Lance Armstrong to Compete in Haines City Ironman 70.3
Posted on February 10th, 2012 by Kris Keprios
While all of Polk County was already excited about hosting an Ironman 70.3 Florida event in May, the excitement has now built to a fever pitch as it was announced today that one of the participants in the event is one of the most well known athletes in the world. The Lance Armstrong Foundation announced today a new partnership with Ironman to help raise more than $1 million for people affected by cancer. Lance Armstrong, cancer survivor, champion cyclist and the Foundation’s founder and chairman, will compete as a professional athlete in several Ironman and Ironman 70.3 races, including Ironman 70.3 Florida, held at Lake Eva Park in Haines City. Haines City will host the Ironman 70.3 event May 20, after the event was recruited to Polk County by Polk County Tourism and Sports Marketing in 2011. The event will be held annually in Haines City through 2016. Also part of the weekend will be the IronKids Florida event that will take place on Saturday, May 19, also held at Lake Eva Park in Haines City. The IronKids Florida event features a swim in Lake Eva, out-and-back bike course and finish with a run through Lake Eva Park and is for children ages six to 15 who compete in different divisions.
Other races Armstrong will participate in throughout the world include: Ironman 70.3 Panama, Memorial Hermann Ironman 70.3 Texas, Ironman 70.3 Hawaii and Ironman France. Armstrong is racing with the goal of qualifying for the Ironman World Championship in Kailua-Kona, Hawai’i, on Oct. 13, 2012, and will be competing as a member of Team LIVESTRONG, which is adding these Ironman and Ironman 70.3 races to its endurance events series designed to raise funds for people affected by cancer. “I am grateful to Ironman for partnering with LIVESTRONG to raise funds and awareness for people affected by cancer,” said Armstrong. “In my career as an athlete and as a cancer advocate, I’ve learned that progress demands partnership, but it’s not without a struggle. And that’s what Team LIVESTRONG is about – it’s about purpose; it’s about challenge and it’s about empowering survivors to fight like hell. There’s progress to be made with cancer and we invite anyone up for the challenge to join Team LIVESTRONG.
“At 13 years old, Lance got his start in triathlon by racing in the IronKids Series,” said Andrew Messick, Chief Executive Officer of World Triathlon Corporation. “At 16 years old, he went pro and was considered a star in our sport. At only 18, he was racing against the best triathletes in the world: Mark Allen, Dave Scott and Scott Molina. We are happy to have him return to our sport. Lance is a fierce competitor and his involvement with Ironman and Ironman 70.3 is good for triathlon.”
“Lance’s involvement at perhaps the toughest one-day event in all of sport sheds light on what surviving cancer can mean to millions around the world,” said Scott Tinley, two-time Ironman World Champion and Ironman Hall of Fame Inductee. “I remember Lance as a determined kid who channeled that competitive spirit into an amazing career as a cyclist, survivor and advocate for survivors of a horrible disease. A partnership between LIVESTRONG and Ironman will further improve the lives of people affected by cancer. People need to realize that Lance’s foundation represents the use of sport to improve our world. There are only positive things that can come from having Lance join the Ironman family.”
“It is exciting to see Lance Armstrong, one of the greatest-ever endurance athletes, coming back to race triathlons in 2012,” said Craig Alexander, three-time Ironman World Champion and two-time Ironman 70.3 World Champion.
“Lance is an exceptional athlete; he’s the type of person who wants to excel and be the best at whatever he puts his mind to,” said Chris Lieto, multiple Ironman and Ironman 70.3 champion. “I’m excited to see how his participation in our sport will draw attention to what it takes to be a triathlete and how challenging it can be. It will definitely bring triathlon more into the mainstream and I know pro athletes, including myself, will look forward to racing with him at future events.”