Lance Armstrong – The Scapegoat’s Scapegoat

Maybe I’m missing something here but Lance Armstrong has been the most ridiculed, harshly treated athlete accused of cheating in the history of sports.  He hasn’t even faced his accusers or had a trial but he’s been indicted, tried, and sentenced.  New American Justice, guilty until proven innocent; the motto of the former Soviet Union.  Bryant Gumbel just tore in to him on Real Sports and the world seems to have a vendetta against him.  Barry Bonds, a known steroid user, is still listed as the all-time Major League Baseball home run champ.  Why has he not been stripped of that title?  Mark McGwire was not stripped of his 70 and 65 HR seasons in 1998 and 1999 despite steroid use.  From 1988 through 1995 he never hit more than 42 home runs.  Furthermore, there is almost no evidence other than the testimony of other cyclers, all of whom were doping.  Yesterday, the great Spanish cyclist Miguel Indurain said, “Even now I believe in his innocence. He has always respected all the regulations … He has won all the cases he’s had”.  Indurain won five consecutive Tour de France titles from 1991-1995.  If he jumped on the bandwagon he could make his accomplishments loom even larger and yet he supports Armstrong.  All of Armstrong’s endorsements are disappearing and it remains to be seen what will happen to Livestrong, the Charity he founded to help fight cancer.  Eighty-Two cents of every dollar Livestrong raises, goes to cancer awareness and other resources.  One last point, even if Armstrong was doping, so were all of the other premiere riders.  He was just competing on equal footing in a sport, where doping was widespread.  It’s no different than bodybuilding.  Could a non-steroid user compete with all of the steroid users in Mr Olympia for example.  Seven straight Tour de France wins means he did something special.  Bryant Gumbel or I could be the biggest dopers in the world and we still wouldn’t win the Tour de France.  Blood doping doesn’t turn a mediocre athlete in to a superman.  He was and is, an extremely well conditioned athlete and that’s why he won seven stright titles.  That must never be forgotten.  I fully support Armstrong despite the evidence and no one can take away what he accomplished.  Perhaps that’s the reason he hasn’t been more vocal; he knows in his heart of hearts, he was the best rider, given the playing field at the time.  Sometimes, just knowing that is enough.

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