I don’t normally enter the fray, but as a former amateur cycling competitor, I feel it my duty to weigh in on the Lance Armstrong debate ( 🙄 )
Of course he did it. (They all do it.)
Does that mean he should be striped of his titles?
Is he still an amazing athlete?
Does it matter?
Do we really need to ask that question? Of course it matters. Why compete if you are going to cheat?
Do you even know what I’m talking about?
Lance Armstrong is, no, I’m sorry, was the seven-time winner of the Tour de France (the most eminent and defining of cycling events) – from 1999 to 2005. He won through a bout of prostate cancer, and numerous allegations of doping. Apparently, he was just as aggressive off the bike as he was on it. Though there have been many witnesses and positive tests, those got mysteriously swept under the rug and for years he dominated the sport.
Throughout those years, as he does today, Mr. Armstrong has repeatedly denied doing anything illegal.
In June of this year, the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) filed formal charges against Mr. Armstrong. He filed his own lawsuits in response, and those got no where. Today, he came out with a statement saying he would no longer contest the charges. He still maintains his innocence (where ever the truth may lie – pun intended – how could he not?).
By not contesting the charges, he pays the USADA their fines and he won’t be dragged through a court process that would reveal far more than he wants to. By doing it this way, he’s taking the lesser of evils and he can run his PR machine to ensure that they’ll always be a shred of doubt.
As they say in the old country…cunning as a shithouse rat.
The saddest part of this whole thing is that many of us who cycled competitively, or follow the sport, want to believe Lance. We love him. He’s a stunning athlete. Everything we’d ever want to be. No one wanted to see him fail.
But we also didn’t want him to cheat.
Though this is a terrible thing, I’m glad we know the truth. Well, we sort of know the truth. He’ll always deny it, and by avoiding a USADA trial he can still do that till the day he dies. But by stepping down from the fight, he’s pretty much admitted to me that he did it.
Does this mean doping in cycling will stop?
Sadly, no. But we can dream. At least now, those who dope will know that sooner or later, they’ll get caught – like a rat in a trap.
EDIT: Despite whatever I, or anyone else, thinks on this matter, it should not discredit the good work his foundation does: LiveStrong
- In numbers: Lance Armstrong Foundation (espn.go.com)
- Armstrong gives up fight against USADA (piedtype.com)
- Lance Armstrong drops fight against doping charges (guardian.co.uk)
- Lance Armstrong, the man who strong-armed cycling, gives up fight (guardian.co.uk)
- What Game Is Lance Armstrong Playing By Giving In To Doping Charges? (forbes.com)
- Lance Armstrong ‘to lose’ Tour titles in drugs row (thesun.co.uk)
- Armstrong won’t fight USADA charges (nbcsports.msnbc.com)