Unless you have been living under a rock, over the past couple of months you would have seen Lance Armstrong’s career go down faster and harder than an intern during the Clinton administration.
At least he has finally had the ball to come out on Oprah and admit it publicly.
Before you start yelling and screaming at me. No, I don’t for a second think that it is wrong to make jokes about him. He has made a joke of his sport and the public for far to long. He has cheated his way to the front of the pack whilst unfairly getting millions of dollars in sponsorship. For that reason, it is more than fair that he gets everything that is being thrown at him.
I don’t admire drug cheats. Anti-doping agencies are there to make sure that there is a fair and level playing field for all competitors. I fully support the efforts of the anti-doping bodies in stamping out the use of drugs in sport. Using performance enhancing drugs in a drug free sport is cheating, plain and simple, and nobody likes a cheat.
Lets be honest for a second here though. Who doesn’t want to see a man run 100 meters in 3.7 seconds or clear a 17 meter high jump? It would be brilliant entertainment! I am sure more people would watch badminton if the shuttlecock was flying back and forth at 150 kph, and soccer would be much more entertaining if the goalkeeper had a slight chance of being decapitated by a 200kph Lionel Messi Free Kick.
Who doesn’t want to see a man run 100 meters in 3.7 seconds or clear a 17 meter high jump?
The problem with Lance Armstrong is not so much the fact that he took performance enhancing drugs. The issue is that he cheated in a sport that was supposedly drug free. He took banned substances and allegedly had an army working with him to cheat the tests. He lied about it, profited from it, lied about it some more, profited some more, then lied again under oath. He fought court battle after court battle, winning the fight against anyone who dared accuse him of taking drugs only to now turn around and laugh in the face of everyone. If he was Pinocchio there would be female dolls lining up around the corner to sit on his nose.
A possible solution to all of this is if cycling and other sports plagued by drug controversies do what they do in sports such as bodybuilding. This is a sport that has such deeply engrained drug use that they thought, stuff it, and decided to have 2 different sides of competition. There are clean competitions where competitors are tested for banned substances. There is also another, darker side of the sport, where officials turn a blind eye to drugs and anything goes. That is where the freaks come out and it is far more interesting to watch.
I know that performance enhancing drugs are quite capable of turning a persons heart into a supercharger and frying their brain, turning the user into a slobbering mess before their 25th birthday. My point is that nobody forces athletes to take these drugs. Those that do so do it by their own choice and therefore it is their own fault when they cannot function as a person later in life. If they want to sacrifice their body for the sake of winning a few gold medals, let them do it, they are the ones who will have to bare the consequences.
Having a natural and un-natural side of sports is a great idea in theory but it would never work. If there is more money in the natural competitions, competitors would still have a reason to cheat. If there was more money in the un-natural competitions then everybody would be forced to turn to the drugs in order to make money from the sport.
The truth is that there is no easy answer to the question of doping and drugs in sport.
I am interested to see how this whole Lance Armstrong thing plays out. He must be going through a hard time at the moment so its going to be tough. If he wants to get through it he just needs to keep up with the same act he has been putting on for years. He also needs to remain positive… Like his blood.
Oh, if you are unsure of what to do with your Lance Armstrong ‘Livestrong’ bracelet now, just do what I did… Grab a pen and draw an R on ot so it says ‘Liverstrong’ and use it as inspiration when you go out drinking.
Update: Lance Armstrong did sell his soul to the devil as proven by his soulless performance on Oprah!
Update 2: This made me laugh… Lance Armstrong books have been moved to the fiction section of an Australian library.