What Roger Federer is to tennis is everything Lance Armstrong hoped to be for cycling.
Armstrong inspired millions, maybe even more, with his dominance over the sport of cycling. He helped bring the sport into mainstream American culture with a combination of passion, love and defeating adversity.
He was a true champion of the American dream.
The result of Armstrong's recent confession to using performance-enhancing drugs sent shock waves through society.
The implications of his epic collapse don't fall lightly on the Swiss tennis giant (per NBC Sports):
"Obviously he's hurt his sport in a big way, even though he helped it in the beginning. But now the burden they live under, all other sports maybe as well," Federer said, according to Dennis Passa of AP Sports.
Armstrong's surviving of cancer and continuing to defy the odds by perpetuating his stranglehold over the sport helped spark a movement.
Livestrong wasn’t just about cycling or a foundation that helped raise awareness and financial aid for those unfortunate people battling cancer around the globe.
It was a movement that spread like wildfire throughout the world, thanks to the inspiration invoked by Armstrong’s inspirational recovery. It stood for purity and goodness, things its founder didn't adhere to.
There may not be a movement that has resulted from Federer’s dominance over the game of tennis for the past decade, but there could be.
Fed-Ex has become the cornerstone of his respective game, setting the bar for all future generations and surpassing the greats that preceded him.
I, for one, have taken a larger interest in the sport thanks to the remarkable story of Federer’s rise to the top.
No matter what your interests are, there is a common ground that helps us all recognize and appreciate the ability of someone to reach legendary status in sport.
That applies whether it is Armstrong or Federer.
Both of these men captivated millions with their dominance and rule over their own expertise. Armstrong's fall from grace has tarnished everything that he helped build for himself and for his sport.
It doesn’t matter what you do in life, as long as you give everything you have to something—and do it honestly.
Federer’s lesson should be echoed throughout society in an age where pressure to perform and excel dictates and changes our morals and behavior.
Winning is important, but doing it under false pretense and losing yourself in the process just isn’t worth it.