I don’t really get on my soapbox and offer my heavy thoughts too often within my column, preferring to keep things light and happy. But, the Lance Armstrong saga is one newsworthy item I can’t pass up. It’s gone beyond sports-related news at this point.
For years, well over a decade, people have praised Armstrong for his athletic ability. Heck, he won the Tour de France a record seven times! He’s right up there with Michael Phelps!
Armstrong started one of the most hailed companies and organizations in the world: Livestrong. They help support cancer patients as they deal with the illness and fight to beat it. Their website says they “guide people through the cancer experience” as well as “find problems and develop solutions.”
Armstrong himself battled cancer. Riding on behalf of the Livestrong company, he wore their name proudly all these years. He even rode with the Livestrong team in several RAGBRAI events here in Iowa.
What was once a man of great proportions is no longer, in my opinion.
Armstrong blatantly called others “liars” who accused him of doping. He threatened to sue some as well. Knowing he took advantage of professional athletic system, he still denied the charges all these years. Is that someone we should be looking up to? Is that a role model for young people?
Now I didn’t watch his televised interview on the Oprah network OWN. You didn’t need to with all of the news and sports networks replaying portions of it this past week. But it seemed to me that Lance Armstrong didn’t even think what he did was wrong! He claimed everyone in the cycling sport shoots up, so what he did was nothing different. This reminds me of the popular saying, “If everyone jumped off a bridge, would you?”
Even if other cyclists doped as well, that doesn’t seem to be the point. The issue is that Armstrong lied for years. He deceived his Livestrong company and those who ran the organization. He deceived his fans by denying the allegations then admitting to it as if it was no big deal.
While we’re mentioning Livestrong… what’s to become of this well-established, good-intentioned company? While Armstrong was quite instrumental in starting the company, I would hope people and other giving organizations wouldn’t hold his transgressions against Livestrong itself. This is still a great cause to support!
Those running the company should not be held accountable for Armstrong’s actions and accounts. The CEO of Livestrong, Doug Ulman, a cancer survivor himself, publicly told Matt Lauer on the Today Show last week that he is saddened by Armstrong’s actions, but wants to move forward with Livestrong.
Was it right for Armstrong to be stripped of all of his Tour de France medals and now, recently, his Olympic medals? YES! He shamed the sport of cycling and his role as a U.S. athlete. He took advantage of his supporters all these years.
Now that Lance Armstrong has come out and finally admitted to something many knew was true, I hope it has no bearing on other future athletes in the sport of cycling. I’d hate for Armstrong’s actions to hinder others in the U.S. from doing what they love best.
It’s not like it was a shocker to hear Lance Armstrong was doping for decades; it’s the way he continued to deny it and, in a way, bully those (like the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency) who accused him of doing so. He pursued legal action like he was the victim.