Lance Armstrong is the greatest cyclist of all time, but his incredible 7 Tour de France victories are now in danger of being wiped from the record books. Disgraced cyclist Floyd Landis is accusing Armstrong of being a cheater. Landis claims that Armstrong not only took steroids himself, but also supplied them to his entire Postal Service team.
There are many debates about whether or not this is all true. Other cyclists have come forward to defend Landis’ claims, as this New York Times article states:
But now, prosecutors and investigators have more than Landis’s account to go on, according to the two people with knowledge of the investigation. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they did not want to jeopardize their access to sensitive information.
A former teammate of Armstrong said in a telephone interview Wednesday that he had spoken with investigators. He said he detailed some of his own drug use, as well as the widespread cheating that he said went on as part of the Postal Service team — all of which he said was done with Armstrong’s knowledge and encouragement.
Armstrong himself has never tested positive for steroids, and has said he will cooperate as long as this investigation doesn’t turn into a “witch hunt.”
I think the question in all of this is, if Armstrong did cheat, do we really want to know?
Landis himself is a cheater and a liar. When he won the Tour de France in 2006, and was later relinquished of his title, he proclaimed over and over again that he never took performance enhancing drugs. Well, that tune soon changed, and he finally came “clean.” But he decided to take Armstrong down with him, when he sent out e-mails noting his own steroid use, as well as Armstrong’s.
Landis is as skeevy as any scum ball, and should probably never be trusted by any human being or bike again. But his allegations against Armstrong do scare me. And not only because other riders (albeit, riders who are noted to have personal beefs against Armstrong) are backing him up.
The source of my fear can be summed up in only one name: Jose Canseco.
When this former Major League Baseball (MLB) player came out with his book, Juiced, he admitted that he had used steroids during his career, and even took it a grand slam of a step further by announcing what players he took steroids with. Canseco had no honorable mission of cleansing Baseball of drug use. He released a controversial book, claiming that star MLB players took steroids. How is that not a money maker? He wanted to fill his wallet with cash, and took down himself and other players to do it. But none of that changes the fact that he was right. A lot of the players that he had accused of doping did, in fact, turn out to be guilty.
Lance Armstrong is the greatest athlete his sport has ever known. His accomplishments might forever stand the test of time. If it were to come out that he had cheated, this would break any fan’s heart.
For me, when it had been discovered that star Chicago Cubs left fielder Sammy Sosa took steroids, it sucked! This was a player I had followed and admired ever since I was a young child. We have the same first name for crying out loud! I was Sammy Sosa every time my friends and I got a Wiffle ball game going. I even stood by him when he got caught using a corked bat during a game. Sosa used corked bats during batting practice to make the balls go farther so fans had something to “wow” about before games, he claimed. And I believed him, and defended him, like a cheating politician’s wife at a press conference who stands by her unfaithful man, while smiling for the cameras.
So, when it officially came out that my favorite baseball player was a doper, I felt like I had personally been betrayed.
But feelings of betrayal won’t be the worst consequence to rear its ugly head if Armstrong is guilty.
This is LANCE ARMSTRONG. He is the world’s most famous cancer survivor. The work that he and his Livestrong foundation have done against the disease is outstanding. He is more than a man. He is a story, and that story has given hope to people all over the world whose lives have been impacted by cancer. So, if it does indeed come out that he cheated, does what he represents change? Does his battle against cancer become tainted if his athletic career is reveled to be a sham?
I hope not. But Armstrong is the best marketing tool against cancer this world has, and image is everything. It’s difficult to market anything or anybody with a whirl wind of negativity surrounding them.
If Landis succeeds in reveling Armstrong to be a cheater, he better keep in mind that he will be destroying one of the greatest sources of hope against cancer. But Floyd Landis being Floyd Landis, I’m sure he either never considered this, or just simply doesn’t care. He got his hand caught in the needle and syringe cookie jar, and wants a roommate to share in his house of disgrace.
The cyclist and fan in me hopes Armstrong’s tittles are preserved. But the human being in me hopes Armstrong is innocent, because what he stands for transcends any athletic achievement this world has to offer.