The Lance Armstrong Story – The Daily Evergreen
The image of the athlete ruined by doping
“Yes or no, have you ever taken any banned substances to enhance your cycling performance,” Oprah asked Lance Armstrong.
“Yes,” he said.
Armstrong finally admitted to cheating in his seven Tour de France victories during his career. However, it was far too late to save face.
From once being one of the most enjoyable stories in sports history and being the beacon of a burgeoning sport that no one really cared about at one point, to being one of the athletes the most disgraced of the 21st century, Armstrong made all the evil moves.
Armstrong was a beast when it came to cycling. He was a towering figure in the sport and even had the gear to back it up.
He was a fantastic story and one of the most respected athletes in all of sport. In 1996, he was diagnosed with potentially fatal metastatic testicular cancer. Having cancer didn’t stop him as he recovered from his cancer and became a legendary cyclist.
Only three years after his diagnosis, he won his first Tour de France, the highest honor in cycling. Not only has he won just one, he’s also won for seven consecutive years, an impressive feat in any sport, let alone one with a rolling winner like cycling.
His respect and admiration also came from the Livestrong Foundation, a nonprofit organization founded by Armstrong after his recovery that provides free resources to cancer patients.
Even with all the good he apparently did and the perfect image he kept, his cycling prowess and non-profit endeavors will not be his legacy. His legacy will always be doping.
Cycling is a sport that, like baseball, has a history of steroid and doping issues, which have been well documented and chronicled in the book The Secret Race: Inside the hidden world of the Tour de France.
The most telling quote in history describes Armstrong’s role in the grand perspective of racing and the sport as a whole.
“Lance made the system work – heck, Lance was the system,” author Tyler Hamilton wrote.
Comparing the cycling doping scandal to that of MLB, the consequences are relatively similar. Individuals from both sports are banished from their respective Hall of Fame and stripped of many titles, their reputations similarly ruined.
For MLB stars, several notable people are barred from the Hall of Fame but still garner some level of respect due to the rest of the league also doping. Cycling and Armstrong are the same, as Bleacher Report released a list detailing why he is “bulletproof” despite doping.
Although he may be bulletproof to some degree, many fans and fellow athletes have lost respect for the former cycling pro. They vocally expressed their gratitude for taking away the Tour de France titles from Armstrong.
“It’s a disgrace to the sport that there can be an athlete like Armstrong. In his cycling career, he cheated the sport and a lot of people. At least the titles were taken away. Like many others, the cycling lost its credibility for me,” said tennis pro Novak Djokovic.
Armstrong knows his legacy will always be tainted because he describes, in his own words, the difference between being loved and hated and what’s more important.
“A boo is much louder than a cheer,” he said.