Oh no. The whole Lance Armstrong debacle.
I’ve been avoiding most conversation about the subject because I wasn’t sure how I felt and I wanted to see how things progressed before trying to form some kind of opinion.
You see, Lance has had a special place in my heart for a long time. In the past 13 years of my life I had a rather intense cancer journey of my own – culminating in a stem cell transplant in 2007. It was a very difficult period in my life and one of the things I gained strength from was Lance Armstrong’s book – It’s Not About the Bike; Or rather the journey documented within it. I’ve read it at least five times.
I had my problems with Lance’s all American hero status – I’d describe myself as a more down to earth kinda guy, but he was my hero because he overcame such difficulties and changed people’s attitudes towards cancer. I changed my attitudes and it gave me strength to fight on in times of incredible pain – both physical and mental. These small hopes and inspirations can easily be discounted by people who have not had to endure such difficulties – but let me assure you, the smallest amount of courage and drive to fight on can do absolute wonders.
Throughout this time rumours were flying around that Lance was a doper but I largely ignored them because a) I could not act on that information in any constructive way, and b) it didn’t detract from the fact that he’d been such an inspiration in my own recovery.
With all the recent allegations and, what can only be described as, insurmountable evidence my feelings of strength and inspiration has not diminished; And I fear that this battle will be forgotten or diminished by the media and the public opinion. That I find unfair.
My thoughts surrounding the drugs thing float back and forth. In many ways I feel its constructive for cycling to get all this out in the open so a line can be drawn under it and the sport can move on – especially in this time of cycling receiving a massive boost in the public status.
Arguments fly back and forth – some being absolutely scathing of everything Lance Armstrong is, others stating that he’s still a winner because everyone else was doping too – he was the best rider and the best doper.
Considering Lance’s cancer history, even with the doping, it is still an incredible comeback. By that I will stand and I will continue to draw inspiration from that. This is by no means a reflection on my opinion of doping. I’m against doping.
So it seems that I’m contradicting myself – to many I may be. To me I’m not. I consider the journey from cancer to winning the Tour de France 7 times a separate issue to winning the Tour de France 7 times with the help of doping. It seems funny writing that down because it seems such a far fetched distinction.
Right or wrong I still feel an enormous amount of respect for Lance, his achievements, Livestrong, and for all the inspiration he has provided not just me but others also.