Lance – “The Truth will set you Free”.

lance-oprah-635So the media is all buzzing from the admission from Lance that he doped, cheated and lied.  His interviews with Oprah were aired the past two nights.

Here are my thoughts:

I have followed Lance Armstrong since the mid-90s.  I seen him race pre-cancer in the ’96 Tour DuPont and ’96 Atlanta Olympics. I also enjoyed his Tour de Georgia races. I even saw him get beat on Brasstown Bald.  I have read all his books and follow him on Twitter.  The past two nights I watched the Oprah interviews.

Lance Armstrong was the great American story even before his cancer in ’96-97.  Basically raised by his mother with difficult financial struggles, he was successful with triathlons and bike racing.  He was on his way to be one of America’s great cyclists.  Then cancer. His near-death cancer sickness devastated many.

He overcome cancer and was leaner and meaner.  Not only was he able to defeat cancer, he could ride and compete at a professional level.  Simply unbelievable.

I remember one of his first public conferences at the Tour de France when he was accused of doping.  His response was too careful, he said “I never have tested positive”. He never said he didn’t dope, he said he didn’t test positive.  I had my doubts about his doping since then.  Yes hind-sight is 20/20, however I always thought he may be doping.  The truth was he still was had an amazing come-back story (doping or not). To be able to compete at that level post cancer.

The establishment of the Livestrong charity, and his come-back story were an inspiration to millions of cancer victims, families, Americans and cyclists.  Over $500M was raised for charity.

In recent years other cyclists have started to come clean about their doping from the late-90’s through the 2000’s.  Lance always denied such wrong-doing. I was pissed that there was a Federal investigation into his Tour racing.  Why are we spending Federal tax dollars on this? There can be no good from this digging.  Let the great come-back story and Lance (the American hero) alone.  Even if he cheated, he did a whole hell lot of good for a lot of people.  He did a lot more good than harm.

So now the media has more news, a hero knocked down from his pedestal.  What good is there with this?

Well we finally know some of the truth.  The truth is ugly.  The fighter, the American hero, the great Lance cheated to achieve greatness.  Does this make him less of a hero?  I think you can only answer that yourself, do not let the media answer it for you.

Lance did harm the cycling community by tarnishing it’s doping image.  He was a leader and others followed his doping.

I think Lance only decided to admit to his doping, cheating and lying when he had no other choice.

My final thoughts: Lance is one hell of a fighter and nobody can take that away from him.  It is disappointing the damage that will further occur on the cycling community.  It is discouraging to the many that have lost a hero.  The great memories of watching Lance in person and on tv are still there.  The memories will be tarnished, however still powerful and amazing.  He will rise from this.  Next stage…….

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4 Responses to “Lance – “The Truth will set you Free”.”

  1. Steve Says:

    Great article Mike. I would agree that Lance is a great story, and he has been an inspiration for many in cycling and with cancer. The difference I see between Lance and others in cycling that took the PEDs is the trail of destruction he created to keep his secret. He used his power and money to destroy careers and reputations of people who questioned him. Most these people did not have the capacity to fight Lance’s legal juggernaut. The truth will set him free, but this is going to be a long sentence to serve. Hopefully he realizes the true affect of this behavior and can become a better man for it.

    • spokesandbeans Says:

      Steve, very true comments about his bullying. There were many people either trying to do the “right thing” and had more integrity. Frankie Andreu, Floyd Landis and others would have had better standings in the cycling community without the off-the-bike attacks from Lance. I am not defending Lance’s actions. My point is that a lot of people are attacking Lance and he did more good than most people could even imagine. I think his fighter, competitive spirit that everybody admired also was the cause of his doping. He would do whatever it took to win, at any cost.

  2. Tommy Moorman Says:

    Mike–I really appreciate your insight as a cycling enthusiast. I have admired Lance Armstrong from a distance for years, but I was hesitant to embrace his success fully since I suspected that his ability to either stay on top or rebound was in part, artificial. The cynic in me has not believed a baseball record, track & field record, or high endurance performance achievement for 20+ years. I am sorry, but I am suspicious of everyone who excels in these areas, which in the end may be the greatest damage of all.

    • spokesandbeans Says:

      Hey Tommy, great comments about all sports. It is sad that we have to be cynics because the trust has been broken by so many. The moral is the true heros are the friends and family members that can be fully trusted.

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