All the news on the Lance Armstrong affair has left me with questions and unresolved thoughts. I’m not really expecting anyone to read this post but the act of writing often helps me marshall my thinking. Here then, my random thoughts:
Armstrong was a phenomenal athlete but we now know for certain that he cheated, lied & bullied. His sporting record, quite rightly, is null & void. However his work through Livestrong to support cancer sufferers & their families has also been caught up in this. Arguably, he did more in the name of charity than any other athlete, celebrity or politician in living memory. Should we also expunge & decry his positive contribution? For a long time I proudly wore my Livestrong wristband, and now? Well now, I am conflicted.
No matter how bad the Armstrong revelation is, it hasn’t shocked me as much as when David Millar was exposed. I still remember feeling physically sick when that news came out. There were many riders about whom I was suspicious but I would have sworn blind that Millar was clean. Time makes fools of us all. I stopped watching & following cycling for a long time after that. I even discouraged my son from getting involved in the sport. I don’t feel that way today. I think that may be because I have retained faith in Wiggo & the Sky setup.
There seem to be uneven standards at play. I have no argument with the persecution of Armstrong, but why are Landis & Hamilton allowed to profit from the situation? They lied & cheated and were at the very least complicit in the bullying too. The exploits of Miguel Indurain never seem to be discussed, was he really above suspicion?
A lot of commentators claim that Armstrong is coming clean because he wants to compete in Triathlons. Well maybe, but I can’t help thinking that if he really just wants to compete he could just establish his own league. He has the contacts and the organisational skill. Heck, for all I know, he may have more money than the World Triathlon Corporation (not fact checked).