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September 9, 2012 3:44 pm

Lance Armstrong: Is He Guilty? And the Lesson We Can Learn

avatar by Yossi Goldstein

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Cancer survivor Lance Armstrong. Photo: wiki commons.

Retribution and Tragedy are words that often coincide.

As defined by thinkers, “tragedy” represents an exalted person’s fall from grace; “retribution” often is the reason for it.

The story of Lance Armstrong, too, may very well fit into this category.

His many professional racing feats, mostly came after his near-death battle with testicular cancer at the young age of 25, Lance gained notoriety and celebrity status as his professional cycling victories began to pile up. His rise to the top of the cycling world was completed after his unthinkable seventh victory in the Tour de France, cycling’s premier race.

His aptitude during the most grueling portions of The Tour gave way to the moniker, “Tour de Lance.”

However, rubbing shoulders with everyone from former US Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, to former NY Yankees manager Joe Torre, didn’t preclude Lance from constantly being harassed; having his victories, as they amounted, called into question.

From as far back as I heard the name “Lance Armstrong” – 1998 to be exact – I remember hearing whispering that Lance was tainted.

Possibly this was due to Lance’s sheer talent and work ethic which drove his teammates and competitors alike to jealousy. Or, perhaps, it was Lance’s brash Texan style that upset verbally-fragile souls who figured they could now take revenge on him by selling boats regarding his ‘doping.’

Either way, many believe what the United States Anti-Doping Agency did in the latter years of Armstrong’s career was nothing short of a witch hunt.

Having a big name, celebrity-status cyclist who didn’t get along with many to be the ‘fall guy’ in the USADA’s bid for stardom; I could certainly buy into that plausibility.

If you don’t believe me, try this out for a conspiracy theory.

The French Cycling Federation recently came out with these quotes on Lance’s Lot: “We welcome the perseverance of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency,” a statement from the FCF read. The remarks also included a proclamation that, “Armstrong’s refusal to contest USADA’s accusations sounds like an admission of his guilt.”

You need not be a rocket scientist to recall that the French, as a whole, were never really fond of Armstrong, or pleased to see ‘their race’ being constantly won by the same brash American, who couldn’t care for the ‘French way’.

There’s an old teaching to never judge someone’s actions – in this case, non-actions – until you are in his or her shoes.

Let’s try for a moment, and pretend we’re Lance Armstrong, winner of seven Tour’s, and the athlete being constantly accused of doping for what feels like since the beginning of time.

Remember, Armstrong has never failed a drug test in his life.

Nonetheless, the USADA says it has proof that Lance used performance-enhancing drugs during his wins to aid his victories.

If this is indeed true, it then is a sad day everywhere for children who look for heroes; adults who seek inspiration.

In my mind, a cheater must face the music if he or she tries to circumvent the natural order of things.

If Armstrong wanted everyone the world over to think he was actually victorious through his sweat, toil, and perseverance, yet, cheated his way through it all, I agree with stripping him of his titles and banning him from cycling for life.

What I cannot understand is if there is indeed proof to Lance’s illegitimate accomplishment pudding, then why hasn’t the USADA shown it.

The USADA this past week came out saying it will expound on its findings in the coming months.

Again, why wait. Do it now.
If, however, there isn’t any evidence to the alleged doping, shame then on the USADA for trying to blaspheme and blacken the living legend and hero to people around the world who suffer from life-threatening disease and look up to Armstrong for inspiration, and the power to live for a better tomorrow.

Nonetheless, no matter how this saga will end, there are lessons we can derive from the trial and tribulations of Armstrong.

In a word, it’s Karma.

Always be respectful, pleasant, and nice to those around you because you don’t want your brash and brazenness to come back to bite you where and when it most counts.

However it goes a bit deeper than just being mindful of your words and actions.

We find ourselves in a time near the Jewish High Holidays, where repentance for our misdeeds is encouraged. If Lance did indeed dope, he still has time to admit his guilt, and he likely will still find favor in the eyes of his many adoring fans.

Hey, they might say, he did something he shouldn’t have done. We all make mistakes.

The same applies to each of us, if we feel in our heart of hearts that we did something wrong in our own lives, it’s now high-time to admit guilt and mend our past ways for a better and brighter future.

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