Lance Armstrong speaks for first time in Austin since losing Tour titles

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by QUITA CULPEPPER / KVUE News and photojournalist SCOTT MCKENNEY

kvue.com

Posted on September 13, 2012 at 6:30 PM

Updated Thursday, Sep 13 at 6:41 PM

AUSTIN -- For the first time since he was stripped of his Tour De France titles, Lance Armstrong spoke in Austin.

His recent troubles with the United States Anti-Doping Agency and losing his Tour de France titles wasn't on the minds of his audience.
 
At the Sunbelt Builders Trade Show, Armstrong took the stage to a standing ovation.
 
“I'm a cancer survivor. I'm a father of five. I'm a native Texan. I'm the founder of LiveStrong, and I won the Tour de France seven times,” Armstrong said. “I used that introduction in Montreal a few weeks ago at the World Cancer Congress, and it just didn't go over the same as a room full of Texans.”
 
His speech at the Austin Convention Center wasn't about his fight to keep his racing titles. 
 
“I was diagnosed with testicular cancer, which is obviously something you don't run out and tell the entire world about,” Armstrong said.
 
He told the crowd he decided the entire world should know and explained that's how in 2004, LiveStrong was born.
 
“Whether you're black, white or Hispanic, or whether you have insurance or you don't, or whether you're educated or you're not, or you're Democrat or Republican, it doesn't matter,” Armstrong said. “This disease doesn't care who you are, what you're beliefs are, what you're religion is. I have a tremendous amount of respect for the disease, but I do not, I refuse to live in fear.”
 
Those who heard Armstrong's speech about his cancer battle say Tour titles or not, he's a role model to be proud of.
 
Since LiveStrong started in 2004, the organization has sold more than 84 million of their signature yellow bracelets.

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