Jon E. Garrett
Writing the future of journalism one post at a time



SPORTS

August 23, 2012

Armstrong finally fails a test

L

ance Armstrong claims to have been tested more than 500 times during his cycling career, not including the cancer that nearly ended it – and his life – and the grueling hills and valleys of the Tour de France.
It is unfortunate, then, that the 40-year-old cyclist failed his first in retirement.
Thursday when Armstrong released a statement saying that he would not continue to contest the charges brought against him by the USADA.
The cost of the decision, which he attributed partly to the, “toll this has taken on my family, and my work for our foundation”: a lifetime ban from any sport that follows the World Anti-Doping Code, he will be stripped of his record seven straight Tour titles and an Olympic bronze medal (2000) as well as forfeit all titles, awards and money he won from August 1998 forward.
It’s a hefty toll to pay for a man who still proclaims innocence as he willingly walks away from a fight in which he says his opponent has no evidence, a fight that it would seem someone who seemingly conquered cancer and the inclines of the Pyrenees and the Alps with relative ease.
In many eyes it will forever be the mark of a guilty man. I give him the benefit of the doubt, but what I think does not matter. I’ve had my fill of Armstrong, writing about the good and the alleged bad he has done as a cyclist. The Lance Armstrong Foundation, and the monumental contributions to the fight against cancer, is the only part of his legacy whose survival I hold an interest in.
What I do care about is integrity though, in sport and more importantly in life. If it is apparent you can’t see the truth when it is presented to you, how can one be sure that you know the difference between it and a lie? So, when I read Armstrong’s statement I was disappointed to see this passage.

“I know who won those seven Tours, my teammates know who won those seven Tours, and everyone I competed against knows who won those seven Tours. We all raced together. For three weeks over the same roads, the same mountains, and against all the weather and elements that we had to confront.
There were no shortcuts, there was no special treatment. The same courses, the same rules. The toughest event in the world where the strongest man wins. Nobody can ever change that.”

No Lance. Your teammates don’t know who won those tours. According to several of them (George Hincapie, Levi Leipheimer, David Zabriskie and Christian Vande Velde as reported by the New York Times and most infamously Tyler Hamilton on national television last year on 60 Minutes) you were doping. Even if you crossed the finish line first that’s not a win. They also claim they, along with you, took shortcuts in the form of performance enhancing drugs; there was special treatment. The only thing you all might agree on is the strongest man – not necessarily the most honest one – won.



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Jon E. Garrett





 
 

 

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3 Comments


  1. Eric

    Well Jon, I disagree with your opinion on his fight on cancer. He raises a lot of money, but spends none on research. It’s all cancer “awareness” now. His foundation is more for his ego than any real interest in helping people. Classic sociopath.


    • Jon E. Garrett

      I feel at this point the foundation has grown beyond him. It might not do everything it says in terms of providing funds for research, but as a whole it has played a huge positive in the lives of those who fought/fight cancer and their families. At the very least it has helped spur more awareness and keep cancer in the spotlight. Like his teams at the Tour — it’s bigger than just one man.



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