Professional cyclist Lance Armstrong made headlines not only as one of the world's foremost athletes -- with prowess to rival almost any other individual in his chosen sport -- but for his ability to overcome a seemingly insurmountable and devastating obstacle that life thrust into his path. Born and raised in Plano, TX, Armstrong gravitated to strenuous physical activity at an early age, winning the Kids Triathlon at 13. By his late teens, he had established himself as a professional athlete; his focus and attention gravitated away from his high school studies to such a degree that he almost failed to graduate, and he began training doggedly with the U.S. Olympics Cycling Development Team. In successive years, Armstrong racked up a plethora of awards and honors that included multiple Tour de France victories, competition in the Olympics, and -- eventually -- the title of No. 1 racing cyclist in the world. Tragically, in the late '90s, Armstrong's life bottomed out when he received a diagnosis of seemingly irreversible testicular cancer that had spread to his brain and lungs. Never one to take such hardships lying down, Armstrong opted for an extreme form of chemotherapy that, astonishingly, wiped out all of the cancer and brought him back to 100%, despite a slim chance of recovery. He then continued to pursue his racing career for some time -- before retiring indefinitely -- and plunged headfirst into cancer research and social activism on the side.
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Cinematically, Armstrong also appeared in occasional features, usually cast in cameos as himself, including Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story (2004) and You, Me and Dupree (2006). In 2005, he hosted a special episode of NBC's Saturday Night Live. ~ Nathan Southern, Rovi