Toronto Star, Canada
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Critics have Nothing on Lance Armstrong (de Volkskrant,
"Anyone in a
bicycle seat during those years with the aim of winning big races had little
choice. Talent and training zeal weren't enough. ... It would be tempting and far
too easy to consider doping to be the ultimate proof of depravity, and to
peddle our own versions of moral superiority from the comfort of our easy chairs."
By Bert Wagendorp
Translated By Marion Pini
October 13, 2012
Netherlands - de Volkskrant – Original Article
Between 1999 and 2005, Lance Armstrong didn't won the Tour entirely
in accordance with the rules. There have been doubts for some time, but now
that eleven of his former teammates have spilled the beans under oath, it can
be assumed that Armstrong did indeed disregard doping regulations.
The massive outrage that erupted after the United States Anti-Doping Agency released
the Armstrong report was remarkable. Even this newspaper's usually cheerful TV
critic was foaming at the mouth about “junkies and criminals who walk around
peddling old bicycles” surrounded by corrupt sports journalists.
Firstly, we're talking about brand new bicycles that can cost
tens of thousands of euros apiece. Secondly,
Armstrong is not a criminal. He has violated a sports regulation and failed to
act in accordance with the applicable standards of sportsmanship and fairness,
but that is something quite different. You can’t really call him a junkie, nor would
you automatically classify everyone who ever used a syringe as such. Furthermore, the average sportswriter works just as hard as the
average TV critic, and the health of the average pro cyclist is a lot better
than both these groups of professionals.
Lance Armstrong was an incredibly talented top athlete, both
physically and psychologically. You can reproach him for having a pathological
need to win, but that character trait is a common one in the world of sport.
Then in 1992 he made his debut in the professional cycling
world just as the use of EPO began in earnest - and
not just in that sport by the way. EPO drastically
increases the capacity of blood to take up oxygen - and it was undetectable.
The first was an enormous advantage in any endurance sport; the second was a
Worldmeets.US on Facebook
The nineties of the last century and the first half of the
first decade of this one were the EPO-years of sport.
EPO came in handy for cycling, athletics, skating,
swimming, skiing and football.
Anyone in a bicycle seat during those years with the aim of
winning big races had little choice. Talent and training zeal weren't enough, hematocrit
levels had to be at least 50 percent and preferably somewhat higher. Knowing
that, Armstrong and many along with him drew their own conclusions.
Posted by Worldmeets.US
It would be tempting and far too easy to consider doping to
be the ultimate proof of depravity, and to peddle our own versions of moral
superiority from the comfort of our easy chairs.
SEE ALSO ON THIS:
La Stampa, Italy:
Lance Armstrong Gives Italians Sense of Legal Superiority
The Astounding Cost of Lance Armstrong's Downfall
The 'Good Fable' of Lance Armstrong
Le Monde, France:
Lance Armstrong: Tour de France 'Messiah'
Yezhednevniy Zhurnal, Russia:
Politically Correct Olympics Approached 'Fascism'
Of the many reactions, of one thing stands out it is the
tendency toward severe oversimplification. Amid the complex interplay of
sponsors, teams, media and event organizers, the athlete is but a small pawn.
He has a choice: join in or get out - there are ten others eager to take his
Why does the athlete who engages in the use of substances to
boost performance arouse hysteria? Perhaps because he has deprived up of the
false illusion of fair sport. Perhaps because we perceive the athlete as a role
model - something he himself never asked for by the way.
But mostly, I think, because now that Lucifer has slipped from
our grasp, it's nice to be able to give evil a name again. Evil in the form of
a simple guy who happened to cycle fast and is also an arrogant American.
The anger at the corrupt, megalomaniac, commercialized sport,
all focused on one person, means we don’t have to think about anyone else.
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