Living strong regardless of allegations
Published: Tuesday, September 4, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, September 4, 2012 00:09
When I first thought about the recent Lance Armstrong news, I realized it would have been easy to cast him into the endless pit that is cheating in the sport of cycling.
Doping and cycling are as common as brushing your teeth in the morning. By refusing to continue to fight allegations of doping, the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) has banned Armstrong for life and stripped him of his seven Tour De France titles.
Interestingly enough, the USADA does not have the power to strip the titles. That power rests with the sport’s governing body, the Union Cycliste Internationale.
As in most cases, there are two sides to every story.
Despite the fact that Armstrong passed an estimated 500 drug tests issued by USADA, the committee acted on the testimonies of his peers due to a lack of scientific proof. Floyd Landis, one of Armstrong’s teammates and the ex-2006 champion, contributed to the hearsay evidence.
This presents the question: how is it possible that USADA can take away seven titles without receiving a positive test?
It’s no secret that USADA has endorsed sketchy standards at times, and in the Armstrong case, the committee stayed true to form. After battling the USADA for many years, the emotional effects on his family and on his foundation were too much to bear.
In a statement declaring his reason to stop fighting the case, Armstrong said, “There comes a point in every man’s life when he has to say, ‘Enough is enough.’ For me, that time is now.”
To be honest, it makes no difference whether he cheated or not. Armstrong is not the villain in this situation, regardless of whether or not he subjected himself to blood doping. The man beat cancer and went on to win the most prestigious cycling race seven consecutive times.
Cheater or not, Armstrong will forever be a hero to many. He has raised close to $500 million for cancer research, and the day after Armstrong announced his decision to stop fighting the case, Livestrong received 770 percent in donations compared to what it had the previous day.
Armstrong is a competitor in every aspect of life and I am confident he will dedicate all his time to fighting cancer and fighting for those affected by the disease.
That is why I support Lance Armstrong, doping or not, because he is an inspiration. He was given a 40 percent chance to live after his testicular cancer spread to his brain, lungs and abdomen, but he never gave up. After witnessing him triumph time after time, it would be wrong to think a crooked organization is going to prevent him from fighting everyday for cancer patients.
Armstrong’s true talent may lie in serving as an inspiration for victims young and old. Maybe they look at Armstrong’s story and say, “if he can do it, why can’t I?”
If cycling is not his true calling in life, then helping those who have and will experience the same pain he endured is. Armstrong surpassed all expectations in the face adversity, and if anyone knows how to “Livestrong,” it’s this man.