Lance Armstrong named in TIME Top 100 influential people

Testifies to US Senate committee about cancer May 8

Cancer survivor and seven times Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong has been named in TIME Magazine's fifth annual Top 100 list, a prestigious group of the world's most influential people, in the Heroes and Pioneers category.

Armstrong's biography was written by cancer survivor Elizabeth Edwards, wife of former US presidential candidate John Edwards. He's listed with tennis star Andre Agassi and musician Peter Gabriel, among others, based on his efforts with the Livestrong Foundation, which has raised more than US$250 million for cancer research and awareness since 1997.

On May 8, Armstrong appeared before the US Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee for a hearing called Cancer: Challenges and Opportunities in the 21st Century. To read his prepared testimony, visit this link from the Livestrong blog. A fellow witness was Elizabeth Edwards.

Armstrong and his Livestrong Foundation staff are ramping up for the second Livestrong Summit, scheduled to take place July 24-27, 2008, at the Ohio State University campus in Columbus, Ohio. The first Summit took place October 27-29, 2006, in Austin, Texas.

Through an application process, the Foundation will identify 1,000 current and potential leaders who are willing to champion the cause in their communities. 

To see the TIME Top 100 list, visit http://www.time.com/time/specials/2007/0,28757,1733748,00.html.

Banning smoking in public places

According to an AFP report, Armstrong said Thursday he has discussed banning smoking in public places across the United States with the three US presidential contenders.

"I've asked all the presidential candidates whether America should be smoke-free," he told the Senate committee hearing on how to tackle cancer. "The consensus is that it's better left to the cities and states," he said, agreeing that state- or community-level bans were 'the way to go.'

"Second-hand smoking is something I'm very passionate about," he told the committee. "I don't like to sit next to someone who's smoking in a restaurant -- I raced for 15 years in Europe and I've been around enough cigarette smoke to last me a lifetime," said Armstrong, who overcame metastisized testicular cancer to win every Tour de France from 1999 through 2005.

Since he retired from professional cycling, Armstrong has become a leading advocate in the fight to beat cancer, a disease which, he told the hearing, claims 560,000 American lives a year. Around one-third of cancer deaths are linked to smoking.

Armstrong said banning smoking, or using other means to make people never start, or kick a tobacco habit, were good preventive measures against cancer.

"We know what works in terms of cancer prevention -- targeting tobacco, sun, diet and exercise," he said. "You now have cities like New York and Austin, Texas that are smoke-free,"

Armstrong lauded, before looking to the traditionally smoke-filled pubs, cafes and bars of Europe.

"Ireland has taken steps," he said. "For God's sake, even Paris, France is smoke-free."

© BikeRadar & AFP 2008

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