Rays winning.

The Nowaks had a great time; they got to meet Red Sox manager Terry Francona, got a few signed baseballs from the Red Sox and Devil Rays, and their names were put on the scoreboard.

It was a great night raising money for a great cause, the Make-A-Wish Foundation. The group takes care of youngsters in their time of need.

That's what Armstrong's approach to life is all about, as well.

Dick Vitale coached the Detroit Pistons and the University of Detroit before broadcasting ESPN's first college basketball game in 1979. Send a question to Vitale for possible use on ESPNEWS.

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