We definitely did a double take when we saw that Dallas Morning News, one of the state's leading newspapers, had nominated Lance Armstrong for Texan of the Year. Twenty-six million candidates, and Lance was the best they could come up with? we thought.
But then we read this line: "...the Armstrong brand will forever be that of a fighter, a survivor and a cunning, steely-eyed liar," and decided to take a closer look. You see, Texan of the Year is bestowed for impact; based, as the paper says, on "the prominence of what Texans do, not what we'd prefer them to do."
The nomination editorial details Armstrong's rise to athletic prominence as a teenage triathlete in Plano, Tex., his harrowing battle with cancer and the seven consecutive Tour de France titles that helped him rally cancer survivors everywhere into believing that the disease is life-changing, but not life-destroying.
As we all know by now, though, Lance's legend came to an end in 2012. “This year came the epic fall, a legacy imploded in weeks," the paper wrote in its editorial. "The head of the U.S. anti-doping agency revealed him as a serial cheat, the enforcer of 'the most sophisticated, professionalized and successful doping program that sport has ever seen.' Sponsors abandoned Armstrong. Nike said he misled the company for a decade."
“Armstrong’s crash to Earth in 2012, with all its painful reverberations, leaves a Texas-size crater that qualifies him as a finalist for this year’s distinction. His fall wasn’t pleasant to behold,” the newspaper said, “If nothing else, it’s a lesson about the perils of hero worship.”
And you'll be happy to hear this is one race Lance didn't win, infamous or not. In the end, Texan of the Year was shared by exonerated convicts Christopher Scott and Michael Morton, who are fighting to fix the Lone Star State's flawed justice system.