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Home Reviews Book Reviews What does it take to be the world's greatest champion?

What does it take to be the world's greatest champion?

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Lance: The Making of the World’s Greatest Champion
By John Wilcockson
DeCapo Press - June 2009
369 pages - $26 - Five out of five stars
John Wilcockson’s book, “Lance: The Making of the World’s Greatest Champion,”  currently among amazon.com’s top 20 in outdoors, biographies and sports categories, takes a close look at the events and people who shaped and influenced Armstrong, a young man growing up in Plano.

“If Lance hadn’t befriended me and Chann [McRae], who weren’t into football and baseball and stuff ... there’s no way he’d have ever become a runner, or a cyclist, or a swimmer – not where we lived. It’s Texas,” says Adam Wilk, a triathlete and one of Lance’s longtime friends who Wilcockson interviewed for the book.

Wilcockson spent time with Terry Armstrong, Lance’s step-father, who is mentioned only in passing in other Armstrong books. The author also talked to Armstrong’s paternal grandmother, Willene Gunderson, about Lance’s very early years.

The book also revisits Armstrong’s battle with testicular cancer that had spread to his abdomen, lungs and brain – a battle made even more remarkable because he recovered from “one of the most advanced cases of cancer that anyone has overcome,” according to Dr. Jim Reeves, Armstrong’s urologist.

For casual fans, the book explains how a scrappy kid from Plano grew up to be a seven-time champion in a sport that had nothing to do with touchdowns, forward passes or field goals.

For cycling fans, the book is icing on the cake, giving fresh voices to the wonder that is Lance Armstrong – cancer survivor, cycling champion, father and philanthropist.

 

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