Armstrong! Can I have your Autograph?'
A Shattering Fall from Grace:
'Dr. Armstrong and Mr. Hyde' (Polityka, Poland)
fans had little love for the American - to put it mildly. They accused him of wicked
deeds of doping. It turns out they were right. ... Today, I know definitively that
Lance Armstrong is no hero of cycling. He is just a guy who used to be an able
rider, but wasn't talented enough to come in first year after year. Above all, Armstrong
believed that talent and hard work aren't enough, and drew radical conclusions
Is this really the end? Lance Armstrong was stripped today
of all his victories in the Tour de France. He won quite a few - seven. The
heroes of yesteryear - Jacques
Anquetil and Eddy Merckx
- who both won five Tours - once again share the record. In the nineties, when Armstrong
was suspected of using illegal methods, Merckx was one
of the American's fiercest defenders. After all, Merckx
himself remembers how much the French did not want to see him match the amazing
achievement of Anquetil.
French fans had little love for the American - to put it
mildly. They accused him of wicked deeds of doping. It turns out they were
right. Now, many of them would likely prefer these accusations be left
unconfirmed. As of today, how would one tell the story of the Tour's most famed
participant? Who will be said to have won these seven races? Shall we say a
jury voted and decided not to award anyone first place?
Cycling is another sport I gave my heart to many
years ago. Before that, I fell in love with boxing and weightlifting. Today,
cyclists are crying that they are victims of their own determination to pursue
the wicked. But if fewer bikers were doping, cycling would have about the same
amount of prosecutions as other disciplines. But things turned out differently.
It has been a long time since I've been excited about
cycling, because I never know whether I'm cheering the best rider or the most
skillful doper (however "doping" is defined these days). I am not so
naïve as to think that every competitor is breaking the rules, However, a lot
of it is going on. Today, I know definitively that Lance Armstrong is no hero
of cycling. He is just a guy who used to be an able rider, but wasn't talented
enough to come in first year after year. Above all, Armstrong believed that
talent and hard work aren't enough, and drew radical conclusions from that. It's
amazing that for so many years, despite his troubles and accusations, he managed
to dodge, cover his tracks, and convince the public and the various committees.
But now it's over.
It's Dr. Armstrong and Mr. Hyde. Armstrong won his own battle
against cancer and established a foundation that has collected $500 million. Even
now, when there is no longer any doubt, a good number of Americans have
forgiven him his sins because, “he does so much good” for cancer victims. These
people see clear to forgiving all the evil of Lance's doping deeds.
Every one of Armstrong’s sponsors are gone for good. Legal
proceedings and court defeats probably await him, and he may have to return his
million-dollar awards. Cycling as a whole will have a difficult time now. This
is a bad sign for many existing sponsors. And that is good.
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