Skip to comments.Lance Armstrong Cheated to Win. Why is that Wrong?
Posted on 11/20/2012 12:11:09 PM PST by Notary Sojac
After months of bad press, the greatest competitive cyclist of all time has officially hit rock bottom: The Lance Armstrong Foundation has dropped the name of its eponymous creator and will now be known as the Livestrong Foundation. Rest easy, Lance, it cant get much or is that any? worse.
His story is unparalleled, Shakespearean in scope and breadth. A cocky, gum-flapping athlete battled insurmountable odds after a devastating cancer diagnosis, his greasy soul barely slipping the surly clutches of a certain dirt nap. Ultimately, he rehabilitated his battered body and morphed into a champion.
Not only did Lance Armstrong improbably return to the sport he loved, professional cycling, he used his unfailing narrative as a stick and beat to death his opponents by winning the most grueling sporting event on the planet of earth: The Tour De France. Seven motherloving times!
He must have had help, right? I mean, you cant just win the Tour that many times without some aid and angels. Could all the old ladies prayers and good wishes really have propelled this flesh rocket up the Pyrenees and down the Alps? If they could, Robert Urich would have more Olympic medals than Michael Phelps and Mark Spitz combined. But he doesnt. Because hes dead. Sorry, grandma.
As much as everyone wanted to believe Lances performance was the result of clean living and hard training, there were whispers for years that he was dirtier than a bums ass. The French cycling daily LEquipe published a long story in August 2005 accusing him of failing a 1999 drug test by using EPO, or erythropoietin, a blood booster commonly used by cyclists to aid in red blood-cell production. The French said he was a habitual doper who had enough money and support to insulate himself from the rules that sought to protect the sport from enhanced athletes who posed an unfair advantage to non-tainted riders. Lance said he didnt trust the French testing system, probably because they detected those pesky drugs.
When Armstrong gave up the fight in August 2012 against the U.S. Anti Doping Agency (USADA), peoples love turned to sheer outrage and they took his declaration to fight the charges no more forever as an act of personal betrayal. How could cancer boy have put something in his pure body to get him up those hills faster, to knock over those time trials like Southern damsels fainting from the vapors?
But as backlash gripped Lance fans, there was a deeper question more important than simple outrage: Why are people so mad at Lance Armstrong when logic should have told them the guy was doing nothing short of spiking his veins, spinning his blood, and biting off chicken heads to achieve his inhuman feats?
To put it a little differently: The rules pushed by the USADA and the International Cycling Union (UCI) are so arbitrary and widely flouted that it shouldnt be a big deal that Lance, like most of his comptetitors, broke the rules. You dont have to have a doctorate in pharmacology to know Lance cheated, but why is it wrong?
The standard answer is simply: Drugs are bad, mkay? Now this is the aspect that should make the libertarian in all of us wince. Why are drugs bad? Because theyre bad, thats why. The circular argument is that putting bad things in your body is dangerous and unfair and thus immoral and dangerous. But plenty of things are dangerous and unfair. How about zooming down one-lane, winding mountain passes with eager teenagers ringing cowbells in your face, otherwise known as a typical stage in the Tour de France? That seems kind of dangerous.
Its highly unlikely Amaury Sport Organization, the body that organizes the Tour, is going to ban enthusiastic spectation. But if they did, would you be outraged by someone ringing a cowbell simply because its now illegal? Cycling is by nature dangerous, especially when its done right, because a light, strong rider will be able to propel himself at great speeds, virtually unprotected from collision or calamity should he tumble from his steel steed. Professional cyclists may be idiots, but theyre not your children. Cycling is deadlier than the drugs you can consume to make yourself faster at it, so either way, youre hastening your own death, or at least flirting with the Grim Reaper like a cheap, Charlie-soaked bar girl.
What about the idea that using drugs is unfair because not everyone uses them equally? In addition to taking performance-enhancing drugs like EPO and testosterone (and paying to cover up positive tests), Lance is accused by the USADA of blood doping. That is essentially harvesting your own oxygen-rich blood cells (or borrowing some from a friendly matching donor - thanks bro!) and later injecting them at a critical point (like before a bike race) to deliver more oxygen to working muscles so they can perform longer and stronger.
Of all the techniques and tools in the cycling arsenal, this one I find totally inoffensive. Its your blood! If you want to make yourself all sickly and anemic and shiver like a hairless cat when the refrigerated sanguine smoothie glugs back into your body, then have at it. As far as Im concerned, if drinking your own urine somehow made you faster in a time trial, then bottoms up. Its gross, and its weird, but its yours.
If any rider in a UCI-sanctioned race wanted to deliver more oxygen to their working systems by strapping on an oxygen tank like an octogenarian on the nickel slots at the Golden Nugget, they are free to do that, according to the World Doping Agencys banned list. So you can have an oxygen tank on your back but not in your recycled blood, which only makes the means of transmission problematic. Hey wait a second, thats not your air! You didnt breathe that!
Imagine the unfair advantages a multi-millionaire celebrity like Lance Armstrong has over less-wealthy rivals: He can buy the best chefs, nutritionists, masseurs, physical therapists, movement specialists, physiologists, acupuncturists, chakra balancers, and ball tuggers. Lance could have a mountain chateau in Tourmalet, a climate-controlled bungalow in San Sebastian, a compound in Colorado for high-elevation training, and an oxygen-deprivation gym for cross training. He could have gadgets and gizmos to knead his sore calves when the servants retired for the evening, he could sleep in Michale Jacksons old hyperbaric chamber (Bubbles is lonely!), he could extract the marrow of Heraclitus and spread it on toast points. With all the technology available in nutrition, medicine, components, bike frames, shoes, pointy, goofy-ass racing helmets, and every other element of cycling,everything could be deemed unfair, or unnatural!
Money is an advantage, technology is an advantage, genes are an advantage (or disadvantage, in many cases!). None of it is fair.
Here is a proposal for reform: Why not have two cycling leagues and see which one earns riders the most support from fans and sponsors? Let the market decide! TV ratings for the Tour De France doubled when Lance Armstrong was racing, and even now with wider cable distribution and a larger available audience the numbers were much smaller for the 2012 Tour than they were for Lances last victory in 2005. It could be like bodybuilding which has a natural non-juiced circuit. You could allow purists their riders who could conquer the great climbs of the world on diets of grass and coconut milk (because animal protein of any kind would be an unfair advantage). Then there would be a circuit for doping, manipulative assholes on another. Who do you think would attract a bigger crowd? A larger audience? More endorsements?
Lance Armstrong is guilty of a lot in the eyes of the UCI and USADA, two groups so profoundly mired in their mutual disdain its a miracle they can conjure charges and responses in between bouts of flinging feces at each other. USADA claims Lance paid UCI to cover up at least one positive drug test, and UCI claims USADAs mamas so big she straps buses to her feet to go roller skating. Its that ugly. What is uglier still is the arbitrary nature with which substances and procedures are banned, wasting millions of tax dollars through USADA (which gets funding from the drug czar's office, of all places!) and the failed Department of Justice investigation against Armstrong, which should have never been launched in the first place. Policing sport is not the role of the government.
Remember your outrage and why you detest a guy who was doing the same thing his predecessors had done legally just a few years before, and that all his adversaries were doing concurrently. Save some of your bile to curse the name of Laurent Fignon, the guy who won the tour in 1983 and 1984, the years before blood doping was banned. He admitted to using amphetamines and cortisol, but no one is retroactively calling for him to give back his prize money, mostly because he is dead. Are you as angry with Laurent as you are at Lance? And if you are, how do you feel about Greg LeMond, the first American to win the Tour and a longtime critic of Armstrong? In the 1989 Tour, LeMond beat Fignon by a mere eight seconds(!), partly because LeMond wisely availed himself of all sorts of aerodynamically progressive equipment. Fignon, a Frenchman who disdained innovation that couldn't be shot directly into his ass, even refused to cut his ponytail, causing extra drag and precious lost seconds over the 21-stage race.
What if science deems blood-doping and injectables as innocuous (and generally useless) as the creams and supplements they sell at GNC? With falling viewership and global loss of interest in cycling, its more than likely that the powers that be will expand the list of accepted drugs and practices. If the day comes when cyclists can finally emerge from the shadows and party-hearty with their testosterone, their EPO, even an ELO mixed tape, make sure you know why you hate Lance Armstrong. Its not because he made his former teammate and defrocked Tour winner Floyd Landis babysit a mini-fridge full of Lance blood for a long, hot, Austin summer, or because he shrunk his weenis with hormone injections, or had better oxygen-uptake than you.
No, its because in the end, Lance refused to admit what was as plain as the saddle sore on your butt after a 115-mile ride: that he cheated to win, and nobody did it better. No man is a hero to his former personal assistant, but Lance Armstrong was an asshole until the very end.
As long as they could conduct a test, and make a determination...thus showing proof...I was agreeable to the whole “game”. This current episode with Armstrong revolves around just listening to twenty-odd guys say he doped....but you can’t use a single test to validate what they said.
To me....there’s something wrong here. Why bother with dope-testing anymore? Let’s just let your team-mates identify you as a doper, and that would be enough to toss you out of your sport.
I will say this in my own beliefs...I could see Armstrong winning two races in a row. But statistically, for a guy to keep his body in that form for more than two years? I’m not buying that either.
2 words: French jealousy!
College students today have a saying—if you’re not cheatin’, you’re not tryn’. It seems Lance may be the originator of that little gem.
It works for Democrats, doesn’t it?
If cheating is widespread in a sport, and it is/was in cycling, then by definition the dominant players are cheating.
Nobody is good enough “naturally” to compete with and win against someone almost as naturally good who has his finger on the scale with drugs.
The biggest problem is that Lance was so scorched earth in his own defense. He crushed a lot of people on his path of insisting he was 100% clean, then it turns out he was the liar the whole time.
On the overall thing, I’ve always felt the doping rules in various sports are kind of silly. There’s so much drive to do them, and the dopers are always so far ahead of the enforcers causing most of the folks to get caught so far later. I guess because most of it is illegal they really can’t have them not against the rules. But by the same token when you look up how many cycling and track “wins” were expunged years later because stored samples finally failed it does make these entire sports seem rather silly. Get to the bottom of this page:
really look at that list of wins that now never happened and explain to me why anybody should pay attention to the results. Who really thinks the 2011 and 2012 “winners” will still be counted as winning 10 years from now? Not me.
Is eating four eggs every morning for breakfast while training and racing okay? Or should competitive athletes be limited to, say, two eggs at breakfast?
How ‘bout 100 eggs per day?
Kill 300 Mexicans and two cops? FINE..! But take a little GH for a stronger swing, and you’ll be blinking under the kleig lights on Capitol Hill FO SHO.
Kill some SEALS and burn a Consulate? Steal and election..? FINE..! But take a little GH to pedal like mad, and they’ll just burn you down.
THINGS ARE NUTS THESE DAYS AND FOLKS CAN’T SEE IT.
I won’t chalenge your POV if you gas up my GOV! Anyway, This guy should be a comedy writer. I always thought “personal assistants” assisted others because they had no personality of their own. I stand corrected...this guy is pretty awesome and finally gives a realistic aspect to all of this!
You’re right. It’s always good to take a step outside of the establishment’s box. If all the media is blabbing the same crap, we might want to step back and apply some independent critical thinking.
I won’t challenge your POV if you gas up my GOV! Anyway, This guy should be a comedy writer. I always thought “personal assistants” assisted others because they had no personality of their own. I stand corrected...this guy is pretty awesome and finally gives a realistic aspect to all of this!
It all boils down to ‘he said-she said’ and no evidence one way or another, on either continent........
“It all boils down to he said-she said and no evidence one way or another, on either continent........”
Same as the first OJ trial, right?
Was there ever any real scientific test done by an objective third party to prove his guilt?..........
The prosecution had scientific test data. The jury was as ignorant, stupid and biased as an Obama voter......
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