'What are you on?'
Armstrong proves there is no way around hard work
Posted: Tuesday January 04, 2000 09:14 PM
Lance Armstrong thinks his commercial will send a positive message to the public about professional athletes. AP
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) -- Lance Armstrong says he likes his latest commercial because it carries an anti-doping message as well as a glimpse of his training regimen.
In the 30-second Nike ad, Armstrong, who overcame cancer to win the Tour de France, stresses hard work and dedication: "Everybody wants to know what I am on. What am I on? I'm on my bike ... six hours a day. What are you on?'"
"It really was very real and very authentic," Armstrong said of the ad, which began airing Tuesday. "It did not require a lot of acting."
The commercial shows Armstrong riding through the rain, weighing his food and working out on a stationary bike with diodes on his chest and back.
It also shows Armstrong riding in a wind tunnel, perfecting his form. Not all professional cyclists do such high-tech training, but Armstrong said he has been in the tunnel twice since January.
Allegations of steroid use in the French media dogged Armstrong during the race because a urine test detected traces of steroids from a skin cream he used. The International Cycling Union issued a statement during the Tour clearing him. Officials said cyclists could use the cream if a doctor had prescribed it.
Despite the commercial's message, Armstrong has few illusions that it will dispel the allegations of drug use that have followed him since the Tour.
"Of course not," he said. "We are talking about the French here."
Armstrong said he hopes that the good character of cyclists and other professional athletes can clear the cloudy reputation of professional sports.
"We just have to ride it out and show that we are clean, hardworking guys," he said. In early 1996, Armstrong represented the United States in the Atlanta Olympics. He signed an endorsement contract with Nike and joined the prestigious French cycling team, Cofidis.
That fall, Armstrong was diagnosed with testicular cancer that spread to his abdomen, lungs and brain. Doctors gave him a 50-percent chance to live. Armstrong recovered and by 1999 was racing with the United States Postal Service team.
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