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Building Heroes: Armstrong vs. Armstrong

Wednesday, September 19th, 2012

At the end of August, two men named Armstrong were both in the news. Neil Armstrong was mentioned because he died at the age of 82. Lance Armstrong was mentioned because of an ongoing investigation into doping during his cycling career. Very different men with completely different claims to fame and yet I’ve followed both of them with fascination.

I’m drawn to moments of individual achievement. Team sports don’t interest me. I follow things like climbing, flying, racing… activities which all have a huge support network but only one guy at the sharp end of things taking the risk and pushing for success. So here are Neil and Lance, with a shared name and personal accomplishments forty years apart. Seeing them together in a news cycle got me thinking about what makes a hero and how celebrity and success have changed.

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