Sunday, January 30, 2011

Lance Armstrong. Is he really doping?


Lance Armstrong after his seventh TDF Win!!
Last Week Lance Armstrong finished his last international competition as a cyclist.  The Tour Down Under is an intense 470-mile race that runs through southern Australia.  It’s also where he made his return to competition, three years ago.  He finished in 67th place.  It makes you think, you mean 66 people finished before the supreme athlete who won seven Tour de Frances? A feat that no other human has ever accomplished.  Come on now, just the fact that he is still competing with people almost half his age is impressive.  He is still the juggernaut that he has always been in cycling.  He deals with the same thing we all deal with, if we’re lucky, aging.

I’m not commenting on his outstanding career as a cyclist today. Nor am I commenting on all the amazing accomplishments he has achieved.  Take a look for yourself on what he and his organization, Livestrong, have done for cancer research, prevention and cure. (http://www.livestrong.com/). Today we are going to talk about the dead horse that people keep beating.  That’s right, ‘the doping scandal’ has started up again.

Let me start by saying, Lance has never tested positive for any type of performance enhancing drugs.  However, several people claim they have firsthand knowledge of his use.  Who are these people? Betsy Andreu, the wife of a former teammate of Armstrong’s, who has had an axe to grind with Armstrong for years.   Floyd Landis, a TDF winner who had his own title stripped from him for doping, another former teammate of Armstrong’s who now openly admits he was doping.  It’s just a case of someone lying, but who is it?  Even Sports Illustrated is getting in on the witch hunt as they reported that initial screenings of some tests in the 90’s showed excessive testosterone levels.  However, if I recall correctly the ‘B’ tests, which are taken at the same time as the original (A) tests as a backup, came up negative.  That’s why they have a ‘B’ test to disprove (or prove) positive ‘A’ results.  The SI reporter claims, as she was writing this story that she asked Armstrong for some information about this for two weeks and he never got back to her.  Finally, his lawyer responded.  Frankly, I would do the same thing, he has been bothered by this for years and come out innocent every time, why even give them the time of day?  Right, and by the way, Armstrong’s lawyer responded by sending the SI reporter documents with information that helps prove Armstrong’s innocence.  Those documents were never used in the SI report.  If you are going to report on a subject, do it with all the information available, or don’t do it at all.

The other thing that brings the intensity of this round of allegations up is that Armstrong and Landis were teammates on a cycling team sponsored by the U.S. Postal service, essentially making them government employees.  If things go the wrong way for Lance charges could come up against him that deal with defrauding the U.S. Government.   What are we missing here people?  If that is the case, wouldn’t Landis and all his other teammates need to have the same charges brought up against them?  After all the claim is that the whole team was doping, under Armstrong’s leadership.   There are even claims that in the 2004 TDF the team bus driver faked bus troubles on a remote road so the team could have time to undergo blood transfusions out of the public eye.  Really?  Wouldn’t that be the most watched team in the whole TDF?  This was the New York Yankees or the LA Lakers of the cycling world.

If you look at the extensive tests and results throughout the years, why would you even go after him again?  Why is there a certain group of people that think he is guilty?  Are they such bitter people that seeing some else succeed so much drives them to take him down?  On the other hand, a lot of the people that claim he was doping were at one time very close to him.  Maybe they know something we don’t.  I want to believe that doping was not how Armstrong had such a successful cycling career.  I can say with certainty that there is one man who knows for sure.  

There have been tests done on his body on why he is so good.  His lungs have an incredible ability to take in and use oxygen more efficiently than anyone else that have ever been tested.  Team that up with his other physical conditioning and his mental drive to succeed and I think we have an innocent cyclist.  Let’s think about all he’s accomplished outside of cycling.  When he was twenty five he had testicular cancer in such an advanced stage that his doctors gave him less than a forty percent chance of living.  I would say it takes some faith and drive to make it through that. For those that don’t know, that was before he even won one TDF yet.   Maybe he had this type of obsessive drive before or maybe it was formed in his fight against cancer.  Whenever he got it, he also used it in his professional cycling career.  I believe that is how he won the seven TDFs, not by doping.

I’m throwing my hat to the ‘innocent’ side.  I believe that Lance Armstrong did not take performance enhancing drugs during his professional cycling career.  What does anyone else think?  Do some research, post some comments on what you find.

What do you think?  Is Lance Armstrong the subject of unfair allegations year after year, or is he pulling off the biggest doping cover up in the history of sports?

3 comments:

  1. This makes me think of the Don Henley song, "Dirty Laundry".... Kick 'em when they're up, Kick 'em when they're down. What Lance has done for the cancer community is soooo important. I hope that the Livestrong Foundation will be safe from all of this craziness.

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  2. I'm torn on this one. I really want to believe Lance didn't use performance enhancers. It sounds a bit like some sour grapes to me. If you really wanted folks to know he was doping, then report it AT THE TIME. It would have been really easy to do so, ya know?

    I believe doping is rampant in every sport, especially the NBA. I mean really, how are these guys training, traveling and performing at peak night after night? I heard an NPR story about a female high jumper who dropped out of her sport in college because she didn't want to cheat, like everybody else was. She just couldn't compete unless she doped. Kinda sad.

    Since I don't want to end on a sad note, I'll throw my chips in with yours and say Lance won fair and square.

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  3. Dana, Very True!! Kick 'em when they're up/down. Is that what we are doing to Lance? He definitely does a lot for cancer. Have you thought of this side of it (my conspiracy theory)? Maybe he enjoys the press, because he keeps getting cleared of charges and it is giving him a good name again and again. This would only strengthen his foundation.

    Leminicus, This was a hard one to write for me. I don't want to believe it either. Are we as a world community, turning a blind eye because we love our sports? Cycling, Basketball, Soccer, should we even mention Baseball and American Football? We may all be holding out that Lance is a beacon of hope that someone can do what he did and do it clean.

    If you see him in the streets of Austin tell him we are all talking about him.

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