Well, it happened again. Another “hero” turned out to be a zero. Another champ turned into a chump. It’s a bit like the Tiger Woods scandal, except Woods never cheated in his own sport. He just cheated on
his wife. But in both cases an icon fell from grace, and fell hard. Woods hasn’t won a Major since his scandal, his game is shot to hell, his fabled steely eyed concentration gone.
In truth, I’m not much of a cycling fan. Most Americans aren’t. Like soccer, cycling is much more popular in Europe than in the States. Still, for a long time, I was inclined to give Armstrong the benefit of the doubt. Here we had an American who went to France and beat the Frogs at their own national sport. Seven times. So when accusations of cheating first emerged, I figured it was just sour grapes. The French don’t like being humiliated, and especially not by an American. And, besides, how was it that he was never
caught? How could anyone compete in so many races for so many years and never be disqualified even once?
Well, the only “Defense” for Armstrong (and it’s not much of a defense) is that it looks like the fix was writ large. EVERYONE was cheating, and apparently no one cared. Certainly not the officials, who also bear a fair amount of responsibility for this mess. I mean, in the Olympics, they run a tight ship when it comes to doping. In 1988, a Canadian sprinter won the 100 meter dash. A couple days later he was tested, found to be positive, and quickly stripped of his medal. So, how did Armstrong win those 7 races without ever getting caught? Official malfeasance on the part of the sport’s doping authorites seems to be the only logical answer. This “Sport” seems to be about as corrupt as professional wrestling, except in wrestling they don’t even pretend it’s not fake any more.
Anyway, Armstrong is now in deep shit. Not only will all his victories be stripped from him, but his reputation as a champion is now mud. And that’s not the end of it. He made a nice fortune from his scam, and he may have to give much of it back in lawsuits. But, worse, he lied and slandered others in his cover-up efforts, making him worse than a mere cheat. But, anyway, he’s admitted it now. Well, sort of. He rather cagily didn’t admit to anything that could get him prosecuted under the law. But his career is toast, he’ll be lucky to get paid to endorse roach spray now with his reputation completely in tatters. Maybe he and Tiger Woods can team up and go on an “American Losers” tour.