Born in Dallas, Texas on September 18, 1971 Armstrong received his first bicycle as a birthday gift at age 7. Later, as the story goes, the young Armstrong would ride all day - eventually peddling all the way into Oklahoma - when he called his mother to come pick him up for the ride home. Eventually, Armstrong began entering amateur races leading up to his move to Colorado to train with the first U.S. Olympic cycling team. His first Olympic event, in 1992, earned him 14th place in the road race. A year later, he was cycling professionally, ultimately winning the World Road Race Championship in Oslo.
It was three years later when, after competing in the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, that Armstrong was first diagnosed with testicular cancer that later spread to his brain. Although only given a 40 percent chance of survival, Armstrong competed against the deadly disease - and won - going on to a triumphant victory in his first Tour de France race in 1999.
Since then, Armstrong's worldwide celebrity has served as an inspiration to millions around the world as he continues to compete in the grueling 2000-mile race through the Alps year after year.
In 2004, Armstrong took the Tour de France again for his sixth straight victory, and was named The Associated Press Male Athlete of the Year for the third year in a row.
In 2005, he easily maintained the lead throughout in his reportedly last and seventh straight victory in the 2005 Tour de France.
Armstrong had been linked romantically with singer Sheryl Crow who was often pictured at his side at the beginning of his last race in 2005.
News of their expected engagement came In September 2005, but the rock star and the seven-time Tour de France champion called off their marriage in a surprise announcment in February 2006. The marriage would have been a first for Crow and the second for Armstrong, who has three children with ex-wife Kristin.
Later in 2006, Armstrong hit the urban pavement on foot with an appearance in the New York Marathon in November, coming in under the 3 hour mark to help raise awareness for his foundation and cancer research.