I can’t help myself: I sort of vowed I would no longer comment on the 60 Minutes story, the Landises and Hamiltons of the cycling world. Sure, there is reason for concern and the cycling world is not there yet. If it ever will be by the way: was yesterday’s Giro stage in any way human(ly possible)? But as Matt McGinty (@gint32) points out: it all doesn’t matter (link).
And since I was struck by (the content of) that article, I replied:
“Agreed on most counts. Rumors and hear say, details of a federal investigation out in the open (a crime if true imho, but is there any truth in it?), pathetic losers claiming evidence has been destroyed. Let’s wait for the outcome of the investigation and stop making fuss – many reports and commentaries are written with the possibility of an outcome either way, so in the end they either can say ‘I told you so’ or ‘I didn’t say that (or I didn’t mean it like that)’. Cowards.
There are more important things to do, even if we are talking about Lance. Keep up the good work and never give up – Live Strong!”
So, it IS eating me, even if it is not important. Kind of like Wouter Weylandt’s death affected me, even if I did not (personally) know the guy. Obviously I do not know Lance Armstrong personally either, but I admire(d) him, not so much for his personality, but for his cycling results and more importantly: for ‘his’ foundation.
I know that people have been bad mouthing that as well, mostly because they believe – for instance – that much of the funds slip into his own pocket. But I think that most will at least agree on that being a positive effort by ’the Boss’.
And while I realize that his so called ‘distance’ to his fans – he’s surrounded by body guards most of the time – is also easily mistaken for some misplaced star behavior, I would like to point out that this is almost unavoidable given his stature. Yes, you may be able to approach Andy Schleck much easier, Sastre is an absolute high to that effect, but I think it’s clear that there is a difference.
He became world champion at 21, survived an stage 3 cancer, won the Tour de France 7 times and founded the LiveStrong Foundation to help fight cancer in the world, a million dollar business by now. And besides, many top athletes – like it or not – albeit grateful to and for their fans, have to keep their distance. Do you call them ‘fans’ on every single mountain climb idiots? Many of those are at the finish line too…
All of that does not make him divine or put him above the law. Like, no unlike, all other athletes and cyclists in particular, he has been tested for use of drugs and he never failed a test. I read a comment that said ‘he never failed, but didn’t say he never used, as subtle difference’ – while true, I think that’s an excellent example of what so many ‘honest reporters’ are doing, which is plain innuendo.
Like those so called ‘eye witness reports’, they fail to produce evidence, even worse: they claim the evidence has been destroyed.
I know that many people – not only Americans, but around the globe – are true believers (suckers?) for conspiracy theories. And while this one would not quite be of the same magnitude as the 9-11 conspiracy theories, it would be entertaining if it wouldn’t be so sad (and pointless). Also, if these are the arguments, how on earth are we ever going to be putting an end to this? We never will!
It may well be that one day Lance’s myth will be debunked. The myth of the invincible TDF fighter that is, but for now – as well as then – I believe in the LAF, the LiveStrong movement and all the volunteers and all the people who have benefited from its work. We have Lance to thank for that – not only him, let’s make that clear, but he definitely helped set this thing in motion.
And no matter how hard they try, they will never make that be forgotten.