Lance Armstrong: Deja Vu All Over Again?

Lance Armstrong: Deja Vu All Over Again?

I wear a yellow LiveStrong bracelet 24/7/365. Ever since Nike first released the original batch of 1,000,000 back in 2004. Always in support of someone I knew who was fighting cancer. Sometimes I’d sport two or three bands in particularly difficult times. The mantra “LiveStrong” represents hope to hundreds of millions of people worldwide, just as Lance Armstrong—that guy who defines LiveStrong—replaced the image of cancer victim with that of cancer warrior.

The Look Back, 2001!

Like many, Lance Armstrong got me hooked on the Tour de France and professional cycling. The moment in 2001 when Lance looked back at Jan Ulrich before leaving him in the dust on Alpe d’Huez is one of my all-time favorite sports moments. I witnessed the final stage of the tour on the Champs Elysees. I have my “Lance Fan” from the triumphant seventh tour victory—direct from Paris. My office surrounds visitors with Tour de France promotional posters from 2004 and 2005. There’s even a signed yellow jersey framed and proudly displayed.

Lance Armstrong is my hero.

Of course, nobody could possibly be as gifted and driven an athlete as Lance Armstrong without cheating, right? At least that’s what various naysayers and organizations allege periodically throughout Armstrong’s career.

Facts:

  • Lance Armstrong is the most tested athlete. In any sport. At any time.
  • Lance Armstrong has never failed a drug test. Never.

So why the witch hunt? How does Lance begin to prove a negative. He says he’s never doped. He’s passed every single one of the 500+ drug tests given by the most stringent anti-doping agencies in the world. What more can he do to prove his innocence?

And after a two-year federal investigation on Lance (same allegations) closed last year, why on earth is the US Anti-Doping Agency even starting a new investigation.

Evidently the USADA operates on the principle of “guilty until proven innocent.” (How American is that?) Lance can no longer compete in triathlons, the sport he embraced after retiring from professional cycling until he is cleared in this latest “investigation.”

Further, the USADA could strip Armstrong of his seven Tour victories—a insulting threat to the Amaury Sport Organization (ASO) family which owns runs the Tour de France and is fully capable of testing and enforcing its stringent anti-doping policies (See Alberto Contador, 2010, Floyd Landis, 2006—TDF titles stripped. Ask Jan Ulrich, Ivan Basso, and all the others rejected on the eve of the Tour in 2006 because of possible involvement with the  Operación Puerto doping case. Not because they had failed a drug test the day before the Tour. No, the ASO utilized the French Napoleonic Codeguilty until proven innocent—in that case.)

Armstrong released this statement yesterday: “I have been notified that USADA, an organization largely funded by taxpayer dollars but governed only by self-written rules, intends to again dredge up discredited allegations dating back more than 16 years to prevent me from competing as a triathlete and try and strip me of the seven Tour de France victories I earned. These are the very same charges and the same witnesses that the Justice Department chose not to pursue after a two-year investigation. These charges are baseless, motivated by spite and advanced through testimony bought and paid for by promises of anonymity and immunity. Although USADA alleges a wide-ranging conspiracy extended over more than 16 years, I am the only athlete it has chosen to charge. USADA’s malice, its methods, its star-chamber practices, and its decision to punish first and adjudicate later all are at odds with our ideals of fairness and fair play.

“I have never doped, and, unlike many of my accusers, I have competed as an endurance athlete for 25 years with no spike in performance, passed more than 500 drug tests and never failed one. That USADA ignores this fundamental distinction and charges me instead of the admitted dopers says far more about USADA, its lack of fairness and this vendetta than it does about my guilt or innocence. Any fair consideration of these allegations has and will continue to vindicate me.”

Does our government have nothing better to do than investigate athletes? How about unemployment? Housing crisis? Massive national debt? I may be just a writer and a sports fan. But this all seems utterly unnecessary, ridiculous, and a continued waste of taxpayers’ time and money.

Enough. The yellow band stays on this wrist.

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6 Comments

  1. Francy Dickinson
    Jun 14, 2012

    I think this is just so strange. Here he is a person doing so much for others and now upping the PR for a complete different sport. He represents exercise that real people can do – although on a lower level…but we can all ride a bike and run or swim …so what is this about? Jock envy is my only idea…someone believing that he is just too good to be real…
    Oh but we can all watch the pro-jocks and their wives on TV and see what a lovely group they all are for our children….
    This is just so sad…and wasteful of money. Every dollar can be used to promote and help young people find sports that they can do for a lifetime…not just a couple of years and then sit on the couch. Lifetime exercise and enjoyment of the outdoors is goal that every person in the USA should be willing to work towards…and Lance is the guy that is trying to lead us all to a healthier lifestyle…I am still on his team. Must be so personally hurtful for him to read this stuff all the time…f.

    • Robyn M. Ryan
      Jun 14, 2012

      I just don’t get it, Francy. Jealousy certainly is a motivating factor for small-minded individuals. But to try to destroy a man and his legacy—as a advocate, philanthropist as well as an athlete… to tear down the role model for many, many thousands who are fighting cancer..

      This is the same sort of attitude that told him he had no chance of surviving cancer back in ’96. Surprised the government isn’t investigating that impossible feat.

      Thanks for stopping by…

  2. PepiSmartDog
    Jun 15, 2012

    Pepi’s mum, Michele: When people are very gifted, it brings out the worst in others around them. He’s gifted, he’s in a gruelling sport and has been competing at top level for years. Not too many people can claim any of those things, net alone all 3.
    For Lance, it’s probably just another day at the Office. After the first 400 tests you sort of get used to it.
    Keep wearing your yellow band. : )

    • Robyn M. Ryan
      Jun 15, 2012

      Agree 100%… it’s frustrating, though, that this group has made it impossible for Lance to compete in upcoming triathons and the Iron Main competition in Hawaii this year—huge blow for event organizers, no doubt. He was also planning to ride as a “super Domestique” for the Radio Shack team during one of the grand tours. What a kick it would have been to watch Lance toting food and water to team mates and having a blast.

      So appreciate you stopping by, Michele!

  3. Gerry
    Jun 15, 2012

    “with no spike in performance” …there’s the key words right there. He is CONSISTENT. Hello people!

    • Robyn M. Ryan
      Jun 15, 2012

      Yes, you nailed it, Gerry! No spike in performance. Ever.

      After reading his book about how he trained for the Tour de France, I seriously doubt another athlete possesses that same determination and drive. Just because others can’t duplicate his accomplishments does not nullify his talent. You’re right—Hello People!

      Thanks for stopping by!

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