Monday, January 21, 2013

Wait, what? Lance cheated???!!!

It's not the fall, it's that sudden stop at the bottom....

Lance Armstrong doped while he was winning all those Tours de France and, in addition to being a cheater, can also be called a liar.  
What do you mean, you don't believe me?

In other news, scientists reported the Earth is still categorized as “round.”

Yep. Still round.
I watched the interview from start to finish. I’m not typically a voyeur on this type of thing, generally believing that we all have to stew in our own juices. But Lance was so adamant for so long, and had so many high quality people stand up for him, that I just had to see what he had to say. Admittedly, I have also been a fan of his for a long time and there was a part of me that just had to hear it with my own ears.

I saw a man that had the look of, “Oh shit! I’m caught. Now, what?” in his eyes.  I truly don’t think he believed he would ever be caught, not after getting away with such a vigorous denial for over fifteen years.  Now that his big breakaway has been finally run down, he’s trying to work his way back into the peloton with a sheepish look on his face.
"Eff it. I'm caught. Thanks, again, God."
But it’s so much worse than that. The guy cheated, as did nearly everyone else of any consequence at the time, and that was bad. (I've read one source that said in the 2005 Tour, they would have to go back to 23rd place to find someone that wasn't caught doping during their career in the peloton. Damn, that's bad.) The fact that "everyone" was cheating doesn't give anyone a pass, in my opinion. Just because everyone is driving 75 in a 55 zone, doesn't mean the cop can't write you a ticket. You're the one he stopped!

And then, he denied it, sued over it, and generally screwed a bunch of people with higher moral fiber over it, too. He inveigled reporters, business people, and cycling fans to buy into the crap he was selling about his performance so that they would take his side and help defend him. 

He lied while under oath to various organizations and committed perjury.  He deserves whatever punishment he accretes at this point. I’m not sure I can forgive him for all that he did but then, he ain’t asking me either.

I’m disappointed in what he did and the way so many people had part or all of their lives ruined by his behavior. (He was never a hero to me; I have very high standards for my heroes and you've never heard of most of them but I was a fan so I am allowed to be disappointed.) His “win at any cost” mentality obviously has no boundaries. What served him well in fighting cancer, when added to questionable ethics and morals, served to sink him as a legend in a sport. 

I continue to hear additional comments about him and his behavior during the interview. Seems he behaved in such a way that many folks, who have seen him in action, believe this is simply the next step in his protracted effort to impart the belief that he is better than everyone else. I can’t speak to that as I just don’t know him very well.  To me, he looked and acted very similarly to other people I’ve seen get caught lying. He said he was sorry, kind of, recognized that he had no credibility, and stated that he’d spend as long as it took to pay back what he’s done wrong.

There may not be enough time left to do that. He’s only 41.

My youngest brother is very glad to say that Greg LeMond is the only American to win the Tour de France and he won it three times. Two of those were after being accidentally shot, and nearly dying, while hunting.

"Want to race, Lance? I'm in!"

On the Other Hand

Lance Armstrong, through his LiveStrong foundation, raised an enormous amount of money to help folks that are battling cancer. Last I heard, the number was over $500 million and growing.  I also know of a number of little things he did for individuals, on so many occasions, that would lead one to believe he’s a good person. His charity work did a great deal of good for a large group of people. For that, I’ve always admired him.

In the grand scheme of things, LiveStrong is far bigger than Lance ever was and the good work they’ve done, and will continue to do in the future, will have a much larger impact. Yes, he started it, and was the CEO of it for a long time but most of the heavy lifting is being done by the foundation. I saw a post on the other day where he asked himself if the foundation would have been founded if Lance wasn’t Lance. Fatty’s reply was that need usually brings about solution so it probably would have happened, regardless. That may be true but Lance did found it and, for that, many of us are thankful.

In the end he’s a combination of all that he’s done right and wrong, just like all of us. Lance just has to add it all up in front of everyone, unlike most of the rest of us, and there are a lot of people that want to watch this accounting take place. I intend to continue donating to LiveStrong because of what the organization does, not because of what Lance did.

Final Irony

The interesting irony to me about the whole interview -by-Oprah thing is that the “King” of a sport that can only occasionally be found on the least watched TV channels (if at all), confessed to cheating on one of the least watched channels of all, thereby giving that channel its second highest rating of all time. 

Pop culture in action.