America's Best Leaders: Lance Armstrong, Cyclist and Advocate

Tireless efforts on behalf of cancer survivors like himself.


Lance Armstrong

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It's rare to be so renowned in two fields that don't overlap. But Lance Armstrong is, thanks to his record seven Tour de France victories and tireless efforts, through his namesake foundation, on behalf of cancer survivors like himself. Next year, he is planning a return to pro cycling to champion cancer awareness. He spoke with U.S. News's Katherine Hobson. Excerpts:

On being a leader in two disparate fields: It's similar in that you pick the best team. One is more of a physical endeavor; the other is physical in that it takes a lot of energy to get around and make things happen, but you're not at your anaerobic threshold. The biggest key is that in cycling, you pick the best coach, the best teammates, the best equipment. Same with the foundation.

On leading by example: When you have more than a couple people—a cycling team in the Tour de France is nine riders and beyond that another 25 staff, and at the foundation we have 70 on staff—people see that. They see you working hard. They see your passion. They see your level of intellect on the issues. They see you put in tough spots that you have to work your way out of.

On whom he wants on his team: Smart people. Fun people. Honest people. Optimistic people. I have a very hard time being around pessimism and negativity. I can't ever imagine walking into a room or a meeting and saying, "Well, we can't do this." We may not do it, but damn straight, the whole time, we're going to believe we can do it.

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