By Doug Halberstadt
Seven-time Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong has been reduced from a prominent international sports icon to the butt of jokes and one-liners. His fall from grace can be attributed to two main causes, both entirely self-inflicted.
His inability to avoid taking PEDs (performance-enhancing drugs) during his cycling competitions was the beginning to his end. For years now, rumors and accusations about illegal doping have been linked to Armstrong. The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency claimed they had “overwhelming” evidence Armstrong was involved “in the most sophisticated, professionalized and successful doping program.”
Last October, those allegations led to the International Cycling Union stripping him of all his Tour de France titles. Last week, the International Olympic Committee stripped him of the bronze medal he won in the men’s individual time trial in the 2000 Olympics.
If those things weren’t bad enough, I think the real disgrace associated with this story is his dishonesty. For several years now, he’s consistently denied using PEDs and always said he had never failed a drug test. It wasn’t until last week during a television interview with Oprah Winfrey that he admitted taking testosterone and human growth hormone. He stated, “This was one big lie that I repeated a lot of times.”
That repeated lie not only cost him his medals, but more importantly, it cost him the adoration and trust of fans worldwide. “They have every right to feel betrayed, and it’s my fault,” he said. “I will spend the rest of my life trying to earn back trust and apologize to people.”
One of the jokes I read online told how librarians all over the country were going to be busy this week moving all of the books Armstrong has written from the non-fiction section over to the storybook area.
That’s hardly the legacy anyone would desire, but it is one he earned and deserves. He truly brought it on himself.
Doug Halberstadt can be reached via e-mail at Dougster61@aol.com.
From the Jan. 23-29, 2013, issue