lance armstrong leaves behind important legacy despite usada rulings

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.

USADA bans Lance Armstrong from cycling and strips his titles

Lance Armstrong competing at the Kona IronMan 70.3 - June 2012




  1. 1
    Chelsea says:

    I was reading about this last night and was so bummed! Just hate having a hero taken away. This is a great post (one ball — love you!) and sums up the way I feel, too. I wonder if it costs him lawyer fees to fight it? I hope that’s why he’s stopping because he has passed every drug test! I want to believe he is innocent!

    • Mary says:

      I wanna believe he is innocent too so since there is still no proof, I’m gonna go with it, though most likely he did since “everyone was doing it!”.

  2. 2
    Theresa says:

    LIke I said on Facebook today he didn’t win with an advantage over anyone. AND like I said on twitter yesterday “OH MY GOD! Let it go USADA”.

    I don’t think he did anything that the rest of them aren’t doing.

    • Theresa says:

      ALSO, regardless of what happened on the bike, it doesn’t take away from his amazing cancer survival story. They’re totally 2 different things.

      Great post Mary!

      • Dr Smith says:

        yes you are correct, they are two different things. I am both a cancer scientist and a bike racer. I am also the father of 4 kids, two of which have started racing bikes. It takes amazing power and incredible education to advocate the chance to FAIR PLAY. Unfortunately, 1 month doesn’t go buy until we catch even local masters at doping with old cheap drugs. The reality is that we are trying to break a very long cycle of drug dominance and it is very difficult for kids to understand that they will need to work incredibly hard and take no short cuts. This is the USADA problem, it has absolutely nothing to do with cancer, zero. But what we need to do NOW and forever is to send out the message that take PEDs now, in 5-10 or 15 years and we will get to you, we will show it to the world and we will hope that you will think twice before starting anything. That is the right for FAIR PLAY. Nothing to do with cancer. BTW USADA has offered a complete collaboration with Armstrong witha potential only 1 or 2 Tours removed from him if he collaborated because USADA goals is to remove 4 doctors and 2 team managers still within UCI, at the hearth of the cancer. You think only Lance is questionned here, no it turns out it is about a system, including doctors and managers and Lance was offered to actually tell all… he decided to decline because he was shown some of the vidence before he went fourth. The easy route is for believers to keep thinking they are out to get him. Because Lance does not want to separate 7 Tours with Livestrong… that is too bad. My kids do not have cancer but they hope to be real clean athletes one day.

  3. 3
    Kat says:

    I was so sad to see that headline this morning! I don’t know what’s true, part of me feels like if he was innocent of the charges he would have fought them to the end. But on the other hand, everyone has their breaking points. I had no idea these were allegations he’d been fighting for so long! I feel bad for him.

  4. 4
    Leslie Beebe says:

    Thank you for writing this. My dad admired him before and after his cancer diagnosis. When my dad was diagnosed with an incurable form of non-hodgkin’s lymphoma, Lance’s story helped him get through those first hellish months. When the Livestrong Bracelets came out in the Summer of 2004, my family bought them. My mom, dad and I still wear them. I never take mine off, nor will I. I believe in Lance. We posted his picture all over my parent’s office after my dad’s diagnosis. At his lowest points, I would tell him (my dad) Lance’s story again and again. I have been in airports, restaurants, malls, stores, and I will see someone wearing the bracelet. I will catch that person’s eye and hold up my left arm, which has my bracelet on it. The other person always holds up their arm with their bracelet, and we share a smile. One that embodies hope, and to always Livestrong. My dad was given 3 years at the most to live. Well, on July 22, 2012 it was 10 years since he was diagnosed, and the last 3 years he has been in complete remission. Livestrong. Always.

    • Mary says:

      Leslie, thank you so much for this comment. Your story is exactly why I think Lance is still a hero and nobody can take that away from him. Thanks again, and I am so glad your dad has been a fighter just like Lance! Livestrong!

      • Leslie Beebe says:

        Thank you for being so gracious. I’m not sure I could be. What you write about your dad breaks my heart. When I wrote my reply, I felt guilty that my dad was alive and that your dad has passed away. You Livestrong everyday without him. I don’t know if I could, or be as gracious as you are. Your dad would be incredibly proud of you. I remember him very clearly. And even at a young age, I knew that he doted on you. Both of my grandmothers died 10 years before I was born. My mom has always been very open about talking about her mom. Sadly, my dad hasn’t. I just think it is too painful for him. Please, tell your beautiful girls about their Grandpa. He will live on in you and in them.

  5. 5
    Dr Smith says:

    I would like to say that 1- I am persuaded Lance doped for the Tour and probably for Ironman. I know for a fact Livestrong gives 0 ZERO cent to cancer reaserch, this is a common mistake about folks who raise money for cancer. You need to understand, very little of it goes to reasearch and in the case of Livestrong that none of it does. Livestrong is about awarness, not reaserch. This means flying people around the world to give speach and create momentum. 3- You obviously do not know the personnality of Lance (even if you have phantasm about it) or the way he ruled the peloton and constantly travelling with doctors. Lance was part of a huge system, best dope and moved out any clean riders. The fact is you cannot compute that he can be botha great athlete and also one of the biggest liars on earth…. It is difficult for you to put both together because you have given into the dogma that winning the Tour de France means beating Cancer. Two COMPLETELY unrealted facts that you cannot separate.

    By the way, US postal paid 37 millions dollars to produce the reuslts behind Lance, that is public money. Also, I want you to understand that I am a cancer scientist, everyday we fight very hard for new money for research, we do not fly in private jets, we do not endorse products that are questionnable and we do not build an empire on the back of our patience, but most of all, we do not put patients within the stigma of a fight. Cancer is not a fight, cancer is about going through something in your body that was created by genetic or environmental reasons I even question testicular cancer and testosterone usage. Testicular cancer is extremely rare. I also know that Lance would be a better person if he came out clean, like I come out clean with my patient. Hope is a good thing but unfortunately to the fat Ms Smith who has been eating fast food all her life and drinking liquor and now witha colon lymphoma, she doesn’t give a rats ass about Lance, She just wants a cure. Livestrong is not about a cure, it is about going around and around and asking you for money…. What is quite funny is how people mix up the athlete, the cancer awarness person, cycling, V02 max, and have absolutely no understanding of human capacity. Just today I look at races and at laugh at seeing Lance’s racing up a Col… it’s almost funny how unhuman it is, yet he failed to win any other races than the tour, cause he had a very ridgid doping schedule with Michele Ferrari. Funny how Micheal Phelps doesn’t have 3 doctors travelling with him at all times. Anybody know a sport where a team doctor is constantly injecting you saline and vitamins … to recoup… the state of cycling is ugly, masters dope and kids are learing from Lance. I hope your kids don’t take up cycling because they have no chance clean, thanks to a federation who has looked the other way while Lance’s stardom filled their pockets. I still think he is a great man, I know he has an ass personnality and he is a cheater but amazing athlete non the less. One of the best. But a cheater. It takes a very complex understanding to grasp anything other than pure fandome when you know about Lance copr.. Lance copr is about 50x the size of ASADA… ASADA is about telling kids that not now, not never, not 20 years from now, when you decide to cheat, we will get you one day. They have the samples, they will come out and i HOPE you will have the COURAGE to state the obvious. Much like someone who has the COURAGE to go through chemo or refuse it because they are giving up with GREAT courage and DIGNITY.

  6. 6
    Leslie Beebe says:

    Dr. Smith,
    I am curious as to where you are getting your statistical breakdown of where the funding for the Livestrong Foundation goes. You describe Lance in a very disparaging manner. Have you met him? I have, and I found him to be nothing but kind. I also question if you are a scientist at all, just due to the number of spelling and grammatical errors in your post. I know personally some of the top level lymphoma researchers. They have been instrumental in creating the monoclonal antibodies (and radio-labeled monoclonal antibodies) Rituxan, Bexxar, Zevalin and other various drugs. What, exactly are your credentials? Where do you work as a cancer scientist? As for your claim that testicular cancer is rare, according to the Mayo Clinic, it is the most common form of cancer in males between the ages of 15 and 34. It seems as though you just don’t like Lance.

  7. 7
    Mr Andy says:

    Hi Mary:
    I was wondering if you are going to post an update to this article now that Armstrong has been shown to be a serial liar, cheat and bully.
    Some comments:
    – Just “glossing over” his past crimes and letting him get on with his life seems wholly inappropriate. What message does this send to the younger generation?
    – The playing field wasn’t even if Armstrong was using more effective drugs than his competitors.
    – Recovering from cancer and starting a charity has nothing to do with using illegal drugs.
    – This clearly hasn’t been a “witch hunt”. Kudos to the USADA for completing this case despite all the unfounded criticism.
    Hopefully Armstrong will be convicted of perjury at least and spend some well-deserved time in prison.
    P.S. I found this article to be an interesting read:

  8. 8

    Sleep makes it possible for our body to repair itself, regenerate,
    and aids regulate our hunger mechanism – a very crucial component of weight

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>