When he was 13, Armstrong won the Kids Iron Triathlon, an event combining swimming, biking, and running. He later began entering triathlons for money, winning $20,000 when he was 15. As a high school senior Armstrong qualified to train with the U.S. Olympic team. He later made cycling his sport. In 1993 he won ten titles and was called the “Golden Boy of American Cycling.” By 1996 Armstrong was the top-ranked cyclist in the world. But later that year, he was diagnosed with cancer and forced to undergo three operations and chemotherapy. The treatment was ultimately successful, and Armstrong became a powerful advocate for cancer research. He founded the Lance Armstrong Foundation to promote cancer research and awareness, and wrote the best-selling book It's Not About the Bike: My Journey Back to Life.
In 1998, Armstrong married Kristin Richard of Austin, Tex. They have a son and twin daughters, but they divorced in Dec. 2003. In 1996, he returned to racing, winning the Tour de Luxembourg, the Rheinland-Pfalz Rundfarht in Germany, and the Cascade Classic in Oregon. He took fourth place in both the World Championships in Holland and the Tour de Spain. He won a bronze medal at the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, Australia. In 1999 Armstrong was the surprise winner of the grueling Tour de France, which winds through the Alps. He won the race again in 2000, 2001, and 2002 to become the first American to win four Tours. He then won again in 2003 for five consecutive wins in the Tour de France, and in 2004 he became the first cyclist to take the Tour for six straight victories. He announced his retirement after his seventh consecutive Tour de France win in 2005.
See also Lance Armstrong page.