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?