Like so many of the people who believed him, who got inspired by his story, I tried to cling on to the idea that Lance Armstrong was one of the greatest cyclists ever. Even in the face of mounting evidence that there was something fishy about Armstrong’s superhuman feats in the Tour de France, I shrugged off the accusations as sourgraping by dope cheats and lowlife cynics who just can’t handle the idea that towering greatness does exist in the world.
But then came the USADA. Doubts began to surface and made me think if Armstrong was really the man he marketed himself to be.
And then came Oprah, and now I’m neck deep in disbelief, disappointment and disgust.
Disbelief in how I myself got duped into believing that Lance was the persecuted hero in this saga, when all the while he was actually the villain ruining other people’s careers in his quest to preserve his own myth. I can’t believe I really fell for all that fluff.
Disappointment in how someone who already had so much talent would need to stoop so low as to cheat and endanger his own health. Even if he had just won one TDF, hell, even if he had just finished third in the race, it would have already been epic considering that he neary died of cancer a few years before.
And finally disgust. There was one instance in the Oprah interview where it was suggested that Lance was taking performance enhancing drugs even before he was discovered to have cancer. Did his irresponsible use of these banned substances cause his cells to mutate and metastatize? Who knows? But the fact that he used these substances even after he beat cancer just shows how warped his thinking must be. He was again risking his life, just to win some dumb race and stoke his ego.
I have friends who are into running, cycling and tri because of the health and fitness they get from these activities. They will never be as great as Miguel Indurain in cycling, Meb Keflezighi in running or Michael Phelps in swimming. But that doesn’t matter because what’s important is they feel great by doing these things, and the health benefits are quite obvious. I don’t think anyone of them would go into doping just to win some king of the hill competition because what’s important to them is their health. Armstrong, what were you thinking? There goes one gigantic leap backward for the athletic kind.
And what the hell is wrong in the world of competitive cycling? I don’t think I’ll ever watch the Tour De France again with as much enthusiasm as before. Maybe it’s all just a two-wheeled parade of doped up fakery.