Bouncing Lance out the door

Steroid use in sports is big news and has been for a while.  It really grabbed the national spotlight with the home run derby in 1998 that pitted Mark McGwire, Ken Griffey Jr. and Sammy Sosa – McGwire won with 70 home runs, a new all time record; it was clear to everyone that something was powering Big Mac’s swing..  In 2001 Barry Bonds had his own derby and once again broke the all time home run record with 73; again that year juice seemed to power Barry’s balls out of the stadium.  Since then major league baseball has officially made a serious effort to eliminate steroids in professional baseball.   In part, the effort by league was forced by a story about Barry Bonds and steroids; that story lead to many investigations and eventually to a trial – Bonds was never convicted of using steroids or lying to a grand jury.  However, the constant investigations were enough to end his career years earlier than it might otherwise have ended.

Another sport with a long history of steroid use is cycling; like professional baseball, the official cycling federations have been working for years to eliminate steroids from cycling.  That effort is ongoing, every year one or more of the top riders in the Tour de France is caught doping and punished; the riders are tested frequently and all winners are tested at the time of the win and subsequently.  It is a work in progress and not a perfect system, but no one can accuse the sport’s governing bodies of indifference.  Since 1999, Lance Armstrong has been a target of those efforts – tested more than any other cyclist (or any athlete in any sport) Armstrong has never tested positive – there were over 500 testes done.

Still people continue to believe he is guilt as charged – except that he has never been charged in a court of law and never convicted of anything. Like Barry Bonds, pursuing Lance Armstrong has been a career for some people – journalists, federal agents and bitter cyclists.  The latest case was brought forward by the USDA, an agency created by Congress in 2000 to eliminate steroid and other drug use in sports. The USDA announced in June it was investigating Armstrong – two month later it is ready to present its case.  Only Lance is unwilling – he will not contest the findings and not appeal the rulings.

Lance says that 13 or 14 years of fighting the same accusations over and over have worn him out; the evidence the USDA is going to present for the most part has already been adjudicated and Lance was proven to be right and truthful.   The USDA has a long list of people who are willing to “spill the beans” – some have spilled the beans before and often – others just recently.  The USDA admits that those witnesses were very reluctant to testify, but with sufficient pressure and threat they agreed.  There will be no day in court, still the USDA is going to release its “evidence” much of which would be inadmissible in a court of law.  It will not be subject to due process, the witnesses will not be cross examined, no experts for the defense will testify and no judge will rule on the admissibility of the evidence.

Lance may or may not have used steroids, I have no idea.  However, I do know one thing, Lance Armstrong did not win because he used steroids – Lance won because he is Lance and Lance works and fights harder than his competitors.  What made Michael Jordan great?  Did Jordan take steroids?  I have no idea, however I know one thing; Michael Jordan did not win because he took steroids, he won because he was Michael Jordan and Jordan worked and fought harder than his competition.  Real champions like Michael and Lance are not like the rest of us – and not because of their physical abilities.  They do have faster reflexes, stronger muscles and better timing than we have – but they do not rest upon their natural talent – they work.  Both Jordan and Armstrong were legendary for their work ethics- hour after hour of training, day after day and year after year – they outworked all of their competitors.

Many people are jumping on the “bang Armstrong bandwagon.”  They know he is guilty, they know he should be punished and made to suffer – how dare he aspire to be more than they are?  They have no way to know about his guilt, no more than you or I can know. The world is filled with small minded bitter people who want to tear down those people that aspire to something more and are willing to work for it.  In the eyes of the small minded, nothing except cheating can explain greatness, which is why they will never understand it.

“Lets cut the nonsense. No competitor with an ego like Lance just gives up and caves in – unless he is about to be nailed by dozens of respected colleagues, teammates, coaches, physios, etc. Nope, if you’ve been wronged, you fight. You fight to the death. He’s guilty as hell.”  Message board poster gonchar talking about Lance Armstrong’s decision to drop the fight against USADA’s drug charges, claiming that he is tired of fighting. Those who buy this excuse need to look at USADA’s case against him, as “USADA said it had 10 former Armstrong teammates ready to testify against him. Other than suggesting they include Landis and Tyler Hamilton, both of whom have admitted to doping offenses, the agency has refused to say who they are or specifically what they would say.” LetsRun, 8-24-12

As I said, I don’t know if Lance took drugs – but I do know that drugs did not make Lance Armstrong a seven-time winner of the Tour de France.  That came from the soul of a champion, not from a needle or a bottle.  It is sad for me that the small minded people sometimes win, they just keep grinding away at the champions, grinding away until they achieve their goals.  Steroid use is wrong, cycling and all sports do need to find a way to eliminate it; and the cheaters need to be caught and stopped from competing.  But, no one caught Lance, no one proved he was guilty.  He just tired and stopped fighting – but if you listen to his interviews, he did not say he was guilty.  He answered all of the questions, cited all of the previous trials and testimony and said, that in a court of law he had never lost a case.   Lance Armstrong is gone from cycling – but. though, officially they might say he lost his titles, in fact he does not them – Lance Armstrong won the Tour seven times guys – watch and you will see what champions are made of – hard work, guts and desire.




3 Responses to “Bouncing Lance out the door”

  1. 1 rexdstock1 August 25, 2012 at 6:44 am

    Bless you.


  2. 2 Bill Hanigan August 25, 2012 at 1:30 pm

    Yes, it’s great to see some reason applied to this case. The head of Cycling Australia very politely said USADA should put up or shut up. I don’t think USADA can strip Lance of his Tour de France wins. Some members of his team who were also “implicated” intend fighting the charges so we may get to see what USADA’s evidence is. But you are right in saying despite what “may” have happened he did win 7 Tours against riders who were known and proven cheats.

  3. 3 Ken Adams August 26, 2012 at 1:34 pm

    That is indeed the question – how can an American agency make determination about a French institution; possible next the French sports federation will declare last year’s winner of the Super Bowl ineligible for the trophy and demand that all of the players return their rings.

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