Sunday, July 23, 2006


Still "Hip" To Be Americain

The French haven't had a bad month like this since 1940!

First their national football team loses -- to the Italians! To add insult to injury, national hero Zidane loses his, ahem, head and is run off in the Cup final.

And now this: For seven years, one American dominated France's signature athletic tournament. Seven years, no European could beat Lance Armstrong. Even after the fact, the French media tried to undermine Armstrong's achievement by
bringing up charges of cheating -- not even believing it when the charges were disproven.

Well, the Les Gauls must have thought -- "Now, we shall reclaim our rightful position from these barbarian Americans!"

Tant pis, Charlie, no dice.

An American stands triumphant at the Champs Elysee once again. And, despite Armstrong's legitimate achievements, in some ways, Floyd Landis's victory is even sweeter.

Not just because it is another poke in the eye to the French -- but on a personal level. Yes, Armstrong bounced back from cancer to win the Tour. But, cancer aside (yeah, that's a helluva proviso, I know), Armstrong was a physiological marvel; he was practically the human equivalent of Secretariat.

Landis, on the other hand, is basically "normal" -- for a cyclist. Yet, in truth, the Pennsylvania native is somewhat below "normal": He suffers from a degenerative arthritic hip condition that will require a hip replacement in the coming weeks. Indeed, his competive racing career may be over.

So, he had basically one last shining moment to make his mark on cycling's premiere event -- and he did it, in stunning fashion, including a strategic wipeout on the Tour's 15th stage that left him in 11th place, bouncing back the the next day with a mad dash through the Alps that wiped out 8 minutes to put him in 3rd place and in the perfect spot to win it Saturday in the time trial.

Thus, arguably, Landis had the finest singular Tour from both the human and the athletic standpoint of any one of Armstrong's wins (with the possible exception of his first in 1999).

And, again, the French are forced to sip from whine cultivated from sour grapes. Galling indeed!

Congratulations, Floyd.

UPDATE: Oh, and congrats also to Tiger Woods, as he, ho-hum, won his third British Open (second in a row) and 11th major championship! Just another day at the office for the Golden Child.

UPDATE II: Yes, I know this is played out, but, hey this is the ULTIMATE Zidane head-butt video. And the musical accompaniment is Rammstein! What more could one ask for?

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