In 1996, the then 25-year-old US cyclist Lance Armstrong was diagnosed with testicular cancer, which also spread to the brain, lungs, and abdomen. The doctors give little hope to Armstrong. Nevertheless, he won the Tour de France seven times in a row from 1999 to 2005. After years of denial, he admits in 2013 to have been doped. All of his titles are deleted.
Mario Lemieux is considered one of the best ice hockey players of all time. In 915 NHL season games, he scored 1723 points. In early 1993 he was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma. After two months of aggressive radiation therapy for lymph node cancer, Lemieux returns to the ice. In the first game, he scored a goal and an assist. He played another eight NHL seasons.
Edna Campbell is a celebrated US basketball player when she is diagnosed with breast cancer. However, she continues to play – for the Sacramento Monarchs, three other WNBA clubs, and the US team – and becomes a symbol in the fight against breast cancer. In 2005, Campbell ended her career, became a nurse, and founded Breathe and Stretch, a program for breast cancer survivors.
In 2006 baseball star Jon Lester, the pitcher of the Boston Red Sox was diagnosed with anaplastic large cell lymphoma. Lester is undergoing chemotherapy for the tumor. In 2007 he made his comeback at the Red Sox and won the World Series. The following year he succeeded in the rare feat of a no-hitter: in an entire game, he did not allow the opponent to strike.
Testicular cancer was discovered in cricket player Matthew Waade at the age of 16. After two chemotherapies, he is considered cured – and starts his international career. The left-hander plays at numerous major events for the Australian national team.
Novlene Williams-Mills (left) wins silver at the 2012 Olympics with the 4×400-meter relay in Jamaica – even though she was previously diagnosed with breast cancer. After the games in London, she undergoes a mastectomy. Breast tissue affected by cancer is removed. Even after that, she celebrates success with the Jamaican relay: World Cup Gold 2015 in Beijing, Olympic Silver 2016 in Rio.
A routine drug test leads to testicular cancer being detected in Eintracht’s Frankfurt defender Marco Russ in May 2016. After his cancer treatment, Russ returned to the pitch in February 2017: as a substitute in the DFB Cup quarter-final against Arminia Bielefeld (1-0). In May 2018, Russ became Eintracht after a 3-1 win against FC Bayern Cup winners.
In 2010, 3000-meter obstacle runner Antje Möldner-Schmidt was diagnosed with lymphatic cancer. Chemotherapy and radiation follow. At the German Championships 2011, she returns to the competition – and is fourth straight away. At the European Championships 2012, she won silver, 2014 EM gold. In January 2020, Möldner-Schmidt announced their retirement from competitive sports.
Former international player Heiko Herrlich was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor in autumn 2000. After successful radiation therapy, he celebrates his comeback a year later. But the striker, who scored 74 goals in 257 league appearances for Leverkusen, Mönchengladbach, and Dortmund, will never find his way back to his former form. In 2004 he gave up his soccer shoes and became a coach.
At the end of 2015, football professional James Conner was diagnosed with lymphatic cancer. After successful chemotherapy, the running back can continue his career half a year later. Conner is currently playing in the NFL for the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Benjamin Köhler has earned his living as a professional football player for 17 years, nine of which at Eintracht Frankfurt. After moving to 1. FC Union Berlin, he was diagnosed with stomach cancer in early 2015. After chemotherapy, Köhler was declared cancer-free six months later and continued to play football until the end of his career in 2017. Today Köhler runs an ice cream parlor in Berlin.
Center-back Max Taylor is one of the most hopeful talents of the traditional football club Manchester United. At the age of 18, he signed his first professional contract. Then the diagnosis: testicular cancer. Taylor undergoes surgery and undergoes chemotherapy. A year after the diagnosis, he started training again.
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