Thursday, January 17 2013 @ 11:48 AM MST Contributed by: dubocn Views: 95
I've been taking heat on Facebook for my opinions about my recent post about Lance Armstrong. There seems to be the feeling that I'm unforgiving and awash in schadenfreude and only commenting because it's fun to watch a successful person take a dive. This is all understandable, as, I wasn't exactly kind in my last article about Armstrong (which doesn't set me aside from professional writers dealing with the same topic, by the way). However, perhaps I need to clear up some of the misconceptions people may have about me based on this article.
First of all, while I don't follow the sport of cycling with a burning passion, I do read articles about it, I do watch parts of Le Tour and I have done some research into some of the controversy that surrounds the sport. Le Tour has a long history of being extremely secretive and exclusive. I'm not get into a huge history of it but it's not exactly known for being filled with sympathetic, good-guy characters. Some have even suggested that it would save time and money if they simply disqualified the first three finishers automatically for doping. Doping is so much a part of the culture of the sport that there is a feeling among its top athletes that it's not only expected, but necessary. Check out this interview from several years ago with Lance Armstrong.
Note how Armstrong denies doping but points out that in HIS sport, it's almost needed. He's convinced of his own greatness throughout this video. Which brings me to why I'm not willing to cut him any slack. He didn't just make a mistake and then come clean, no. He lied... and he lied and he lied and lied. For more than a decade he's been claiming that he's clean. These lies were calculated and involved an entire team of people. It would be one thing if he'd admitted the truth years ago, but he didn't. He waited until he had no choice because he's already been exposed and now it's starting to cost him money. He was still denying it when he was stripped of his tour titles.
Another thing I find truly annoying about Armstrong, is that when backed into a corner by interviewers in the past, he immediately plays the cancer card as he does in the first video in this post. Having cancer does not automatically make you a trustworthy, good person. I've heard the argument that he “hasn't courted the media any worse than any other sport hero.” Really? Livestrong isn't so much a charity as it is Armstrong's own personal brand. I've seen people who've never ridden a bike in their lives proudly displaying their yellow wristband. Livestrong has been one, big, giant distraction from the truth. The truth Armstrong is now forced not really to admit, but to begrudgingly accept because he has no choice. It comes down to this, he's not sorry and he's no more genuine then he has ever been.
On a personal note, it just pisses me off. Do you know how little athletic ability that I have? Do you know how hard I have to train just to finish a half-marathon in a pathetically slow time? Do you have any idea how exhaustively hard it is for me to lose and keep off weight? When I look at an athlete who has this great genetic make-up that makes him able to compete at an amazing level and yet, has to dope because amazing isn't good enough, I just can't stomach it. Armstrong doesn't deserve a break now because he's had plenty of them in life. He needs to own up to his mistakes and figure out a way to make amends for pissing away what would have been an astonishing career whether he won seven Tours or not. Some of us would just be happy to finish their next half-marathon “fun run” under three hours.