News has been buzzing with the story of Lance Armstrong stripped of all seven Tour de France wins he secured from 1999 to 2005. I have mixed feelings about his reaction as well as the reactions of others in the media.
Personally, I looked up to this man. I’ve always been interested in cycling, but I never got involved with racing. When I was younger, I used to get on my own bike and pretend I was in a stage of the Tour de France, using cars as my competitors. I was somewhat of a spunky little kid.
When the Livestrong campaign got started, I totally bought in — literally. I sported one of those iconic yellow Livestrong bracelets everywhere I went. I wore the shoes, the shorts, the bike gear.
I believed in what he stood for and I aspired to be in as good of shape as he was after his battle with cancer.
Maybe I was sporting rose colored glasses along with the Livestrong bracelet during those years that Armstrong was competing.
After all, the allegations he’s currently fighting, but not quite opening up to, do not make an ideal idol.
Growing up, my first and foremost idol was Mia Hamm. Once she retired, I still loved her, but she kind of dropped off the radar to start a family.
Around the time Mia Hamm stepped out of the spotlight, all eyes were on Armstrong.
I obviously latched on. I’m not one to spend a prolonged amount of time obsessing over one specific thing, people included, so after a while I started focusing my interest to other things like Michael Phelps, “How I Met Your Mother,” “House” and Megan Rapinoe, just to name a few.
People aren’t perfect and Lance Armstrong exemplifies that fact. We put him on a pedestal because of everything he has overcome and accomplished.
At the end of the day, though, we uncovered a nasty truth: Lance Armstrong isn’t really the person he made himself out to be. Then again, who is? The higher we put our idols on pedestals, the harder they fall when we discover something unpleasant.
According to several news articles, the U.S. anti-doping officials say that the systematized doping they uncovered is “more extensive than any previously revealed in professional sports history.”
The International Cycling Union accepted the United States Anti-Doping Agency’s decision, stripped Armstrong of his seven Tour titles, and banned him from the sport for life. Armstrong also stepped down from chairman of Livestrong.
It’s unfortunate to see Lance Armstrong take such a fall, but then again, he isn’t saying anything. He hasn’t confirmed these allegations, nor has he apologized to the sport.
I find his silence in the matter a little disconcerting. Some articles I have read have commended Armstrong for his humbling silence. I don’t think this silence is a display of humility, I think he’s embarrassed he finally got caught.
I may be contradicting myself, but I still look up to the man. Sure he didn’t win his titles in a ‘clean’ way, but the hesitancy that the International Cycling Union has towards what they want to do with the titles makes me question the validity of this whole argument against Armstrong.
Sure the man was actively doping, but doping was a major part of the sport when he was at the top of his game.
The ICU’s hesitancy is because they are almost positive that the second runner up in any of the seven Tours would most likely be just as guilty of doping as Armstrong.
I’m not condoning shady behavior like Armstrong, but I can still appreciate what he did for cycling.
He became the face of cycling, worldwide, for a long time.
That’s a good thing. I can only hope that the interest in professional cycling continues to rise despite the negative light that Armstrong has been reflecting during this time.