So, Lance Armstrong has finally come clean–or partially clean, depending on who you ask and how cynical you are–and what ulterior motives you believe Armstrong had in granting his interview to Oprah. (Did you notice how he perked up when she asked him about the prospects of ever competing again?)
Anyone familiar with endurance sports was a fool to believe Armstrong never doped–but most of us realists gave him a pass given cycling’s dirty history. (I know I did.) “They’re all dirty,” we thought, so Armstrong was still king of the mountain. And heck, he did a lot for cancer, too.
You want to know how dirty cycling really was (still is?)? Just click on over here to an article on the history of doping that was featured in the inaugural issue of Paved magazine. It talks about the strychnine (yes–rat poison), cocaine, heroin, amphetamines, steroids, and other pharmaceuticals that the sport has employed, through various intervals, since the 1800s.
It then goes into Lance’s era, which made use of EPO, a blood-boosting drug so powerful that “the prospect of a drug-free champion seem[ed] miraculous.”
A fascinating and worthwhile read, indeed, but old news to anyone familiar with the topic.
When it comes to Lance, what most of us–or at least I–never realized until the publication of USADA’s 1,000-page report and Tyler Hamilton’s tell-all book was just how many lives he destroyed in pursuit of these prevalent drugs. Just how much of a bully–no, a*&hole–he really was. He cast people from the sport. Ruined their ability to make a living. He sued people who were telling the truth. He sullied their reputations. His behavior post doping is, at least in my opinion, what people are truly angry about. That’s the real revelation.
That being said, Armstrong is still a human being, and as a fellow human being, I’m a big believer in forgiveness and love. And if Lance did, in fact, grant his interview to Oprah because he wants to start doing the right thing and making amends for all the havoc he has wrought, I, for one, think we should at least let him try.
Of course, I’m not Greg LeMond, so my opinion on this topic is worth about as much as Armstrong’s word.
Photo via Wiki Commons