I have had a post entitled “Leave Lance Alone” in my drafts folder for three months, ever since the USADA said they were going to go after Lance Armstrong, AGAIN, on doping charges. I’m not sure why I didn’t ever finish and publish it. I guess it’s partly because I’ve been busy as hell this summer and haven’t put much on my blog, but I think it’s also because I felt a bit wishy washy on my stance and I hate being wishy washy (my dad loathed that trait in people, so when I feel myself teetering, I try to keep it to myself).
For the most part my feelings were that we should leave the guy alone. He is a hero, not only in the fields of athletics and cycling, but also in cancer research, something near and dear to me. Though he may OR MAY NOT have won those Tours because of doping, it has become clear over the years that everyone in the peloton was doping, so really, if he is guilty, the playing field was even.
On the flip side, the mom in me doesn’t want to promote winning via cheating. I want to raise my daughters in such a way that when they are making decisions on their own, they choose right over wrong, the high road over the easy road, and truth over deception. So, with suspicions looming over Lance, it is difficult to fully promote him as a hero and a mentor, though I still think of him as such.
Lance’s decision yesterday to cease fighting the allegations did not necessarily equate to admitting guilt, he simply decided to end this witch hunt once and for all. He knows in his heart, and his one ball (I couldn’t resist), the truth, and that is what matters. Regardless of his guilt or innocence, and the despite the fact that the USADA decided to strip him of his titles and ban him from cycling, I still standby the fact that he is a fierce, fearless, triumphant competitor, and more importantly, a fierce, fearless triumphant cancer survivor who has helped save many lives.
Everyone makes mistakes in life. So whether or not Lance is guilty, which still has not been proven one way or another, I choose to celebrate him for all the good he has done for the sport of cycling (and now Triathlon, if they let him compete) and in the name of cancer. He leaves behind a powerful and indelible legacy, regardless.
I hope the waste of tax payer dollars in the form of trying to take him down can now end and we can begin focusing on the future. Let’s find ways to clean up the sport (and in all sports) in the present and in the years to come, rather than worrying about what may or may not have happened in the past.
I really hope IronMan still lets him compete in the upcoming World Championship in Kona. Let the man start anew.