Cunning as a shithouse rat

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.

From Teeter Talk

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

20 thoughts on “Cunning as a shithouse rat

  1. People also want to believe him because of overcoming the adversity of his long-term battle against prostate cancer.

    A shame that this has been the case and a shame that he cannot be honest about it. There was a big furore over here about Dwayne Chambers being allowed into the British Olympic team. He cheated, yes. But he put his hands up to it and gave away all of the money he earned as a cheat.

    A shame that somebody of Armstrong’s fame cannot do the same. People may just gain a little bit more respect for him and perhaps he could one day make an honourable comeback.

    1. I know! Without doping, he would still be an amazing cyclist. I wish we could go back in time and see a clean Lance win those seven titles.

  2. It is a shame that somebody of Armstrong’s fame has this blot against his inspiration for cancer patients. But it is what it is, and who Armstrong REALLY is will now have to be shown by how he corrects this.
    Thanks for a good summary post.

    1. I agree. And, actually, regardless of whether he doped or not, doing this is smart. It will keep his foundation from collapsing – which is a good thing. His foundation has done some amazing things. Reminds me, I should link to his foundation…

  3. Unfortunately, when the money aspect of a sport grows, so does doping. Money really is the spoiler of many great things only because the few bad apples club the rest of us over the head with it. Look at football, basketball, baseball, etc.

  4. I don’t have much to say about Lance (although it is a bit odd that the USDA has somehow assumed the power to dictate who and who does not have international sports titles). I’ve always been a bit ambivalent about him, since he seemed like a jerk who did a lot of good things. It is slightly freaky that you are both a cyclist and geospatial professional, though. I can’t wait to find out what else we have in common. I just hope you don’t share any of my less savory avocations.

    1. Its’ the USADA (Anti-Doping Agency), not USDA, but I thought that too. It is kind of odd that they said that…

      Ha! – in regards to our similarities. But the thing is, I’ve met another speculative fiction writer via who lives in the U.K. and who is JUST LIKE US (geographer, cyclist, geek writer). Apparently, even we are legion. (Of course, neither of you two are short, cubby, brown and female! And I’m sure I have some unsavory habits you might share, like…epic farts?) 😉

  5. In many ways, it’s like a classic Shakespearean trajedy, where the seeds of destruction lie in the main character’s own soul. No matter how many coaches and team mates told him “everyone does it,” Armstrong still could have had the strength to refuse the medication, blood transfusions, etc.

    I believe it is proper that the athletes he beat by cheating, be rewarded with the prizes they should have won. (Assuming they haven’t also been accused of cheating…) This is especially important in the case of the Olympic medal.

    As for “clawing back” endorsement money, however, I am skeptical that these organizations didn’t know of the doping allegations at the time they signed Armstrong to represent them.

    1. The scary thing is that many of the riders that came in second, third, fourth and so on, have all tested positive for doping. Lance never did. Was it because he didn’t dope? Or because he had a sneaking system that worked?

      And, yes, it does all boil down to the money.

  6. Let’s see: your career is based on executing the best possible physical performance and the best possible physical performance can be achieved through the use of biological substances such as HGH. Current fields where suspicious activities have been identified: baseball, golf, football, European football aka soccer, tennis, and the tv shows UFC and wrestling. If HGH is an illegal substance, why aren’t the current cornucopia of “hydration” products which provide athletes a boost their bodies cannot naturally provide in a short period of time illegal? My generation played all those sports with ice water on the sidelines.

    Governments have spent gobs of money broadcasting the potential dangers of such behavior, physical, mental, and emotional. Yet, athletes persist in the behavior evidently trading increased earnings against the risks. Taking away championships as a paper exercise cannot possibly eliminate the behavior.

    Some will say this behavior provides role models to teenagers and therefore should be banned. I offer an alternative: allow the behavior and spend as much money to broadcast as widely as possible the results. Pictures of athletes ten years down the road ought to be as effective as passing laws which are by and large ignored.

    Individual responsibility for one’s actions should and will apply.

    1. That is the way our society works. Someone waves a big gob of money in their right hand while covering up the S**t pile with their left. But we can’t necessarily blame them for our own selective blidness. If we quit buying tickets to the games, merchandise, and etc., these people wouldn’t have the money to make us drool.

  7. Perhaps the most damning indictment, especially given that the Olympics have just ended, is the strong message that the more sophisticated cheaters are still beating the tests, and have been for years.

  8. I don’t know — I’m sure it’s hard enough to make sense of the whole affair if you’re involved in the process. But as we only get our information from the media, and we can never be sure of the media, I don’t think we have the right to make a judgement pro or contra Armstrong…

    1. I agree that we’ll never know for sure. But, well, I could go on as to why I think he is guilty, but it is all circumstantial. You are right, I have no proof. No one does. Not even the USADA. All they (and we) have are witnesses.

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