When it comes to sport there is no greater force than the power of one.

This reality has been made plain by the recent odysseys of more than one superstar.

Roger Federer’s triumph over Andy Roddick at Wimbledon was a match for the ages.

The immovable force prevailed over the challenger in spite of the latter serving up rockets, which screamed across centre court. The thrill of the grass resulted in a marathon with Federer emerging as the most prolific male tennis player of all time.

To watch his journey on that day was mesmerizing — the talk around millions of water coolers the next morning.

And then there is our relentless fascination with Tiger Woods.

Golf’s sparkling savant has us transfixed. The television networks are glued to his every move, even in the rare case he is not in contention. We, the fans, never tire of dissecting his every approach and tricky putt.

If we are not watching Woods, it would seem, we are not really watching the tournament at all. We are all collectively the moths to his brilliant flame.

Which brings us to the resilient Lance Armstrong.

At 37 years of age, Armstrong has returned to the Tour de France and in spite of the cloudy suspicion surrounding his magnificent past, he rides on in plain sight. Once again, Armstrong is challenging for the lead in one of the most gruelling tests sport has to offer.

It is a must to check on Armstrong’s progress every day although few of us would cast a second glance cycling’s way in his absence. His is just that compelling a story.

This is the stuff of legend and, throughout time, sport has been dominated by these solitary, spectacular figures.

Muhammad Ali, Jack Nicklaus and Usain Bolt have all been in that category. They are icons commanding our rapture just as Federer, Woods and Armstrong have.

It is our fascination with the outer limits of human achievement.

While we all like to think of ourselves as good team players what we truly aspire to be is an individual superstar just like them.

– Scott Russell is the Host of CBC Sports Weekend seen Saturday afternoons. He has covered professional and amateur sports including nine Olympic games and numerous world championships.

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