Cheating And The Lance Armstrong Saga

 Cheating And The Lance Armstrong Saga

Lance Armstrong has confessed to cheating but what else has his confession meant.

Cheating is cheating so let’s get that out-of-the-way to start.  Do not tell me there are levels to cheating because there aren’t.  It is just cheating.  If an athlete uses testosterone, EPO or HGH OR they are drafting on the bike they are cheating.  Either way they are gaining an advantage over the other competitors that isn’t fair and I don’t like it.  I have never condoned cheating and never will.  It is not acceptable in sports where you are putting your ability (or team’s ability) against another person or team.  You may win, you may lose but either way play fair.  If you don’t play fair you have already lost even if you have won.

Lance Armstrong, and this post is less about him and more about cheating and my feelings about cheating, went on the Oprah Winfrey Network and confessed to something we already knew.  He wasn’t breaking new ground with his admitted use of blood doping, etc.  He wasn’t coming clean for the sport or for any other reason than to clear his conscience and I am not sure he did that.  I found him smug and actually turned off the interview on Thursday within 30 minutes of it airing.  I couldn’t take it and did not watch the Friday interview until Saturday on the DVR where I could fast forward through his non-sense.  I was/am in no mood to listen to a cheater and a liar confess to the TV screen.  He has no place in sports and he has no right to my time since he wasted it for all those years perpetuating something he isn’t.

As you can see I cannot stand cheating and as the week leading up to the interview was unfolding I was caught off-guard by my thoughts about Tyler Hamilton and the others who had already confessed to cheating.  I had originally forgiven them for their wrongs and applauded as they did the right thing and confessed but what makes these guys any different from Lance?  Nothing.  Not one single thing other than, it seems, they weren’t bullying people but they were still cheating.  Their bans from the sport are much shorter (not hard considering Lance Armstrong is banned for life) and have the ability to get back into the sport but I say:  Let them get to work doing something else.  They cheated the sport, the fans, the sponsors (although some sponsors may have known and allowed it to happen) and they don’t deserve another chance at this sport that many have grown to love.  Also, don’t go out and buy Hamilton’s book or Landis’ book when it comes out or anybody else that cheated because all you are doing is putting money in their pockets for doing something that was against the rules.

I have read Nicole Cooke’s retirement speech and was moved by her brutal honesty and ability to stand up for what’s right.  She called out Lance Armstrong and the others as well as governing bodies for allowing this to happen. It was a bold move on her way out of the sport but a bold move none the less.  It stood out as a guiding light through the darkness that has overcome the sport of cycling, and what I fear will cloud the sport of triathlon.  More professional athletes need to stand up to the few that are doping and not allow it to happen or fall into the trap of having to use cheating as a means to gain ground on those who are evading the rules.  Push those cheaters out of the sport by calling them out and putting them in the spotlight to answer questions about how they went from an 11 hour Ironman to 9.5 hours in one year.  If they are clean than so be it but let’s not allow this virus to spread throughout our sport(s).

In the end Lance Armstrong’s confession to cheating has done two things for me.  One I am happy about and the other I am very frustrated with.  On the one hand his confession has shown that you can cheat but you will get caught and when you do it will be far worse than if you had never cheated at all. I believe this will give some people pause before they make that decision and that to me is a good thing.

The other result of his confession, and one I am more upset about than anything else is that I am more cynical than I have ever been.  I am a trusting person and I want to see the good in people and all that they do.  I am now faced with having to question everything and I mean everything from the start.  What does this person want from me?  What are they really asking me for?  These types of questions very rarely entered my sub-conscience but they are there now and that is something I can never forgive Lance Armstrong and his cheating ways for.  Maybe in time I will become more trusting again but for right now my view has been tainted and I don’t like it one bit.  Thanks, Lance.

What Do You Think Of Cheating In Terms Of A Hierarchy?

 

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  • http://www.shesaidineedagoal.com adena

    I was excited to read Tyler’s book but found myself getting more and more annoyed. They all cheated, they all had the same feeling about it, they all should pay the same price-never allowed near that or any sport again-ALL of them. They didnt confess because it was the right thing to do, they confessed because they were backed into a corner and promised a suspension as opposed to a lifetime ban. Was/is Lance arrogant? Absolutely, but I honestly think anyone of them, in his position, with all that power and responsibility would have probably reacted just as badly or nearly as aggressively as he did.
    adena recently posted..late nightsMy Profile

  • http://tridiesel.blogspot.com Scott

    This is well written, I was a Lance fan, I wont lie and say I wasnt. He was a cycling idol to me for years. I was “blinded” by hear-say versus actual proof (never failed a test) But sadly, I was dupped and I admit, I felt so let down when I watched it. My grandfather once said “Hero is nothing but a sandwich” I should have listened to him when I use to idolize Lance.

    Plus, I am a huge cycling fan, I can no longer really trust the sport. In my cycling circles, at least to my achknowledge, I do not know anyone that uses PED’s. But it is rampant in the pros. Even recently, Cantador, both Schelk brothers, and some lesser known riders have been caught with PED’s in their system in 2011 and 2012. I have no clue how the UCI and USADA will be able to clean that sport and it is sad.

    Recently, 2 age groupers in 2012 were caught using PED’s? I truely dont get this? Why? TO get 20% off sponsor gear, another plague on the wall, bragging rights at the local tri club? Seriously, I wish someone can explain this to me??
    Scott recently posted..The Look, An Open Letter to Lance ArmstrongMy Profile

    • http://cooktraineatrace.com CTER

      The age-grouper that cheats is beyond my comprehension as well. Getting to Kona would be great but if you are cheating to get there what is the point? What have you accomplished? When you get there, if you haven’t kept up the cheating regiment then you are going to get walloped out there by those that are actually that good.

      Give it a fair shake and see what you have, not what the chemicals and scientists have.

  • http://www.misszippy1.com misszippy

    I will agree that it is wrong that we give the others in the peloton a pass…guilty is guilty. I will say, however, that I borrowed (did not buy!) Tyler’s book and in the end, I did feel a bit sorry for them all. It was an era where not only were the cyclists cheating, but they risked losing sponsors and the ability to ride on good teams if they didn’t. It’s easy to think that one guy–Lance–could have shut the whole thing down by taking a stand. I don’t think it was quite that simple at that time. And the one area where I could empathize with him on Oprah was where he talked about how big the whole thing got and getting swept up in it. Not saying it was right, just saying I can see how hard it would be in the midst of all that adoration, etc, and then to speak up and let it all go. In the end, he is human. He is a flawed human. But we all are to some extent. He will clearly lead a tortured existence for the rest of his days. It’s like a murderer who gets away with it. Justice wasn’t served, but he/she still has to look in the mirror every day. That’s where Lance is in my opinion.
    misszippy recently posted..One run at a timeMy Profile

    • http://cooktraineatrace.com CTER

      I have a problem with that thought process, which seems to be the: everybody else was doing it theory. I don’t buy it because we don’t teach our kids to do what everybody else is doing so why are we so readily able to accept this as a reason to cheat? Stand up and be a leader not a follower was what I was taught, which is what I am teaching my step son and that means not going along with the crowd when the crowd is doing something wrong.

      As for Lance he is flawed but I’m not sure the is leading a tortured existence because I believe he is hanging onto the hope that he will have his ban shortened and he can get back into the sport. Only if they leave the lifetime ban in place will he lead that tortured existence in my opinion.

  • http://triaflete.blogspot.com Kevin

    I had to turn the interview off after the first few segments. His confession was too late. If he had done this six months ago, I may have felt differently, but we all knew once he decided to end his fight that hewas guilty. I really think his only reason for opening up is to try and get back into competitive triathlon. I say let the lifetime ban stand.

    I have really become disinterested in watching or following competitive cycling in the past few years and I am not even sure I will watch the TdF this year. We need athletes who are willing to speak out when they know their teammates or competitors are cheating.
    Kevin recently posted..Race Report: Disney Marathon Part 2My Profile

    • http://cooktraineatrace.com CTER

      Kevin – thank you for stopping by and offering your opinion.

      Do you think that you would have stayed tuned in 6 months ago or do you think you would have turned it off then as well? I know I would have turned it off the same way I did recently.

      Interestingly enough I have watched with more interest the past two years of the TdF then after Lances’s 4th win. At that point I thought it too much that he bounced back from where he was to that point for it to not be drug related. Now that he is out and Landis and Hamilton and the list keeps growing are out I watched again. It will be interesting to see if I tune in again this year though after all the stuff that has been unfolding.

      • http://triaflete.blogspot.com Kevin

        I’m nor sure I would still have turned it off, but I know I would have went in thinking there was more a chance of him being sincere. I do have some hope that they can finally get control of the rampant PED use in the sport. If they do, I will tune back in as I think a clean race will be much more interesting
        Kevin recently posted..Race Report: Disney Marathon Part 2My Profile

        • http://cooktraineatrace.com CTER

          If the playing field is level (and that means not everybody cheating, but nobody cheating) it certainly will make it more interesting. The fact that he knew he would win, as he said in his interview, is just ridiculous. Why play the game then?

          On top of it all being able to see the human body accomplish something, even at a slower pace than the cheating robots, will be much more compelling because you could think: I can do that and you might be able to.

  • http://www.runningalife.com Maria Simone

    Hear! Hear! You know my thoughts on the matter, and we are pretty well in alignment on this. Like you, I have become more cynical, which saddens me greatly. And, unfortunately, I’ve become more cynical about all sectors of our life, as this “success-at-all-costs” mentality creeps into everything.

    But, I believe you are correct that if we speak as a community against this type of behavior, make it clear that it will not be tolerated, both formally and informally, we can change it. It may take time, but given that time, cheaters will understand they are not welcome.
    Maria Simone recently posted..Why cheating matters – and why it’s not about ArmstrongMy Profile

  • http://ironbob-ironbob.blogspot.com/ Bob

    If you come do the HHH with us in August can I suck your wheel? We are bikers at that point, right? No cheating?
    Bob recently posted..Ironman Success…. My StoryMy Profile

    • http://cooktraineatrace.com CTER

      Bob – it is looking more and more likely that HHH is happening and wheel sucking will be involved but we are expected to do that aren’t we?

      • http://danglethecarrot.blogspot.com Jeff Irvin

        I think for that comment Bob should have to do the majority of the pulling now!
        Jeff Irvin recently posted..Racing Weight …My Profile

  • http://seejenroerun.blogspot.com/ Jen Roe

    Thanks for this post, Jason – I was hoping that you’d write about it because I am interested in your thoughts. I have to agree with much of what you said. As someone who defended him and trusted him when he swore he didn’t dope, I feel duped, a sense of loss and a sense of distrust like you.

    I think I liked Lance even less after the interview. I never got a sincere feeling of remorse from him. And the bullying and ruining lives of people who were merely speaking the truth he left in his egotistical path, is inexcusable.

    I will never understand cheating but then again I don’t have a career based in sports and on performing — I still don’t think it would be something I could do and be able to look myself in the mirror.
    Jen Roe recently posted..Ragnar Relay race review: The Finish LineMy Profile

    • http://cooktraineatrace.com CTER

      You don’t have to have a career in sports to know what is right from wrong. What if somebody got a production gig b/c they greased the pockets of the people the people they were going to be filming? That’s cheating correct? Wouldn’t that affect you and your business and not put it on a level playing field where the best company won?

  • http://danglethecarrot.blogspot.com Jeff Irvin

    If I was a 20yo kid with cycling talent and my choices were go work in a cubicle doing cold calling or be a pro cyclist, travel the world, ride my bike, and make tons of money but you’d have to take some EPO. I’d like to think I would take the cubicle but you never know and that is why I can understand how some of these guys succumbed to the pressures of taking PEDS.

    Why I can never forgive Lance and want him to go away is because of the decades of destroying other people’s careers and dreams all to carry on the huge lie he not perpetuated by was clearly the ring leader of. This is un-forgivable.
    Jeff Irvin recently posted..Racing Weight …My Profile

    • http://cooktraineatrace.com CTER

      I don’t know about that. Yes the pressure is there for sure, but when you are 20 you also think you can do anything. That is a tough scenario and one we can never really answer since that wasn’t where we were at.

      In a couple of years when we are in our 130lbs and 6% BF and racing for Kona slots we can discuss……haha!

      And I agree with his un-forgiveable acts of destroying peoples lives. Despicable!

  • http://kate-my-mind.blogspot.com Kate

    I came to cycling and racing in general in a roundabout way, not through following professional or Olympic sports (even now, if it’s on I might watch and enjoy it, but I don’t seek it out), and that probably colors my reaction (or non-reaction) the the doping scandals. I’m quite sure I’d see it differently if I was any kind of a top-level competitor whose placement was affected by dopers, but I’m not. I don’t need to forgive or not forgive LA, because he really doesn’t mean anything to me and hasn’t hurt MY cycling. My cycling is about what I can or can’t do, whether or not I’m improving, and the camaraderie with my bike friends. Cheating sucks, cheaters suck, in whatever realm they’re cheating, but whether or not someone else cheats can only affect how I appear to measure up to them, not how I measure up to how I used to be, which, in the end, is the only metric that concerns me.
    Kate recently posted..Plan B (the MLK2 Berryman ride)My Profile

    • http://cooktraineatrace.com CTER

      Kate – thank you for stopping by the blog and commenting. I truly appreciate it.

      Your last sentence is 100% accurate. Measure yourself against yourself. That being said if you are a fan and have followed without interruption and gave of your time and effort to watch, read, etc then you will be disappointed by the fact that they cheated and that it was more than just Lance and more than just cheating with him.

  • http://ironbob-ironbob.blogspot.com/ Bob

    OK Jeff, I guess I DO have the best IMTX bike split of the group…. I’ll pull… (but cant run worth a damn)
    Bob recently posted..Ironman Success…. My StoryMy Profile

  • http://journeytoahalfmaraton.blogspot.com/ Caroline

    I was waiting for this post…
    I have a huge problem with cheaters and with people who lie,
    I have a really hard time forgiving people who do that…not matter what the situation…if my kids lie…they are punished…big time..my main goal is to raise good happy honest men…
    Lance…well…I am so dissapointed in him…I wanted to believe Superman existed outside the comic books…and well he does not.
    I will not buy these guys books or read them…..I think it is good they came clean and confessed…but now they want to make $ out of doing something wrong?? no thank you
    After this interview.I know Lance is a cheater, a liar, a bad teammate, a terrible friend and worst of all for me now…a very bad and selfish father. I feel bad for his kids..this will never go away for them.
    Caroline recently posted..Long Run downer, interview and DisneyMy Profile

  • http://www.chasingthekenyans.com lindsay

    It is unfortunate that so many of them ‘gave in’ to the pushers instead of banding together to stand up for what would have been right. Obviously there were plenty of riders on teams without the pressure from teammates or sponsors – I feel like they could have raised a stink, gotten those teams in trouble and been picked up by one of the cleaner teams that follows the rules. But, then again I don’t know a whole lot about cycling and maybe my theory wouldn’t hold up.

    Anyway, I was never a huge Lance fan but it is disappointing that he claimed to be clean and sued people who said he wasn’t! The whole situation is disappointing and it’s not just happening in cycling, unfortunately.
    lindsay recently posted..Getting My Rear in GearMy Profile

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