Armstrong ‘pedaled’ inspiration and fraud
The Lance Armstrong saga is one of the saddest in sports, but it is also unfortunately representative of what has occurred all-too-frequently in recent decades in all kinds of athletic competition.
Under intense pressure to win or wash out, many athletes succumb to the temptation of performance-enhancing drugs. It has occurred in professional football and baseball, as well in college and Olympic sports. According to numerous reports, it has been ubiquitous in international bicycling competition for decades. The only surprise, for many, was that it took Armstrong so long to finally give up his official denial of doping.
Armstrong hasn’t publicly admitted he took steroids or other performance-enhancing drugs. But, on Thursday he announced he would not continue to fight doping charges brought against him by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency. Most observers viewed that as a de facto admission by Armstrong.
Armstrong was the cheerful cancer survivor who won seven back-to-back Tour de France titles and became an inspiration to millions of cyclists and cancer victims around the globe.
But his supernational success, it appears, was a product of chemistry, rather than simply Armstrong’s athletic ability and determination. He was simply the best doper and sport filled with them.
He is a fraud. There’s not much inspiration in that fact, nor in the fact his titles will now go to the second-place doper.