Lance Armstrong: A Hero I Used to Know
Lance Armstrong embodied perseverance of a heroic state. The cyclist was a cancer survivor who not only won his battle with cancer, but seemingly proceeded to win an unprecedented seven consecutive Tour de France titles. He revitalized the sport and arguably brought more attention to the sport of cycling than any other cyclist in its history. He inspired millions of people around the world with his Livestrong Foundation. A foundation that championed cancer-stricken people and brought awareness to the cause. Against all odds the cancer survivor had become the epitome of resilience.
I remember buying the yellow Livestrong plastic bracelet in support of Armstrong’s foundation and of the athlete. I believed I was supporting an honorable man who did the impossible. I now know it is truly impossible what he “accomplished.” When news broke this summer of the U.S. Anti Doping Agency prosecuting the cyclist for doping, I stood firm in my support. I gave him the benefit of the doubt. I thought it was a product of a corrupt agency and of testimonial from “fallen” cyclists. Cyclists attempting to secure immunity from their bouts of cheating.
I supported Armstrong when his ex-wife said she helped him dope. My faith began to waver, but I remained resolute in my conviction. Resolute due to my inability to acknowledge the truth. The truth that Lance Armstrong was no hero. He was a fake. A fraud. When Armstrong’s former teammates, drivers, and practically everyone in contact with him during his professional career came forward to admit his cheating, there was no more room for denial. I had to accept the fact.
Armstrong has since stepped down as chairman of the Livestrong Foundation. Nike and other prominent companies have ended their endorsement deals. Armstrong is accused of using blood doping methods that masquerade the tampering. The doping boosts the athlete’s energy level and time of recovery. The method would explain why he never failed a drug test.
The Livestrong Foundation has raised more than 470 billion dollars on behalf of cancer research and awareness. If Armstrong’s “successes” inspired patients to get screened or diagnosed, does the end justify the means?
Overall I feel let down.
Simply disappointed of somebody I used to know.
Twitter: @adrakontaidis & @talkrealdebate