'NO MOUNTAIN HIGH ENOUGH' Lance Armstrong's mother happy she can share story of survival, hope
By STEVE QUINN
THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS
"No Mountain High Enough: Raising Lance, Raising Me" by Linda Armstrong Kelly; Broadway ($24.95)
Linda Armstrong Kelly may always be best known as the mother of Lance Armstrong, the native Texan who won six straight Tour de France cycling races.
And she's just fine with that.
Now it's time to tell her story -- "Lance's back story," she says -- in her newly released book, "No Mountain High Enough: Raising Lance, Raising Me."
She portrays herself neither a hero for being a teenage mom who raised a world-class athlete, nor as a victim for being raised in an abusive household and having an alcoholic father.
Rather, she's a survivor who prefers to look ahead and not be held back by the past. Doing the latter might have kept her from enjoying 15 years with Ericsson Microelectronics as a global accountant.
Q.You're a daughter, mother and grandmother. What does each mean to you?
A.Being a daughter gives me great respect for being a parent and for what my parents had to go through: sacrifice, love, commitment.
Being a mother was a great training ground for the corporate experience. It was about communication and working together.
Grandmothers, we have more fun. I can go back to my silly side. I can go back to those days when I roller-skated with my son or leg wrestled with him.
Q.What did you learn most from your mom?
A.The gift of survivorship. She had to support three children and go out in the working world. She was divorced yet she put a roof over our heads, and from that I learned a lot. But from there I learned a lot from my son; he taught me laughter. It was so much fun, those days. Really, we grew up together.
Q.Part of your book places a lot of emphasis on forgiveness. Why is that so important?
A.It's difficult to forget, but you can always forgive. My father, without a doubt, proved that change was possible, even though he was not with us in our younger days and most formidable times. He said one day, 'I'm going to change my life,' and he did. Today, he is the most giving, kind, loving person that I know.
People say that they have baggage. Well, I say get over it. You don't live in the past. You live for today and tomorrow. What you did yesterday, you cannot do that over. What you do today and tomorrow is what you have to stand for -- and Daddy does that.
Q.What advice would you give a pregnant teen?
A.I think about that parent of the 16- or 17-year-old child. Immediately they find out their daughter is pregnant, and there is this sudden anxiety -- such anxiety. The first thing I want to do to that person is go up to them and say, 'Congratulations.' They need to remember it's not about them. It's about that 17-year-old daughter and the decisions she has to make.
In my case, it that saved my life, having my child at 17 years old. I learned responsibility because who else is going to take care of that child?
Q.If there is a single message you want to convey, what is it?
A.It's about believing in you. That's how I climbed the corporate ladder. And don't be afraid to ask for what you want. If you don't ask, you don't know what the answer is going to be. I've got a wide range of people to speak to: parents, single mothers, corporations, young men. My good news is, I'm only 51 and I've been through a lifetime, but I still have my voice to share my story.