Lance Armstrong captivated the world when he won the 1999 Tour de France. Winning that event was a remarkable feat but what made it all the more inspiring was that nearly two years prior Armstrong was in the fight of his life against the deadly disease of cancer.
Armstrong defeated cancer and then went out and won the most grueling event in professional cycling. He didn’t just win but blew the competition away and became a hero not only to every cancer survivor worldwide but to anyone who had ever faced a hardship. His story screamed of never giving up but to keep fighting. He would go on to win six more Tour de France championships, each one more dramatic than the previous year.
His victories proved that anything was possible and an icon was born.
Some claimed it was a miracle while others claimed that Armstrong was a cheater. Armstrong has always denied he was a cheater and even said the following;
Extraordinary allegations require extraordinary evidence.
Wednesday the U.S. Anti Doping Agency published a 202 page report giving Armstrong exactly what he asked for; that Armstrong knowingly and purposely used banned substances to win seven Tour de France titles.
It must be noted that Armstrong continues to deny these allegations and remains defiant that he is merely the victim of serial perjurers and folks with axes to grind.
That might be true if it were only one or two folks pointing fingers but eleven of them? Sorry Mr. Armstrong but I don’t believe you.
The Oxford Dictionary defines cheater as;
a gain an advantage over or deprive of something by using unfair or deceitful methods; defraud (cheated him out of his savings).
b deprive someone of something to which they are entitled (this plot treatment cheats moviegoers).
Intransitive act dishonestly or unfairly in order to gain an advantage, esp. in a game or examination.
Transitive avoid (something undesirable) by luck or skill (cheated fate).
Intransitive [usu. foll. by on]
a be sexually unfaithful to.
b lapse from strict adherence to (a diet).
Intransitive use different and inferior materials or methods unobtrusively, esp. in order to save time or money.
A person who cheats.
A trick, fraud, or deception.
An act of cheating.
(also cheat code) (with reference to computer games) a means that is not strictly within the rules of a game by which gamers can gain an advantage
Maybe Oxford’s will place an image next to this definition. Any idea who?
The following is another quote from Armstrong that may shed some light on this story;
Winning is about heart, not just legs. It's got to be in the right place.
He’s absolutely correct but considering all we’ve learned about Armstrong in recent days what does that quote say about him?
Maybe next to the image Oxford could place the MP3 to “Your Cheating Heart Will Tell on You”…
We wanted to believe that he was more honorable than what he really was. We wanted to believe he was telling us the truth about his innocence and we wanted to believe Armstrong was a victim of some mass conspiracy due to his overwhelming success in the most grueling sporting event in the world.
Perhaps we wanted too much.
The odd thing about all this is that I don’t blame Armstrong. He did what everyone in the cycling world was doing. We must give credit where credit is due; in a sport rife with cheaters he was the best there ever was and probably the best there ever will be.
That’s some kind of legacy isn’t it?
In all fairness we must also note that Armstrong has done quite a bit of good with his fame and fortune. His foundation “LIVESTRONG” has helped thousands of people afflicted with cancer and raises millions of dollars annually in the fight against cancer. How his foundation will be affected by all this is anyone’s guess but considering the legions of loyal Armstrong supporters I would suggest his foundation will “LIVEON” and it should as it is a worthwhile organization.
That’s also some kind of legacy isn’t it?
I think at the end of the day Armstrong will keep peddling along doing his thing. He’ll have his detractors who believe he’s a cheating scoundrel and his supporters who believe he’s an innocent victim. Armstrong will never admit to cheating and I guess that’s fine as well. The International Cycling Association has stripped him of his titles and banned him for life but he and his supporters can point to the dozens of other banned cyclists and can always claim he still won.
I’m sure Armstrong can live with that and so should we.