I was a big cycling fan before the sport got popular in our country. And, back in the day, I was a pretty serious cyclist myself–I spoke the lingo, wore the gaudy jerseys, shaved the legs, rode custom racing bikes with “Campy Record” components and I had the muscled-up quads one only gets from logging thousands of miles in the saddle.
My single most memorable day on the bike took place at a big event in Italy. You see, I wanted to personally experience what an epic day in the Tour de France might feel like. So, on that one day, I rode my bike 130 miles in the Dolomite Mountains–and completed 17,000 feet of climbing along the way. Needless to say, when I saw the “Arrivo” banner at the end, I was totally wiped out. At the very same time, however, I was on Cloud Nine, knowing that I hung in there and did something pretty special.
Well, with that as a backdrop, it should come as no surprise that I was a huge Lance Armstrong fan. Like so many other of his supporters, I drank his Kool-Aid. My gosh, this is the guy who bounced back from cancer, started a foundation to help and support others, wrote a great book called “It’s Not About the Bike,” and did what no other human being has ever done before—win what I consider to be the most grueling endurance event in all of sport seven times. I still have my July 2000 issue of Sports Illustrated. He’s on the cover, which says “Tour de Force: The Amazing Lance Armstrong.”
Well, Lance wasn’t so amazing after all. Following years of vehement denials, he just confessed to doping. The guy I admired so much turned out to be just another dirty athlete, as well as an incredible liar. The kicker is that I don’t even know what the worst part of the whole sad mess is.
What do you think was the worst part of the Lance Armstrong case?
- Was it that another hero turned out to be just one more fake?
- Was it that he doped in the first place?
- Was it that he lied about it for so many years?
- Was it that he destroyed the lives of others along the way?
- Was it that he let so many people down, like his fans, believers and family?
- Was it that he severely damaged the Foundation he started?
- Was it that he severely damaged the sport he claims to love?
- Was it that he still hasn’t come completely clean?
- Was it that his motives for coming forward may not be pristine?
- Or was it that he reinforces the “do whatever it takes” mentality that is so destructive?
Share your thoughts on what lessons we may learn from this in the comments.