Well, the French are probably ecstatic today. Lance Armstrong has officially been stripped of his seven wins in the Tour de France cycling race, and all other victories Armstrong racked up since 1998 have been officially invalidated. He’s been banned from competing in future competitions, and his athletic career is now over. This a sad ending to a fabled athletic career. What I like/d about Lance Armstrong was that despite the tribulations he faced, he never, ever gave up. Faced with a highly dangerous case of cancer, he prevailed over it, and continued not only to compete, but to win.
Which is what makes his decision to stop fighting the doping charges against him all the more confusing and disappointing. Armstrong and his camp claim that they’re not able to get a fair chance, that the outcome seems predetermined, and that continuing their struggle to uphold his name was in vain. For someone who’s faced long odds before, and in a life and death matter where the outcome was even weightier, this, sadly, confirms my hunch that he did, at least at some point, probably engage in doping.
I think Armstrong’s tactic to pull out of the proceedings against him was a fairly cynical move. I think it’s a preventative measure that likely was meant to forestall the inevitable full disclosure of some fairly damning physical evidence against him, and that cutting the proceedings short at this point was the least painful way for him to end the process and to retain at least a certain degree of dignity in so doing.
A man who has beaten a case of cancer that could have easily killed him, and would usually end such a grand career is not a person that throws in the towel easily. I believe that Lance Armstrong, had he actually been innocent, would have continued his fight against these charges, no matter what the outlook was. Only the truly guilty cut their losses when the handwriting is on the wall, and the jig is up. It’s a very disappointing end for a truly exceptional, albeit, highly flawed man.
And it marks yet another activity in which public confidence has been badly shaken by allegations of corruption, both by the participants and those who regulate it. From the dozens of political scandals to the economic collapse of a few years ago, to Joe Paterno to this Armstrong affair, a very clear and very sad pattern is emerging wherein those who are in positions of power to abuse the system do so without compunction.
The story of Lance Armstrong is a sad one, and because of the fact that we find it being played out, over and over again throughout various scenarios in society is what makes it all the more worrying, and heartbreaking.