It’s a testament to the effectiveness of perseverance over talent. Yes, Armstrong has a giant talent, but talent alone doesn’t do it. What sets Armstrong is that he combines his talent with working harder and more focused at winning this particular race than anyone else. You can see it when he fails to prepare properly, like for the olympics, and others beat him.
I’ve long treasured this quote from Calvin Coolidge:
Press on. Nothing can take the place of perseverance.Other notables along the same lines include Sam Walton, who talks in his book about how they knew they weren’t smarter than their competitors, so they just had to get up earlier and work harder. And they did, and it worked. And there’s Madonna and Britney, whom I also admire, and for the same reason: They’re not the most talented musicians, far from it. But they’ve compensated by working hard, and by minding the business side, and that seems to have brought them pretty darn far.
Talent will not. Nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent.
Genius will not. Unrewarded genius is almost a proverb.
Education will not. The world is full of educated derelicts.
Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.
The slogan “press on” has solved, and always will solve, the problems of the human race. (found here)
What it all boils down to is that there’s hope, even for you and me, if we’re willing to do what it takes. You can’t achieve anything you want, of course, but probably a lot more than you think. That’s what I read into the story.