Tuck: Lance Armstrong Cheated Us All

Let me get this out of the way first.  Lance Armstrong did so much good for the ongoing fight against cancer.  He has inspired so many and that can never be taken away from him.  He is an American hero in that respect.  If you believe that you can’t erase the past, then the news of him being found guilty of doping won’t matter much to you.  And I know you are out there as web polls all over the internet indicate that around half of people voting believe Armstrong is innocent.

The US Anti-Doping Agency maintains that Armstrong has used banned substances as far back as 1996, including the blood-booster EPO and steroids as well as blood transfusions — all to boost his performance.  Armstrong has been stripped of his 7 Tour De France titles and has received a lifetime ban from cycling.

Here is the AP release of Lance Armstrong attempting to defend himself.

In a sport as “dirty” as any in the world, where athletes are routinely found to be cheating, where Lance Armstrong’s teammates have been found guilty, and have accused him of cheating too, it’s hard to believe so many people believed Armstrong all this time amid accusations of doping.

He’s certainly been an inspiration to so many that I imagine it’s difficult to equate him to Barry Bonds or Mark McGwire or Sammy Sosa  or Roger Clemens or even Floyd Landis.  Sadly, he is no better, no different.  He cheated millions into believing in him.

And like many of those heroes he joins the company of, you can reflect upon their time in the sun, and still think of them positively if you like.  They were all great athletes, doing great things, and making a lot of people happy.  That’s okay.

But they all still cheated.  And while I marvel at Barry Bonds skill, his record 7-MVP seasons, and a career that stacks up as Hall of Fame-worthy, and one of the best ever, I still am reminded how he did it.  I can’t alter his legacy, and he can’t either.

What makes Lance Armstrong even worse is that he cheated in a sport where it has some serious testing.  And doping, although it happens, is clearly breaking the rules.  At least the baseball players operated in a climate where steroids and PED’s were being taken the sport looked the other way and didn’t seem to mind it was happening.

I’ve already written that Lance Armstrong was the most overrated athlete in history.

I ask again, “Has someone ever accomplished something that so few ever watched or even cared about but acted as if it was the most marvelous feat in the world?”

Lance Armstrong was named the AP Male Athlete of the Year from 2002-2005.  Four straight years?!?!

Lance Armstrong recieved an ESPY as best Male Athlete in 2003, 2004, 2005, and 2006.

If he had done it legitimately it still would have been the silliest voting ever.  Now that we know he cheated, it is all the more comical he was recognized for a supposed greatness that never should have been treated like it was.  He won a bike race.  Celebrate it once perhaps as it associated with his overcoming of cancer, but pretending it was suddenly something greater was erroneous.  Emotions clearly became involved.

Lance Armstrong’s popularity was built on emotions.  I am not tearing his legacy down.  I am merely reporting that Lance Armstrong was a false Deity.

Many will choose to pretend this is all a dream and continue to honor and cherish him.  I won’t wake you if that’s what you want.

Many will be angry and feel cheated.  I won’t stop you.

Many won’t care.  And I ask, why did we ever care so much to begin with?