Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Lance Armstrong - He is Legend - Go Lance

I believe that swimmer/cyclist Lance Armstrong has done far more good for humanity than bad. I don't believe he is being treating unfairly by sports governing bodies but I do think he is by the media. All the penalties he has received are acceptable but I feel that his failures are being touted more loudly than than his legitimate successes.

In a sport filled with rampant doping Armstrong was the norm and not the exception. Cycling is so awash in dope and oxygenated blood that one wonders why the sport was not designated an "FDA Phase I-III clinical trial." In other words doping was the de facto standard rather than the anomaly.

The norm, no matter how crazy it seems, is still called...Normal!

Armstrong's punishments fit but the narrative should be in the proper context: Lance Armstrong was a cheat in a sport where the overwhelming majority of winners were cheaters. That he started a cancer foundation that inspired victims and that the LiveStrong  foundation he founded delivers 82% of its donations to programs rather than  salaries, furniture, and defending lawsuits from the sexually abused victims. Does USA Swimming put 82% of its monies toward programs? I think not.

Top Five Tour de France finishers form 1999 to 2005 compiled from Reddit:

Lance Armstrong
Alex Zülle (‘98 busted for EPO)
Fernando Escartín (Systematic team doping exposed in ‘04)
Laurent Dufaux (‘98 busted for EPO)
Ángel Casero (‘06 implicated in Operacion Puerto)

Lance Armstrong
Jan Ullrich (‘06 implicated in Operacion Puerto)
Joseba Beloki (‘06 implicated in Operacion Puerto)
Christophe Moraue (‘98 busted for EPO)
Roberto Heras (‘05 busted for EPO)

Lance Armstrong
Jan Ullrich (‘06 implicated in Operacion Puerto)
Joseba Beloki (‘06 implicated in Operacion Puerto)
Andrei Kivilev (CLEAN - Died in 2003 of a head injury)
Igor González de Galdeano (‘06 implicated in Operacion Puerto)

Lance Armstrong
Joseba Beloki (‘06 implicated in Operacion Puerto)
Raimondas Rumšas (Suspended in ‘03 for doping)
Santiago Botero (‘06 implicated in Operacion Puerto)
Igor González de Galdeano (‘06 implicated in Operacion Puerto)

Lance Armstrong
Jan Ullrich (‘06 implicated in Operacion Puerto)
Alexander Vinokourov (Suspended in ‘07 for CERA)
Tyler Hamilton (Suspended ‘04 for blood doping)
Haimar Zubeldia (CLEAN)

Lance Armstrong
Andreas Kloden (Named in doping case in ‘08)
Ivan Basso (Suspended in ‘07 for Operacion Puerto ties)
Jan Ullrich (‘06 implicated in Operacion Puerto)
Jose Azevedo (‘06 implicated in Operacion Puerto)

Lance Armstrong
Ivan Basso (Suspended in ‘07 for Operacion Puerto ties)
Jan Ullrich (‘06 implicated in Operacion Puerto)
Fransico Mancebo (‘06 implicated in Operacion Puerto)
Alexander Vinokourov (Suspended in ‘07 for CERA)

Cycling is slowly recovering as is the Tour de France. Times are much slower than before but the specter of doping still remains. They too have a shady governing body but I will leave it at that...

There is novel called I Am Legend, (not the movie), written in 1954 by Richard Mateson. It was the actual forerunner to the "Zombie Apocalypse" genre that we see today. In the book, the world is overrun by a pandemic disease that drives the a large percentage of the population insane and overly sensitive to light. Many therein, due to their insanity and innate superstitions think they have been converted into vampires.

Spoiler ahead:

After the protagonist Robert Neville kills"vampires" to numerous to count, a hybrid vampire befriends the protagonist, Robert Neville,  betrays him and consequently offers him up to the "hoard" to be executed for murder. As he looks out his jail cell he realizes...

From Wikipedia:
Neville goes to his prison window and sees all the infected waiting for his execution. Judging by their reactions to the sight of him, he now recognizes their point of view. Having hitherto seen the destruction of the infected survivors as a moral imperative to be pursued for his own and mankind's survival, he failed to realize that the infected have come to view him in fear and awe. To them, he was an invisible killer who moved by day, killing their loved ones as they hibernated. He realizes that even as vampires were legend in pre-infection times, he, a remnant of old humanity, is now a legend to the new race born of the infection. He therefore remarks to himself as he dies: "[I am] a new superstition entering the unassailable fortress of forever. I am legend"

Lance Armstrong is certainly a legend but let's not list him as an evil legend. He has certainly been placed into a "sporting bodies death row cell" but his public "crucifiction" should be more balanced and accurate. There is no "artesian well" of perfect people and quite frankly the accomplishments he has made in helping people and defeating cancer at large are far greater than the people he burned in a recreational sport.

Go Lance!


Anonymous said...

google to find the Newsday article from a couple of days ago to read up on how Lance and his goons terrorized those who dare speak out against him - or not support his organized crime unit.

There is no doubt that put on a scale, everything he has done to fight cancer outweighs his negative. But we've heard nothing but positive about the cheat who left his wife for a rock star for the last 15 years. A few weeks letting the world know what a jerk he is as well doesn't come close to the 15 years of hero-worshipping the media has thrown on him.

He's a jerk who did a lot of good. There is no whole person, but he may very well be evil.

Tony Austin said...

May I have a link to the News Day article and I will post the link with a snippet from that article within the blogpost?

I think this is worthy of an ethics debate. If people join in and they should see both sides or at least an overview of what he is being "crucified" for.

Calling him evil is way too over the top for me.

Have you looked at the financial information at LiveStrong site? The form 990s go all the way back to 2004. The pie charts illustrating distribution really help as well.

If you average out LiveStrong's income to say $30-million a year gross; (about the same as USA Swimming), and their average output of 85% going to the the subject of their non-profit and the remaining 15% going towards management, that is approaching $1/3-of-a-billion in charitable output. (I am including and presuming that years 2000 through to 2003 were just as giving.)

I also noticed the stories of phone calls and visits to victims and how inspired they were. How many witnesses did he intimidate?

A lot of people hold individuals in our government with the highest of regard and looked to them as heroes even rather than evil actors. These names include Henry Truman who dropped two nuclear bombs on Japan. Thomas Jefferson and George Washington who had slaves, and Senator Robert Bird who was once a KKK Grand Wizard boss but love animals.

I think the good outweighs the bad 1000-fold.

Anonymous said...


According to the USADA Report, the foundation was set up to mask the corruption. It worked for many years.

The foundation is wonderful - who doesn't have a yellow wrist band. Lance distanced himself from his foundation - everyone else should too.

The report talks about how cheating does not level the playing field - because everyone is doing it, in fact, doping distorts the playing field. Who has the best doctors, best information, biggest risk taker?

Just because people do good deeds should not give them a free pass for unethical behavior. According to the report, teammates were forced to dope in order to stay on the team. It's easy to start a foundation when sponsors are giving you tens of millions of dollars.

Anonymous said...

jaja.. today the crooked ones are heroes

Tony Austin said...

To anonymous at 11:37 PM

Yeah Seriously.

I think his UCI punishment fits as stated in the blogpost and that Live Strong is a solid charity. Their CEO makes about one-third of what the USA swimming chief and has contributed more than he took away from it. I think that is demonstrable.

As for level playing field, the top five finishers in the Tour de France races listed in the post sure makes it look that way.

Then there is... "..Kathy LeMond testified under oath during a 2006 deposition in the SCA arbitration case that Julian Devries, a mechanic for Armstrong’s team, had told her and others that Nike and Thom Weisel – the San Francisco banker who sponsored and part-owned Armstrong’s team - had transferred $500,000 to a Swiss bank account that belonged to [Hein] Verbruggen..." [Link]

if I am not mistaken, there are very few good guys and in that sport and if Lemond's allegation is true, there is no moral authority at the top either.

Anonymous said...

Sorry - It was the NY Daily News:


and more if you look:


Tony Austin said...

Thank you, that was a lot of work. I plan on using both links and snippets from each.

As I am looking up stuff, I am seeing lots of bribery allegations too and not payoffs from just Lance Armstrong but rather a $3-million payout from Japanese sources to get keirin cycling racing into the Olympics among others.

This is not a sport, it's a mafia.

Anonymous said...

According to the New York Daily, Lance had Livestrong charity lobby on Capital Hill on his behalf to raise questions about USADA's financing, mission, and authority - even though USADA's probe had nothing to do with the charity's mission to assist cancer patients and their families.

Armstrong is using his charity to fight his personal battles and according to the article it's virtually impossible to separate Armstrong, Livestrong, and the sponsors.

Armstrong is alot like USA Swimming - deceive the "base" in order to grow. Once again, liars and cheaters prevail - but it's alright because of the good they have done? Sorry, but I have to disagree!!!