July 19, 2006


Floyd Landis: The next great U.S. cycling hero? (Andrew Vontz, 7/18/06, FOXSports.com)

The ancient Greeks had some odd habits, but many of their life lessons continue to resonate today. Take, for example, the concept of pathos-mathos, or wisdom through suffering. The Greeks were a real lemons-into-lemonade bunch and believed that adversity existed so that humans could learn from it and push themselves to a higher state of consciousness and achievement.

American Floyd Landis, the current leader of the Tour de France, is clearly not an ancient Greek, but he does have a busted right hip in need of replacement pronto. During the Tour's first rest day, Landis let the world know that for the past two years he has suffered from a condition known as osteonecrosis. The degenerative condition has crumbled the ball of his hip joint so that it no longer fits neatly into the socket, and if that weren't bad enough, arthritis has set in.

The bum hip must be replaced, but Landis has elected to continue racing because there is no medical precedent for a Tour-caliber cyclist returning to racing and staying competitive following hip replacement. The 2006 Tour may well be his last ride and in the event that it is, he's headed for retirement flat out like Thelma and Louise flooring it toward the canyon.

The condition virtually cripples Landis off the bike, but since cycling is not a weight-bearing activity and doesn't place as much strain on his hip as, say, walking or getting in and out of a car, he claims he's able to manage the pain while on the bike.

Isn't this the condition that Bo Jackson had?

Posted by Orrin Judd at July 19, 2006 12:17 AM

Such health problems are not unusual in pro athletes, especially in the endurance sports like cycling and marathoning. Their extreme training regimens are deadly.

Posted by: pj at July 19, 2006 7:32 AM

What annoys the French to no end is that if Landis should win, it will be the 11th TDF victory by an American since the last Frenchman won (Armstrong 7, LeMond 3).

And we don't even care that much.

Posted by: jeff at July 19, 2006 7:57 AM

Bo had a hip flexor problem.

Posted by: Matt Cohen at July 19, 2006 8:32 AM

NE Patriots linebacker Roosevelt Colvin, if I remember correctly, had some form of this, which was only discovered when the damaged hip broke during a (for football) routine impact.

My recollection is that they were able to rebuild, rather than replace, his hip and in a year he was playing again. Landis' condition may be different or more advanced.

Posted by: Mike Earl at July 19, 2006 8:57 AM

Bo had AVN, avascular necrosis; he got a hip replacement

Posted by: Palmcroft at July 19, 2006 9:10 AM

Fran Tarkenton had a career-ending injury to his pitching arm. But it had no effect on throwing a football or scrambling, so the rest is history.

Posted by: Bob Hawkins at July 19, 2006 10:48 AM

Landis got crushed today in the Alps on a brutal final climb. Now trails by over 8 minutes.

Posted by: Jim in Chicago at July 19, 2006 1:09 PM

Jeff: We really don't care at all. LeMond made almost no impact in the US and it was only the sheer number of wins by Armstrong (and his cancer)that got us mildly interested.

Maybe Landis if he is behind can headbutt someone. Now that would be interesting.

Posted by: Bob at July 19, 2006 1:31 PM

When I think of baseball Bo, I think of that throw he made from deep, deep in the corner to throw out the runner at home.

There's a legend about the Merry Pranksters visiting a monastery and Kesey was asked at dinner about "grace" by a monk. Kesey talked about Gayle Sayers and other athletes for a few minutes and the monk rolled his eyes or something. At which point, Neal Cassidy throws a full pitcher of cream across the room and Kesey cathces it without spilling a drop.

Posted by: Pepys at July 19, 2006 4:39 PM

I ain't no filthy hippy though.

Posted by: Pepys at July 19, 2006 4:40 PM

Nope, Floyd is out, FLG said he hit the wall yesterday, fell 10 minutes behind.

Posted by: Sandy P at July 19, 2006 7:11 PM

Interesting day today. Floyd is back in play and only 30 seconds out of first. What an amazing ride!! The man is an animal!!

Posted by: dick at July 20, 2006 4:03 PM

Hi, I have osteonecrosis or AVN for short. This is the condition that Bo had. He was one of the first athletes that was openly diagnosed with this rare disease.
Kudos to Floyd Landis because this disease is one of the most painful forms of arthritis and is commonly concurrent with osteoarthritis.
Beleive me when I say he probably suffers from agonizing pain when he attempts to walk, stand, sit , or rise from a sitting or lying position.
Unfortunately at the stage that Floyd's disease has advanced (stage 5) the only cure is a total hip replacement or THR. Although a THR is hailed as a cure for the pain and joint degeneration caused by AVN,the osteoarthritis that he is suffering from could very well continue.
In all the studies of this disease it is noted that even though an AVNer has a THR, the pain of AVN, and of osteoarthritis may persist.
However there is a 90% chance that the THR will be successful. But, let it be noted that 70-90% of people diagnosed with this unfortunate disease will have an occurence bilaterally ( in both hips.)
Mr. Landis is correct to attempt his TDF win prior to hip surgery because what can often happen is that one hip fairs well post surgically while the other may not. Sometimes the pain, such as my own, is persistent and occurs in the sweetspot of cycling, in the up and down motion. If that were to happen then Floyd Landis would have no chance of winning the Tour in the future.
I hope that Floyd Landis's surgery is successful and that he doesn't wind up on a lifetime pain med regimen. To live his pain makes him a CHAMPION in my book already. Bravo Mr. Landis. Bravo!

Posted by: Milton Harriosn at July 21, 2006 7:30 PM