COLUMN: Tour de Farce
I’ll admit it. I still wear mine.
That yellow wristband that is meant to support cancer, and the organization known to billions around the world as “Livestrong.” One of the main reasons I still wear it is because it matches one of my school colors.
For anyone who has been living under a rock for the past five months, Lance Armstrong, the face of this cancer fighting organization and the sport of bicycling, was stripped of his seven Tour de France wins.
On Thanksgiving, I was on the road driving to yet another relative’s house when I turned on NPR to try to stay awake.
While listening to several stories regarding Hurricane Sandy and the failed cease fire in Israel, another story came on that intrigued me. It was in regards to Armstrong’s lack of denial as well as the number of witnesses lining up against him in the doping scandal of the century.
The report involved separate interviews with the 11 teammates he had raced with dating all the way back to 1997; two years before he won his first Tour de France.
Armstrong was said to have “run the most sophisticated doping program ever,” according to one of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency officials overseeing the investigation.
In the USDA, out of a 1,000 page explanation of its allegations toward Armstrong, there were only five charges. You did not read that wrong. Five charges in 1,000 pages.
So, to say the least, I would have believed Lance Armstrong was innocent, despite the fact that he has been tested more times than any other athlete; despite the fact that he has 26 people saying he doped, including 11 of his past teammates.
And despite the fact that the USADA provided financial emails, lab tests and scientific data proving his use.
However, the fact that Lance has yet to deny anything and has refused comment is what tells me he is not innocent.
Then again, there seems to be an onslaught of iconic athletes falling to controversy before the public.
I remember everyone’s reaction to Michael Phelps being caught smoking marijuana after his record-setting performance in Beijing. So, he lost nearly half of his sponsors including the big dog: Wheaties.
Next came Tiger Woods and the entire sex scandal that seemed to grow larger every day, with more women coming forward for the 15 minutes of shame. Who knew the greatest golfer in the world was the second coming of Ron Jeremy?
If we were to base this scandal on the two previous ones, it seems with each new athlete; the scandal gets more and more severe.
So, who’s next? Who can possibly top sleeping with 121 women and cheating hundreds of athletes out of that famous yellow jersey?
Maybe Roger Federer will be photographed clubbing baby seals with his tennis racket. Or Manny Pacquiao will be caught downloading 10,000 songs.
Then, and only then, will people start to forget about Armstrong and his legacy.
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