Oh yeah, I said it, I have an opinion, and it will most likely not be popular. That’s ok, it’s open for debate in the comments. And if you don’t like it, you can suck my dick. I am in no way qualified to write this piece, I follow cycling as closely as I follow Northern Korean politics.
With that said, we all know Lance, the former professional road racing cyclist, who had won the Tour de France a record seven consecutive times between 1999 and 2005, but in 2012 was disqualified from all his results since August 1998 for using and distributing performance-enhancing drugs and banned from professional cycling for life.
In 1996, the guy was diagnosed with testicular cancer that had spread to his brain and lungs. Fuck! His cancer treatments included brain and testicular surgery and extensive chemotherapy. In February 1997, he was declared cancer-free and the same year he founded the Lance Armstrong Foundation for cancer support. By January 1998, Armstrong had renewed serious cycling training, having signed a new racing contract with US Postal. He was a member of the US Postal/Discovery team between 1998 and 2005. On July 24, 2005, Armstrong retired from racing at the end of the 2005 Tour de France, but returned to competitive cycling with the Astana team in January 2009 and finished third in the 2009 Tour de France.
If you want his entire life story, you can find it anywhere, but the bottom line is this. He lied. He lied supremely. Not only did he lie, but vehemently denied and defended his innocence while he was doping.
Guess what? So has every other fucking addict of any sort in the world! The guy fucked up royally, and now admits it. HE has to live with that. He has been stripped of all his accolades and awards. He has been banned from ever doing the thing he loves most professionally again. He is in the spotlight, and everyone sits and judges him and his mistakes, all the while feeling entitled to do so. He is not a fucking superhero. He’s a guy, one hell of a talented athlete who took shit to perform better like everyone else around him in that culture. Why do people feel so freaking “let down” like they found out Superman was just a dude in a cape all along. Jesus. No one is qualified to judge him. He is paying his dues, he is being punished accordingly, but give the guy a break.
If you did not watch the fucking Oprah interview (because she is perfect, of course) do so on youtube, or don’t, but there are a few things from it that jumped out and smacked me in the face. He said he went after his Cancer with a win at all costs attitude. It served him well. He then took that same attitude into his sport, and life in general. He said he spent his life with a need to CONTROL everything and every outcome, and that piqued after his battle with cancer. There is so much of what he said that I can relate to. His ego was/is huge, he gets it. He is a control addict, he did anything he had to do to win. He justified it to himself, and rationalized it all away. It caught up with him.
Lance Armstrong is a 41 year old human being. He is flawed like the rest of us. He fucked up royally like we all do, but he is in the public eye so he is extra busted. He is arrogant, he has an enormous ego, so what, that’s his shit and he either will or will not work on it. Does anyone remember that little humanitarian effort of his though, LIVESTRONG? He did some good shit, too. Let’s keep it real. I’m sure every person behind every humanitarian effort is a fucking saint, not.
All of this talk about how mother’s are so heartbroken that their children’s idol is not a superhero after all, but a liar! Parents, there’s a bigger lesson here for your kids. There’s a bigger lesson for you. It’s about success and failure and truth and lies, and consequence. It’s about the human condition, about our insane desire to control and win at all costs. It’s a lesson in temptation, and dishonesty, and ultimately, hopefully, the most valuable lesson of all – forgiveness.