Bodies, narratives, selves, and autobiography: The example of Lance Armstrong

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This article focuses on Lance Armstrong’s autobiography titled It’s Not About the Bike: My Journey Back to Life. From a perspective informed by autobiographical studies and the sociology of the body and illness, insights are provided into a variety of bodies, selves, and narratives that circulate within the text.The case ismade that early in his sporting career,Armstrong develops a disciplined and dominating body that has an elective affinity for the cyborg narrative.On being diagnosed with cancer, these ideal body types lead him toward a restitution narrative.The illness experience,however,pro- vides an opportunity for a communicative body to emerge that links him to a quest narrative. On returning to elite sport, former body-self relation- ships are restored and foregrounded. Issues are raised regarding the cul- tural shaping of Armstrong’s autobiography, and its form and content are problematized.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Autobiography
  • Bodies
  • Illness
  • Lance Armstrong
  • Narratives
  • Quest
  • Restitution
  • Selves

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  • Andrew C. Sparkes

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