North Texas Daily

Doping scandal isn’t sad – just disappointing

Doping scandal isn’t sad – just disappointing

October 23
23:23 2012

Long after Lance Armstrong racked up seven consecutive Tour de France titles and hung up his helmet, we heard years of hushed rumors, seemingly baseless accusations and investigations that appeared to go nowhere regarding the legitimacy of the athlete’s success. But on Monday, something finally happened.

Or – more precisely – it didn’t happen. In response to a recent report from the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), the president of the International Cycling Union erased all seven of Armstrong’s victories from the Tour’s record books. In doing so, he wrote the final lines of the athlete’s irreversible fall from grace in the eyes of the cycling community and the world.

Cancer may have almost killed him in 1996, but this year’s investigation by the USADA dug his grave. The 1,000-page report includes sworn testimony from 11 of the cyclist’s former teammates, and explains in great detail how Armstrong managed to stay one step ahead of his drug tests and still maintain an edge through doping during his Tour de France performances.

As far as history is concerned, nobody won the Tour between 1999 and 2005, and Lance Armstrong’s name will no longer be considered synonymous with perseverance and willpower.

Instead, the record will show an unfortunate history of deception and dishonesty, spread by a man who used his moral high ground as a cancer survivor and his immense fame to silence his critics and bully his teammates into sharing his regimen of performance-enhancing drugs.

Drug use is widespread in the world of professional cycling, and anyone who follows the sport closely is probably not too surprised by these findings. The genuine shame of these revelations is less related to the fact that Armstrong abused drugs to achieve his seven victories, and more related to the unfortunate truth that by choosing to do so, the athlete has betrayed the legacy and image he worked for decades to promote.

The Armstrong cycling team, along with the Lance Armstrong Foundation founded to help cancer sufferers and their families, were built on an uplifting story of great personal triumph and success over hardship. Armstrong beat an aggressively spreading cancer against unfavorable odds, and his quick return to the bicycle seat inspired cancer sufferers around the world to keep fighting – but what kind of inspiration do they have now?

It takes real sleaze to pull the rug out from under so many fans, but when it comes to racing all the way to the bottom, it looks like Lance is our man.

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