Student Work – Laurent Fignon

Laurent Fignon by Yolanda J. Chatham

On Tuesday, August 31, 2010, French cyclist, Laurent Fignon died of cancer at age 50.  Laurent Fignon was a famous Paris cyclist who gained notoriety for his two consecutive victories of the Tour De France Bicycle Race.  See, Laurent Fignon, Tour De France Winner, Dies at 50, Samuel ADT, N.Y. Times, August 31, 2010, Obituary Section.

Laurent Fignon’s first victory in 1983 was accomplished before he reached the age of 23.  It was especially gratifying for him because he won against his physically struggling team leader, Bernard Hinault.  This victory was also the beginning of his personality change.  Laurent Fignon was once recognized as the professor with the glasses.  Now he was referred to as the playboy.  He developed this representation because he spent his night hours hanging around discos, clubs and cocktail parties.  See, id.

In 1984, he once again defeated Bernard Hinault, who was now his toughest rival.  After this victory, another personality trait developed.  Mr. Fignon became arrogant and expressed cruelty toward media personnel.  He would often steal all the attention from his hardworking team mates.  See, id.

The race that he would best be known for was the one he lost in 1989 to an American cyclist, Greg LeMond.  When Mr. Fignon lost that race by such a small margin, he became enraged.  The media referred to him as a man with a personality of rage.  See, id. This behavior is not uncommon for the losing competitor to develop.  This race would not only be the end of his racing career, but will be the beginning of his new career, as a Bicycle Commentator.

Laurent Fignon went from being known as a famous young likeable cyclist to a unlikeable cyclist.  He was awarded for his new personality by receiving the “Prix Citron” award from the media. This award was symbolic of a lemon, and it was given to someone with a sour personality.  He was often described as the man who would easily strike out at photographers, and was very rude to his fans and reporters.  See, id.

Overall, he recorded 76 victories, but cancer was his biggest fight.  He was receiving chemotherapy treatments with the hope of defeating the disease.  However it was to no avail.  Laurent Fignon lost his battle to lung and intestinal cancer at age 50.  See, id.

He lived as a likeable famous person, but he died as a unlike not so famous person.  Regardless of his personality, he will always be known around the world as one of the top cyclists. A representation still held.  See, Cyclist Laurent Fignon, Dies at 50, Associated Press, August 31, 2010.


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