I don’t cycle. I’m not into what I consider extreme sports. Laugh away. It’s not like I’m a couch potato. I teach yoga. I’m more into meditation than marathons. But there’s always been something about Lance Armstrong.
Bill Strickland in “Lance Armstrong’s Endgame” put’s his experience of Armstrong this way: “Power billowed off his body like smoke off a burning skillet of grease.”
I’ve never seen Armstrong ride in person but watching him overpower a pack of riders became almost boring, it was so expected. Something you could count on.
And that’s what’s so disturbing about this hero’s fate.
Armstrong insists he never took banned substances. From the New York Times: “I know who won those seven Tours, my teammates know who won those seven Tours, and everyone I competed against knows who won those seven Tours.”
We all know who won.
Anabolic steroids, the bad kind Armstrong has been accused of taking, can increase the risk of testicular cancer, which Armstrong suffered from.
The list of circumstantial evidence piled up so high, Armstrong pulled out from under it.
In America, the person is innocent until proven guilty. Armstrong has not been proven guilty. Yet we all think he’s guilty. I know he is. He competed in the way he had to in order to win.
Much safer adoring a mythological hero, say Hercules or Iron Man. Humans are so . . . human. And our fight against anabolic steroids so like Nancy Reagan’s fight against drugs in general. So like abstinence.
Just say no.
Never mind you’ll never be able to compete.
Such is the choice we offer our athletes: Follow the rules and lose or march to the beat of your own drummer. See what happens. Just don’t get caught.
I follow most rules. I mean, I take a toke now and then but would I have doped up? I did spend a substantial amount of my early adult life either stoned or drunk or high or buzzed. My only claim to innocence is that I never shot anything illegal – or legal, for that matter – into my arm. For no reason, I did all that.
Around the time Armstrong rode his first bike, I was carrying my first child. By the time I’d divorced, gone back to school and earned my BA, he’d become the #1 cyclist in the world. But it was beating cancer. Cancer that had metastasized. Whoa. All the world loves a winner. And he returned to cycling: The Return of the King.
Mythological heroes make it easy on us. The Lance Armstrongs call us forth. Can we continue to admire and adore a man, knowing he doped up?
I can. And I am not alone. His legacy lives on.