Dan Griffin – Staff Writer –
Lance Armstrong getting stripped of his Tour de France titles and any glory in the sport of cycling is a punishment that fits the crime.
This man was the most important figure in the sport for nearly 10 years after overcoming cancer and then winning seven championships in the sport’s biggest event. Only until last August did Armstrong claim that he was legitimate and free of performance enhancing drugs.
With the pressure rising every day for professional athletes to win championships and make their fans cheer, it is impossible to think that these athletes are not worried about losing steam. The prospect of everlasting fame and fortune also leads athletes down the infamous path of doping. Can we really be surprised that these major celebrities have gone so far to defend themselves from becoming obsolete?
For the last fifteen years, in baseball especially, the media and subsequently the government has cracked down on PEDs in America’s and the world’s favorite sports. But even though attention has been brought to the subject, athletes are still being found with PEDs in their system.
What makes Armstrong different are the details of his drug use and the kind of person investigators have found him to be.
11 of Armstrong’s United States Postal Service team members testified that Armstrong took PEDs and had also encouraged and administered them to his team members since the beginning of his title run.
“[This was] the most sophisticated, professionalized and successful doping program that sport has ever seen,” said the United States Anti-Doping Agency.
The USADA has released a 202 page report describing the events that have led to Armstrong’s punishment. They find Armstrong guilty of six charges: use of banned substances, possession of banned substances, trafficking, administration, and “assisting, encouraging, aiding, abetting, covering up and other complicity.”
The way Armstrong hid from the world is extremely crooked, corrupt, and criminal. He had continuously lied about his drug use while dominating his sport for years and supplying the drugs to the rest of his teammates. If any of his teammates decided to testify against him, he would threaten them until he got his way.
What he accomplished, what some thought was one of the greatest accomplishments in the history of sport, has been taken away from the record completely. The International Cycling Union, besides stripping him of his titles, has also banned him from the sport indefinitely.
“Lance Armstrong has no place in cycling, and he deserves to be forgotten in cycling,” said UCI President Pat McQuaid.
I agree with McQuaid. Armstrong has soiled the reputation of a sport he represented for a decade. He continuously broke the rules that his sport continues to enforce, forced his way to the top, cheated, threatened, administered drugs, and lied about his drug use since the beginning of his career.
Growing up, I thought Armstrong was an inspiration and he made me believe that anything is possible if you work hard enough. Children deserve better role models than over-competitive cheaters and liars.