Entertainment

Lance Armstrong: The Fall of a Sporting Great

Secretly many people look at professional cycling and see nothing more than drugged up athletes who are all happy to compromise honesty for the possibility of, say, a yellow jersey in the Tour de France.  Yes, we're speaking of you, Lance Armstrong. Year after year doping allegations are proved true and riders are stripped of their medals and trophies. It always the same denials, followed by a media circus when they are finally outed.

Lance Armstrong
Image source: The original uploader was Hase at German Wikipedia. / CC BY-SA via Wikimedia Commons

Introduction: Lance Armstrong

Back in 2012, the International Cycling Union (UCI) which is based in Geneva, finally erased him from the sport’s history. The US Anti-Doping Agency had already made public it’s damning findings. They claimed that Armstrong was at the center of, “the most sophisticated, professionalized and successful doping program that sport has ever seen”. “He was not just a part of the doping culture on his team,” said the USADA. “He enforced and re-enforced it.”

Still Loved by His Fans

This final act in Geneva, played out on the world stage, was a fitting end to the Texan big-mouthed bigot. As the UCI president Pat McQuaid said to reporters, he was “sickened” by the revelations, adding: “Lance Armstrong has no place in cycling.” He’s already had to pay back the $4 million in prize money from 7 Tour de France wins. Plus a huge dent of over $75 million in sponsorship payments. In spite of these huge sums, he still remains a very wealthy man. And here’s the funny part of the whole story. He still has thousands of fans.

Lance Armstrong: Was He All Bad?

Though his cycling legacy speaks of cheating in all manner of ways, he still has a huge army of distractors. They point out, that yes, he did dope. But he also did some other pretty amazing things. He won a battle against life-threatening cancer. Then there’s the work for his various charities. Back in 1996, doctors gave him a 50/50 chance of survival after a diagnose of testicular cancer that had then spread to his brain and lungs. In spite of this, he beat it and then returned to cycling to win his first Tour de France in 1999. By doing so he almost single-handedly raised the profile of cycling across the US.

Fair-Play Matters at the Intertops Sportsbook

Cancer Research

It also gave him a platform to support his cancer research causes. All told, The Lance Armstrong Foundation raised over $500 million since it’s creation in 1997. It’s true that in the aftermath of these allegations, many of his sponsors did drop out. But does that make his fundraising feats anything less than extraordinary? We’ll admit that we’re sailing close to a moral conundrum here. Up to what point does a bad person do good things, even if those things were bought with money from lies and cheating. Thinking this through is above our pay grade.

Lance Armstrong
Lance in 2009 – Image source: Pallicca / CC BY-SA via Wikimedia Commons

Lance Armstrong: Always was a Doper

But even back in Lance’s glory days, there were many who were skeptical of his cycling prowess. All the way back in 1999 there were the inklings of what was to grow to be an unstoppable monster fueled by drugs and power. Then he produced a small amount of corticosteroid but explained it away as part of a skin cream used to treat saddle sore. In 2000, after another triumphant Tour, the French authorities took a close look at Lance and his team but declined to bring charges. He maintained a friendship with the Italian doctor who was banned over doping in 2002.

He Sued His Accusers

Then in 2004, a Texas promotions company declined to pay him a previously agreed sponsorship fee of $5 million. They claimed that there were now serious doping allegations coming from Europe. Such was his cockiness, that he took them to court and won the $5 million-plus $2 million in cost. As you can imagine, they don’t have a single good word to say after the man. During that court case, a former teammate, Frankie Andreu and his wife, Betsy, testified that Lance had told doctors treating his cancer about his prolific use of steroids and performance-enhancing drugs. That’s because Lance really believed that it was these specialist drugs he was taking in order to win racers, that had actually caused his cancer in the first place.

It Starts to Fall Apart

Then two books came out at more or less the same time. “L.A. Confidential” and “L.A. Official”. They both alleged that he had doped. Then in 2005, the French newspaper L’Equipe said that previous urine samples that had been retested showed the use of blood-booster EPO. Though Armstrong continued on the path of denials and court cases, the past was catching up with him. Finally, eleven former teammates came out with tales of destructive bullying.

Lance Armstrong: Final Admission

Finally, Lance Armstrong confessed to Oprah Winfrey on Jan 4th, 2013, that he had been using these drugs all throughout his career. He admitted to using these and other methods to win the Tour de France seven times. So the real question is why did he finally fess up? On the Oprah show he talks about being unable to lie to his son. But the guy is a megalomaniac and has a severe narcissistic disorder. Also, he was very careful to NOT mention all the people he took a mighty dump on over the years by suing them whenever someone mentioned drug use.

Lance Armstrong
Armstrong has one of the most famous doping stories – Image source: Flickr

Promoting a Book

Some say he came clean because he had no other way of garnering the attention he so needs. But we should always look to Occam’s razor, for the real answer. And that was he had a book coming out. And what better way to promote it than by spilling his guts on daytime TV! Secretly many people look at professional cycling and see nothing more than drugged up athletes who are all happy to compromise honesty for the possibility of, say, a yellow jersey in the Tour de France. Year after year doping allegations are proved true and riders are stripped of their medals and trophies. It always the same denials, followed by a media circus when they are finally outed.

Lance Armstrong: A Bully and a Cheat

But Lance Armstrong is much more deserving of our disgust. He was the poster boy, who threatened and bullied other riders in his selfish quest to be the best. Now we can look at him as one of sports history’s greatest losers. A brazen cheat who, whilst cheating himself, treated those who decided to look a little too close, to court cases and bullying. Back in 2012, the International Cycling Union (UCI) which is based in Geneva, finally erased him from the sport’s history. The US Anti-Doping Agency had already made public it’s damning findings. They claimed that Armstrong was at the center of, “the most sophisticated, professionalized and successful doping program that sport has ever seen”. “He was not just a part of the doping culture on his team,” said the USADA. “He enforced and re-enforced it according to the latest online sportsbooks news in the US.

Click here to visit the Intertops Sportsbook

Discuss Lance Armstrong: The Fall of a Sporting Great | User Rating