Lance Armstrong, Robin Williams

Lance Armstrong remembers Robin Williams

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Robin Williams with Lance Armstrong at the 2002 Tour de France. (Getty Images)

Lance Armstrong was one of Robin Williams‘ closest friends in the sports world. The cyclist stripped of seven Tour de France titles spoke about his relationship with the late comedian Tuesday night.

“I had heard over the years that he was a fan of cycling,” Armstrong said on CNN. “So when we first starting racing the Tour [de France] and winning the Tour, he would send messages or send notes.”

Then Williams began traveling to France for the stage race, in 2002 and 2004. He rode with the man who beat testicular cancer during a rest day at the 2002 Tour, both donning U.S. Postal Service team jerseys.

Williams kept a sense of humor about Armstrong after the cyclist admitted last year to using performance-enhancing drugs during his career. Williams jokingly called Armstrong “the uniballer” on “The Daily Show” last September.

“[Williams] was always cracking jokes,” Armstrong said. “He was a special man. He was over at our house for dinner with the kids. The last great dinner I remember was a few years ago when all my kids were there. He had so many fart jokes, and he was doing all these noises. My kids were just rolling. He was so loved not just by myself, but everybody. Now we’re going to miss him.”

Armstrong said he visited Williams when the comedian was struggling to stay sober.

“I sort of lived with him through some of the previous challenges when he was sober and sort of fell off and spent some time back in therapy for that,” Armstrong said. “Life’s messy, and we all sort of found our way. This last year or so, Robin was in a place that I don’t think many people knew.”

Armstrong said some of his favorite memories were touring with Williams with United Service Organizations, entertaining troops in the Middle East and Europe over the holidays.

“To see him in front of those troops, he was their hero,” Armstrong said. “Perhaps it was a weakness of his — he could never say no. If somebody asked for something, if they needed something, he had to be somewhere, he would stretch himself so thin.

“The guy was a giver.”

Armstrong also gushed about Williams’ contributions to Livestrong.

“Any time I ever asked him to do anything for my organization, come to an event, donate something, donate a dinner, donate a bike, come do some comedy, he always, and I mean always, said yes,” Armstrong said.

Robin Williams and the Olympics

Laurie Hernandez eyes return to competition in 2018

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NEW YORK – Laurie Hernandez hardly considers her 14 months away from competitive gymnastics a break.

Since earning Olympic team gold and balance beam silver in Rio, the 17-year-old won “Dancing with the Stars,” authored a book and even enrolled in ballet lessons.

But her most rewarding experience has been speaking at schools. Students have asked her seemingly every question, from when she started taking gymnastics classes (age 5) to whether she climbed trees when she was younger (yes, all the time).

Seeing how many children were inspired by her Rio performance motivated Hernandez as she prepares to return to the sport.

“I didn’t realize at the Olympics how many people were truly watching,” Hernandez said Wednesday night at the annual Women’s Sports Foundation Salute to Women in Sports. “Now I’m excited to get back into the gym.”

Hernandez recently added handstand holds, back tucks and front flips to her conditioning program, in addition to continuing to run and lift weights.

“It’s a little difficult, but it’s fine,” she said. “I’ll push it a little more after the holidays.”

She has her eye on returning to competition in 2018.

“That’s definitely the hope,” Hernandez said. “I’m not going to rush anything, but I would love to compete in 2018.”

Hernandez, who said her next goal in gymnastics is to compete at the world championships for the first time and hopefully the 2020 Olympics, has not yet identified her comeback meet.

She noted that Aly Raisman took more than two years off after the London Olympics.

“I know every athlete is different,” Hernandez said. “But I wouldn’t mind following in her footsteps.”

Simone Biles, who has not competed since winning four gold medals in Rio, recently announced that she plans on returning to full-time training Nov. 1 and competition next summer.

“I look up to her, even though we are teammates,” Hernandez said. “I can’t wait to see her out there, but hopefully I’ll be out there with her soon.”

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MORE: Laurie Hernandez explains wink, nervous Olympic moments in book excerpt

Olympic cycling champion running for Congress

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HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Olympic cycling gold medalist Marty Nothstein is the latest to announce he’s running for the eastern Pennsylvania congressional seat being vacated by fellow Republican U.S. Rep. Charles Dent.

Dent, a former state senator, is a centrist Republican who has held the seat since 2005. He’s retiring after his term expires next year.

Nothstein, who won sprint silver in 1996 and gold in 2000, is the only American track cyclist to win an Olympic title at a fully attended Games.

Two Republican state representatives, Ryan Mackenzie and Justin Simmons, previously announced they’re running for Dent’s 15th District seat.

Democrat Bill Leiner, a former Lehigh County commissioner, is also running.

Dent’s district includes Allentown and all of Lehigh County, and parts of four surrounding counties.

Republicans in 2011 stretched the district almost 90 miles to the Susquehanna River in central Pennsylvania to make it more Republican.

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