Lance Armstrong, Public Opinon, and the Future of Cycling

For my investigation into another blog, I chose something that Professor Comas had suggested, Lance Armstrong’s stoppage of the fight against doping allegations and it’s bigger picture implications.  The author of the post took the opinion of not caring, justifying his position by explaining that Lance Armstrong was the best of a group of people who were all doing the same thing.  And this is true.  But to me, we deserved more from Lance Armstrong.  As a cancer survivor he won the hearts and minds of millions of people.  His “Livestrong” brand has earned millions and millions of dollars towards cancer research and advancement.  Yet, when I read all of the reports from his former teammates, those such as Floyd Landis who were caught doping before Armstrong, one thing is clear: Lance Armstrong was the master mind behind the doping.  On all of his teammates someone has come out and said that no matter what it was; blood transfusions, blood spinning, testosterone and the like, Lance was the one ordering the ejections, delivering the instructions, and winning the championships.

To me, that is too bad.  Lance, as the author has pointed out, has never been the most well-liked person to those who know him personally.  He is often characterized as pompous, unfriendly, and opinionated.  But to the public, he was larger than life.  And to me, this only sullies is reputation because for nearly a decade he has arduously defended himself.  To stop now only tells me that he is guilty yet is unable to face the consequences of said characterization.

It will be interesting to see what this news means for cycling as a sport.  The author of the blog made an interesting comparison to baseball, as the start of the steroid era brought baseball back with the home run race between Mark McGwire and Sammy Soda.  They were later found to have been cheating along with hundreds of others during those years, so baseball cracked down.  Today, baseball has come out of its dark years as a better sport.  Dominated by the pitchers and those hitters that have such incredible talent they do not need steroids, testosterone, the cream or the clear (slang terms).  Hopefully, a white knight will come out of the woodwork in the form of a performance-enhancing-free cycling star.  Someone who can bring cycling out its dark years just as baseball has by attacking its problems with comprehensive testing.


8 thoughts on “Lance Armstrong, Public Opinon, and the Future of Cycling

  1. You picked a really interesting blog to look at. Can you say for sure that Lance Armstrong was the master-mind behind the doping? It just seems hard to believe that it was entirely his fault and his team mates would let all the blame fall on him. It would really be something interesting to look in to. For steroids and other performance enhancers in sports, it’s definitely calmed down over the years and I’m sure the same will happen for cycling too.

  2. At some level, does Lance remind you of Mike Daisey? Like, there is a story of personal failure and duplicity, but a larger one of important ideas (impact of globalization on people and life after cancer)? Personal honesty does matter, but so do larger truths.

    Do we look at ten ends to justify the means? DO we look at which duties are greater? An ethical quandry, for sure.

    • Yes I did…….

      Interesting post here. I do agree that everyone was doping and your comparison to Sammy Sosa was a quality one. Yet, after all of these years of fighting, why did he give up now? It has been clear for a while now, at least to me, that he was doping. Teammates that were in his hotels, his meetings, and his tents throughout his career have said for years that he led the charge on testosterone, on blood spinning, and on blood transfusions. It seemed to me as though he was the mastermind behind guys such as Floyd Landis getting involved in doping.

      That is to say, if he is the best cheater and everyone is cheating, then he is the best, and that is true. It is also true that I’m not sure what this means for the sport. You would hope that cycling would take on a similar path to baseball in that it would (semi)acknowledge its era of skeletons in the closet in the form of performance enhancers and then take drastic measures to clean up the game. For me, I do not see that happening. The doping in cycling is far too advanced to monitor and totally test for and it will inevitably continue.

      It will be interesting to see how this shapes and/or changes Armstrong’s legacy. As a man who has become a legend both for his ability to win perhaps the hardest athletic event in the world over and over post-cancer and for battling cancer and raising hundreds of millions for research for cancer, it will be hard for him to become completely unpopular. Yet, with his staunch political views and his inability to completely make people believers in his doping innocence, this will certainly be a step back. It is my guess that the Tour de France will never in the my lifetime be as popular or as watched by the casual sports fan as it was when Lance was on top. So, here’s to a clean version of Lance Armstrong coming along to make the sport great and popular again.

    • “The cream” is a testosterone-based ointment that is used in conjunction with anabolic steroids

      The clear is a designer liquid steroid that is dropped under the tongue – it is also an anabolic steroid.

      As a baseball fan, of course I can name a few of its stars. My point was this – the game of baseball is now about baseball. There’s been more purity to it in recent years. More perfect games and no hitters than ever – no ridiculous home run marks. Interestingly enough though, as baseball has come into a new age after the steroid era, its popularity has actually decreased. What I mean by that is this, there are NFL fans and there are NBA fans and there are NHL fans. People turn on their TV’s and watch those LEAGUES. Baseball has had a problem with not having any fans of the MLB. They are out there but not nearly as many as there used to be.

      People turn on the NFL and just watch any game, that doesn’t happen anymore with the MLB. Games are too long for this new ADD generation. My friend Alex Benoit’s sister (you actually have him in class) works on the MLB advertising account. She gave me some inside information on this and it will be interesting to what direction they go with their marketing.

  3. I like your point about us as the public deserving much more form Lance Armstrong. He not only brought absolute pride to cancer survivors but think about what he did for his sport. I honestly can say I did not follow cycling at all or even watch the Tour de France before Lance Armstrong. It turned into a family event for my family when we would vacation every summer in the Outer Banks. Everyone would come in from the beach and cheer for literally this hero in the sports world to win. It is truly disappointing much like the Tiger Woods scandal.

  4. Did you see that Lance was recently banned from running in the Chicago Marathon? His lifelong ban by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency apparently keeps him out. I absolutely believe that he was doping for the tours, but it’s interesting that once of the consequences of his punishment is being banned from a marathon- nothing to do with cycling.

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