July 27, 2004
US vs. Them: The tiresome conventional wisdom on Armstrong
Susan Daniels checks in with a quick review of international coverage of Lance Armstrong's 6th Tour de France victory. She pulls four stories out of hundreds that she accuses of "sour grapes," explaining that with:
"Maybe it's not national but personal," speculated Alastair Campbell in the London Times. "[A]nti-Armstrongism, anti the fact that he keeps winning their game. They respect him. They admire the way he came back from cancer. They see in him a strong character who has devoted his life to their Tour. But Chirac's France wants French winners and, if it can't have them, other Europeans. But Americans? Non, merci."
I think this whole line, which I've heard repeated a lot over the last 3 weeks, is total, 100% hokum. There are many Americans looking for reasons to be pissed at the French right now, and they'll happily hoot and holler about what a fine stomping Lance Armstrong gave those Frogs, wooooooiiieeee!
As far as I can tell, French attitudes to Armstrong are as complex and nuanced as American fan reactions to baseball stars or other athletes. Nobody hates Roger Clemens because he's from Texas; if they do, it may because of his tantrum with Mike Piazza, or because he swiped a Cy Young from a pitcher they were pulling for.
If a French cycling fan wants to boo Armstrong because they think it's time for new blood in the race, well that's part of sports, and doesn't really mean squat in the geopolitical milieu.
“If a French cycling fan wants to boo Armstrong because they think it's time for new blood in the race, well that's part of sports, and doesn't really mean squat in the geopolitical milieu.”
Posted by: scott at Jul 28, 2004 11:23:50 AM