While debating what I wanted to write about this time, I was shuffling through ideas inside my mind and decided that I wanted to just talk again. Say what’s on my mind and see what people think about it. No recipes, workouts, fitness advice, or anything like that yet… because I am out of shape, very much so.
The recent changes in the Lance Armstrong doping scandal has really had me thinking a lot lately because whenever I go onto ESPN.com to get my daily updates for all the sports that I love to follow, there is some fresh news about the founder of Livestrong. Now, as you will see in all my later fitness-related posts, I am very much so against the use of performance enhancing drugs (PEDs). I will go into more depth about this in a post about supplements, steroids, PEDs, etc., but for now let’s stick with Lance.
Disclaimer: I am not the biggest cycling fan. I am a swimmer who trains triathletes in their swimming. Some of them are cyclists and I have an opinion of them, compared to runners and swimmers. Also, I am not fond of sports that cater to a certain demographic, namely the populations that are wealthier and in more developed countries. However, I realize that with our global situation, there is not much I can do about that now so when I think of cycling, I take this all into consideration. Therefore, I will not let my personal dislike for cycling as a sport affect anything pertaining to Lance or his legacy.
So, a bit of background that most people are aware of pertaining to the most decorated and famous cyclists ever. That statement, I believe, is not arguable. Lance is a 5’9”, 157 lb, 40 year old athlete who started riding professionally in 1992. From 1999-2005, he won every Tour de France, and throughout his career he has won other various races and titles in both rode races, of various distances. Lance also has competed in multiple mountain bike races, triathlons, and marathons. However, Lance is a well known philanthropist who founded the Lance Armstrong Foundation for research and support of cancer victims. This came after Lance fought and won a bout with testicular cancer, which most people know as a result of the millions of bright yellow Livestrong wrist bands. While Lance has the most successful charity created by an athlete, his morals and values have consistently been questioned due to a belief that he has been doping.
Now (this is a rant, I will be wrong about many things, but I’m trying to express how I feel), I bet if Lance Armstrong came in second place for every won of those seven races, no one would have ever bothered him. BUT, since he won all seven, there are allegations and stories dating back to 1999, conveniently, of Lance doping. Essentially, Travis Tygart, the current “head” of the USADA (United States Anti-Doping Agency), a relatively recently formed government body, has really been the person to collect “evidence” in an effort to punish Lance for “cheating.” Tygart claims that he has testimonials from multiple witnesses that claim Lance used performance enhancing drugs, offered them to teammates to help them win, told competitors during races that he uses them, and every other claim imaginable.
The funny part is that Lance has hundreds of legitimate drug tests throughout his career, specifically 1999-2005, and he never once tested positive for any PEDs. I think Lance’s evidence is better than anything that Tygart can bring up, besides a positive test. Seriously? Who would ever believe that all of these individuals, who are essentially enemies or rivals, would tell the truth about this matter. Let’s say the guy in second place in the 2000 Tour de France said “of course he cheated, he told me during the race.” And Tygart believed him and used it as evidence in his “case.” Lance is stripped of the title and who gets it? Oh, that same guy… hmm, that’s not sketchy. Seriously, Tygart has a horrible case and argument, AND he has yet to reveal any good evidence. So why would he go through all this trouble? Ego.
Who is Travis Tygart? I bet anything that only one in every one million people know who he is. They’re all either professional athletes, work for the USADA, or have followed the Lance story (I’m sure other people know him, but not many) . His job definitely pays well and who can say if he deserves it… well, I can. You would think that the head of the USADA would focus on athletes that are currently competing in the biggest events in the world. How about you try to catch someone that isn’t past their prime and hasn’t practically retired (to help cancer research of all things). I mean really, you single-handedly (or maybe with the help of some other people close to you) tried to destroy Lance’s legacy.
What would that mean? Loss of sponsors for the Lance Armstrong Foundation? Without those sponsors and funding, one of the best charities for cancer research would have to shut down… wow, think about that one. Luckily, so far, all of Lance’s biggest sponsors, like Nike, Anheuser-Busch, Oakley and bunch others, have decided to back him up and stand behind him despite allegations. But Travis Tygart, to get back on track, must have a huge ego and realizes the best way for him to get famous, or infamous, is to go after Lance.
Now, it’s hard for me to go against Lance, not because I like the guy or the work that he’s done, but because he has passed every drug test. If you want to stop doping, then make better drug tests for the future. Maybe you missed a few in the past… well it might be your fault. I know the USADA haven’t been around forever, but you need to start from scratch, set great procedures, and stick to them. What good is stripping Lance of his seven titles going to do? Make thousands of people, maybe more, that got into cycling because of one man, get out of cycling. It’s a stupid effort and a waste of resources for the USADA. Take his titles and ban him for life from cycling. Everyone knows who won those races. Lance, who potentially was on PEDs, managed to beat the best pro-cyclists in the world (I’m sure most of them were on PEDs too).
Next, (and I read this in an article) go after Babe Ruth for drinking beers before a game during Prohibition while tons of collegiate and professional athletes use PEDs without getting any backlash for it. And they might be bad people. Lance isn’t. You might argue that he’s a jerk, or doesn’t tip well, or yield to pedestrians, but he’s raised over 500 million dollars for cancer research and that is a fact. So shut up, Travis Tygart, get over yourself. Just because Lance is better looking, more athletic, richer, helps more people, smarter, etc., doesn’t give you the right to try to one-up him in the only way you can, by cheating. Seriously, I hate cheaters. I once got a 7/100 on an AP Calculus test in high school because I refused to cheat. Romney probably likes Tygart’s status updates on Facebook.