Lance Armstrong: The Fall From Grace

I awoke to these headlines: Lance Armstrong Stepping Down as chairman of Livestrong charity.

My reaction: shock and sadness, if I will be honest.

“Lance Armstrong is stepping down as chairman of the Livestrong cancer charity he founded in 1997 after recovering from the disease, a spokeswoman for the organization confirmed .

The move comes a week after the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency said it had uncovered overwhelming evidence of Armstrong’s involvement in a sophisticated doping program while a professional cyclist.

Armstrong found out he had testicular cancer at age 25 when he was emerging as a rising star among cyclists. He started a small group to raise money for cancer called the Lance Armstrong Foundation in 1997. Since then, 84 million bright yellow Livestrong wristbands have been distributed.” – CNN

It appears Nike has dropped him as well.

I just read on Twitter: “Livestrong, fall hard.”

Ouch.

The ‘On the Fence’ debate here today: Many elite athletes use some sort of performance enhancing drug. Lance was there, he competed, he won all 7 Tour de France titles. He raised $500 million for cancer research. He is a hero.

Vs.

He cheated. He lied. He is a cheater. He is a liar. This offsets all the rest.

What is your take? I loved Lance, I still respect Lance, and I feel sad on many levels. He is a cancer survivor and one of the greatest American athletes of our time. Do we forgive him and accept that he is human, part of the human condition? Or is he a fake? Do today’s headlines negate all the races he won, and all the good he’s done? I don’t believe entirely.

Are you on the fence? I’d love your stance.

xoxEDxox

 

28 Comments
  1. Lance raised money and awareness! he is a legend as far as im concerned! He cared to step up and give back because he was around to do so. Many people do for themselves and move on.
    Its too sad that the media isnt talking about ALL the good he has done.

  2. For years I would say that Lance Armstrong was a man machine; able to conquer cancer and become an example of hard work, dedication and faith, so it’s incredibly sad to hear this news. Yes he did amazing things for cancer research, and no one should discredit that; but all the children, and adults for that matter, who are battling cancer and looked to Lance for inspiration and hope were looking up to a liar.

    I know many athletes dope, it’s a part of sports now; but having played competitive basketball for years ( I travelled to Europe and the States) I will always believe in the purity of sport- just because everyone cheats is it okay? I personally don’t think so.

    In any event, this is all sad. For Lance, for his family and to all those who looked up to him.

    They say the truth will set you free; but sometimes I wonder if its easier to just to be honest in the first place.

  3. What a sad day for sport.

    Yes Lance did amazing things for cancer research; but to gloss over years of lies takes away from his sheen. For years I would say that Lance was a man machine, able to conquer cancer and win 7 tours- but the latter was all a farce.

    As a man who positioned himself as a hero to those battling cancer, I can only imagine how those people feel today. And I know that doping has become a part of sport; but having been an elite athlete myself ( I played basketball in Europe and US as a teen) I am a purist, and believe that doping has no place in any sport- naive perhaps.

    There’s no question that today is a sad day for Lance, his family, the world of cycling and all those who looked up to this man. And, although, the truth will set you free, one has to ask “why lie in the first place?”

  4. I’m sorry just because the all american hero got caught doesn’t change the fact………… his wealth, his fame, his legend has been built on a lie.

    Remove the TDF wins and the rest of the world can move on.

  5. He is a cancer survivor and one of the finest athletes the USA has ever produced. He is also an ambassador for Cycling, Health and Fitness and Cancer Research. To condemn him is to condemn ALL of professional sports. You CAN NOT compete at that level AT ALL without some kind of help. It is our doing. We want to see race times go down every year. We want athletes to be stronger, faster and win more. Kids want to be these guys so they can make the big bucks. Think about it…

  6. I feel terrible for sports and for lance armstrong’s family today. All athletes use some sort of performance enhancing drug and to just wipe away everything he did for cancer as a survivor himself and for the sport of cycling is wrong.

  7. I think you hit on a good point. I would venture to say that almost all Elite Athletes of his caliber have at some point in their lives used performance enhancing drugs. Does it make it right? No, not even close. However, I think a bunch of pissed off former team mates coming forward to condemn he is well, just shitty in my opinion.

    It is not as if these people who care calling him out didn’t do the same thing he did. The only difference, they didn’t win multiple titles and gain fame as he has. If they were doing it for the good of the sport or because they wanted to make a change in the athletic world, maybe then I would appreciate what they are doing. I am however, not convinced they are doing it for the right reasons.

    Regardless of this scandal, Lance Armstrong has done more good than bad. Just look at the awareness he has brought to cancer research and awareness through the Livestrong foundation. He has helped MANY and I think it is a sad day when accusations(that cannot even be proven, he passed all drug tests, no?) will overshadow the good that he has done in this world.

    I guess the only good thing that has come from this is maybe now our youth and future athletes will think twice before allowing themselves to be altered with performance enhancing drugs, though I still find that thought highly doubtful.

    I don’t know, I guess I just feel like stripping him of his racing titles was punishment enough.

  8. Yes, he has done great things. And yes, he was amidst a culture of doping in the professional cycling circuit. If they all doped, it was a level playing field, and he was still the best of the dopers. I just wish he would admit to it, and contribute to the ‘cleaning up’ of professional sport.

  9. What no one seems to realize is that even though he may have been doping, he was beating others that also doped. They WERE on a level playing field and he beat them, fair and square. NONE of the athletes he beat admitted to NOT doping. They also said “Yeah we did it, but he did it, TOO”.

    So he beat them all regardless. The more you read about what happened in ALL the media available the more you realize that everyone doped, but now since Lance is the one on the chopping block, they are all pointing at him to deflect their own culpability in the whole thing.

    If everyone is cheating, the winner is still the winner. The top 10 in every Tour de France in the last 12 years are all admitting to it now, EXCEPT Lance. Why should he, really?

    1. There are two different issues here. One he cheated and denied it for 10 years. Yes he won the Tour de France many times but he still cheated – most of the riders cheated. Did he work his ass off, did he train like none of us would ever know, did he win – yes to all of the above. But, before he started doping and taking steriods, he was not winning. So a cheater is a cheater is a cheater period. However, his foundation is a completely different matter and has amazing fund raising ability for a disease that has affected all of us in one way or another. For that he did great work and the foundation does not seem to be taking it on the chin for the sins of Lance Armstrong. Don’t worry folks, Lance Armstrong has 9 lives and he will not disappear into the darkness. He can always come clean and go on the talk circuit.

      1. I don’t get what you’re trying to say. If they were all doing “it”, then he won fair and square. He was the better athlete. They were ALL cheaters. No one enters to lose and if everyone is cheating by taking performance enhancers, the playing field is level and the one that wins, is the one that can push himself (or herself) like no other. Period.

        1. I also forgot to put in there that if you actually read about or watched his TdF wins, there was a good bit of strategy involved in some of his wins. It wasn’t just sheer power and athleticism. The TdF is also a chess match and he outwitted them all, AND he was the better athlete. Doping doesn’t improve how you reason, think and create a strategy does it?

  10. Regardless of what he did in the past, I don’t think that he should step down as chairman of the Livestrong charity. He should continue to move forward and use his past experiences to be a better and stronger person. Maybe he should talk to the young athletes who are under so much pressure. Can,t help it, I still like him

  11. Oh this is a hard one to debate.
    As a cyclist myself, Lance is an icon and an idol. Cheating along side his peers? Yes, they all did – and it’s time to bring doping to a less «sexy» & heroic place.
    Hiding under the cancer umbrella to promote health, strength and integrity, raking in millions and fame, is where I have an issue. Amazing athlete? Yes. Ambassador to cancer lying about doping? That’s going too far. This reminds me of Tiger Woods. But he’s still not guilty, per say.
    I see kids taking Gatorades and RedBulls to improve performance – bad sports behaviours at very young ages like we’ve never seen before. We have to step up and clean it up everywhere, and sadly, it’ll take years.

    1. Bravo, T! Very well said. I agree totally. “It’s time to bring doping to a less ‘sexy’ and heroic place.” As an athletic mom to 3 athletic kids approaching that stage where athletic performance is really noticed by peers and often defines their self-perception and their world, I couldn’t have said it better myself. Honesty, integrity, and the health of our bodies must come first, and the heroes out there must model that.

      Having said that, yes, this does make me sad. He WAS a hero. And it’s always so hard – and beyond disappointing – to see a hero fall.

  12. I just posted this on Facebook…

    Are people that naive to think that almost ALL professional athletes don’t use some type of performance enhancing whatever. Really?? They do use anything that will give them an advantage. You know why?? Because of US. We want the fastest, strongest…blah, blah blah. The more they win, the more money we throw at them.
    That’s why they shouldn’t be our childrens’ role models. Parents should be. Teachers should be. People who work hard to support their families should be. Not Barry Bonds who hit more home runs than anyone while hopped up on Anabolics…
    It’s not Lance Armstrong, who did so much good with his Cancer Awareness Organization, or who beat Cancer in his 20’s. He beat them all, and he was better because they ALL doped. The top ten of the TdF over the last 12 years ALL admitted to it. It’s US because that’s what we demand from our athletes and pay a pretty penny for it.
    Leave him alone. Do something good for the world…seriously…

  13. Armstrong won repeatedly in a “dirty” sport. What disturbs most of us is that he did so all the time insisting that he was the only “pure” competitor. That he triumphed because he was a superior being in heart, soul and body (sort of “I have the strength of 10 because my (heart) is pure” kinda thing. That he did so because of the great team and sponsors that he had.

    We now know (and this is the part that has upset many) is that he knowingly doped. That he bullied and coerced his teammates, support staff, his and their spouses and everyone involved in the operation to participate and cover up. People who did not play Armstrong’s game were ostracized and dropped from the team.

    And he still refuses to say “Ladies and gentlemen, I was wrong. I apologize”. And, I doubt he ever will. And if he does, I doubt he will be sincere about it. You may be lucky to get a non-apology apology.

    As for the fundraising? Kudos to him. I’m sure that he made a difference in many people’s lives. I’m sure that he helped thousands both financially and mentally overcome a terrible disease. But the organization is now, unfortunately, tainted. Why? Because all the time he was raising funds, he was lying about the central issue that put him a place where he could raise those funds. I hope the organization can outlast him and continue its good work.

    I have to wonder, given how he behaved with his teammates, just how wonderful a place to work his Foundation might be.

    Now a personal note. I had testicular cancer before Lance made it famous. I didn’t have a trophy child, parade him around the world as evidence of my mighty remaining testicle–and then drop my wife like yesterday’s newspaper in order to start dating musicians. (And I suspect that I’m not the only survivor of testicular cancer who has similar feelings).

    1. You’re right he did compete in a “dirty” sport. Even still, he was the best of all of them. His doping didn’t make him the best. His genetics, his talent and his tactical mind made him the best. He WAS the superior being. Why is he still not considered so, whether he admits to it or not? EVERYONE doped. The playing field was level. He triumphed.

      People made a fortune off him. Now that they actually got caught, the are all pointing fingers. Are you seriously trying to tell me that his sponsors didn’t know what was going on? They could have blown the whistle any time, but they didn’t. They were making too much money and wanted to ride the gravy train as long as they could.

      This “bullying and coercing” sounds like a cop out that people who also cheated are using to deflect the blame they should be putting on their own shoulders. Now suddenly, they followed the bad guy, right? Sounds like a terrible plot to a really bad buddy cop film with idiot criminals. “Well he MADE us do it!!!”. Are we really that naive?

  14. I woke up to the headlines in today’s local newspaper that said “LIAR LIAR LANCE ON FIRE”. It’s kind of hard to not get a rise out of judgment words like that.

    A wise woman once said ‘we are not our mistakes’. Hanging on to any anger or resentment toward Lance won’t do us any good – he’ll never feel it, but we will live with that negativity. I get that it’s hard to acknowledge the good that he’s done amongst the wreckage of the bad, but our judgment should be fair, forgiveness swift, forgotten never, and learned from today.

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