Armstrong’s still a hero (even with zero)
By Josh Martin, Sports Editor
Oh yes. The trials of the soon to be infamous case of the seven-title Tour de France champion, Lance Armstrong. What’s the problem? He won the Tour de France seven years in a row from 1999 to 2005, and the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) doesn’t believe he did it fairly. In fact, they believe he was doping! Even though throughout those seven years Mr. Armstrong did numerous drug tests to prove that he’s innocent (blood, urine, whatever,) they still aren’t satisfied. They would like him to do some more tests because, “how on earth could someone win seven titles in a row of the Tour de France?” Even though he hasn’t crowned the trophy in seven years.
So, Lance decides to stand up for himself and say no to these USADA bullies.
“No, I’m not going to do another stupid drug test because you think I was doping.”
And they say back, “Well then, since you’re refusing that means you’re guilty and we will take away all of your titles and on top of that ban you from ever partaking in the sport… for the rest of your life!”
Followed by a monstrous and villainous laugh that eventually drowns out to the next scene.
Yes, it has ridiculous animated movie written all over it. The hero takes a stand and the villain tries to rip him apart. The only difference is that in most movies, the hero comes out on top and defeats the villain. In this case, Armstrong is taking a stand but there’s nothing he can do. He hits rock bottom. Perhaps this movie isn’t over?
Perhaps, Mr. Armstrong himself put it best; “If I thought for one moment that by participating in USADA’s process, I could confront these allegations in a fair setting and once and for all put these charges to rest, I would jump at the chance. But I refuse to participate in a process that is so one–sided and unfair. Regardless of what Travis Tygart [the CEO of the USADA] says, there is zero physical evidence to support his outlandish and heinous claims. The only physical evidence here is the hundreds of controls I have passed with flying colours. I made myself available around the clock and around the world. In–competition. Out of competition. Blood. Urine. Whatever they asked for I provided. What is the point of all this testing if, in the end, USADA will not stand by it?”
Why are all of these drug tests necessary if the USADA is going to second-guess their tests and re-do them? Were their own prior tests not up to par with their tests now? The position that Tygart is putting himself in isn’t a good one. The only evidence carrying that Lance Armstrong did indeed take athletic enhancing drugs during his productive tenure is the fact that he will not take another drug test seven years after his final title. Before confronting Armstrong, he had zero evidence besides a gut feeling and a heart full of mud.
Where does that leave us? The villain succeeding in taking down the hero who overcame testicular cancer—an inspiration to all— along with taking away his titles and banning him of ever competing in the sport again…and so far nobody can stop him.
So, is this how the movie ends?
Not buying what Armstrong’s pedaling
By Eric Wilkins, Staff Writer
We all know Lance Armstrong and his inspiring story. The man was diagnosed with testicular cancer in 1996, but didn’t quit. He fought through the extensive treatments and survived. Not content with being a cancer survivor, Armstrong returned to cycling. Refusing to settle for just being a racer again, Armstrong would go on to win seven Tour de France titles from 1999 to 2005. Incredible.
However, Armstrong recently gave up his fight with the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), which had accused him of taking performance-enhancing drugs during his career. In doing so, Armstrong has been stripped of all his accomplishments from August 1, 1998 and onward.
But is he actually guilty? Was that miraculous run of Tour de France titles really just a drug-fuelled mirage? Is the American just another pretender? Signs point to yes.
Cycling is a sport rife with drugs. This is no secret. Countless riders have been busted for taking illicit substances, and countless more have come forward and outright admitted it. All one needs to do is take a look at the top finishes in the Tour de France. Alberto Contador, Floyd Landis, Marco Pantani, Jan Ullrich, and Bjarne Riis have all been nailed for doping, and these are just the winners of the event. The top 10 of most of the recent Tour de France races generally have at least half of the cyclists implicated in some sort of drug scandal, and these are just the ones who have either been caught or confessed. A startling statistic is that, since Bjarne Riis’ win in 1996, only three winners of the tour have been clean.
Further evidence against Armstrong is the simple fact that he’s giving up fighting against the USADA’s charges. An innocent man has nothing to be ashamed of, and thus can, and should, stand up to all accusations levelled against him because he has done no wrong. Armstrong has refused to carry on defending himself, and one may interpret this as an admission of guilt.
As noted briefly in the opening to this article, Armstrong has always been a fighter. He doesn’t give up. He doesn’t settle for less. So why, after having been through so much, is he giving up now? How can a man struggle through cancer, train incredibly hard to get back to sports, go on to win the most prestigious race in the world seven times, and then allow his entire reputation to fall to shambles over a legal issue. It doesn’t seem to be in keeping with his character, does it?
Most likely, Armstrong knows that the USADA will get some hard evidence on him eventually, and, instead of fruitlessly continuing to defend himself, he has chosen to muddy the waters sufficiently enough that no one will ever know for certain whether he doped or not, thus ensuring his fame will live on in some capacity.