Cheating: to break rules to gain an advantage: to break rules in a game, examination, or contest in an attempt to gain an unfair advantage
So in a sport where it’s been pretty much proven that everybody who has won anything in recent years is cheating, then how is it considered cheating? In that definition, “to gain advantage” seems to be a key part of what it means to cheat. So if everyone is “cheating”, what advantage is being gained?
This isn’t like baseball, where some guys were juiced, and others weren’t. This is a sport that is as “dirty” as they come. This sport goes beyond the old NASCAR saying of, “if you ain’t cheatin’ you ain’t tryin’”. In this sport, if you aren’t cheating, you likely don’t even exist.
In baseball, if you want to do things the clean way, and the honorable way, you can do that. You won’t hit 65 homeruns, and you might suffer some injuries, but you can still go out and be a legendary player. Ask Chipper Jones. You don’t have to cheat to still have success. In baseball, you don’t have to be the very best baseball player on the planet for people to know who you are, for your efforts to be worth while, to have a chance of making any kind of career out of it.
But for a cyclist? Name me someone who finished second to Armstrong in one of his seven Tour de France victories……waiting……It’s probably not even that easy to look up. Okay, it probably is, but still, the point is made. If you are a cyclist, or a track runner, or any one of those individual sport athletes that only gets a few stages a year, if that many, to shine on, you have to be the best. No, not among the best, not just good enough to be in the show, you have to be the absolute best of the best, otherwise, nobody has a clue who you are. And if nobody knows who you are, you’re not making any money.
So get off your high horses about how Lance Armstrong has let you down by being a “cheater”. You can sit there all you want and say you wouldn’t have ever done it. Bulls**t. If that was your life, that was your dream, that was your everything, and you saw the people standing in your way of achieving it doing it, knowing you had no chance of overtaking them unless you did it yourself; If you even then still wouldn’t do it, you’re a bigger person than I, and most everyone else on the face of the earth.
So Lance Armstrong took some steroids……Okay. Did he not still come back from cancer? Did he not still defeat all those other cyclists seven consecutive times? Cyclists, who mind you, were on the same sort of chemical enhancement.
Lance Armstrong didn’t take steroids to beat them. He took steroids to keep the playing field level. And then he beat them.
Now, if you want to talk about him lying about the steroids, that’s a slightly different topic. But what did you want him to do? Come clean immediately, fess up, even though he’d done this well enough to be competitive, and not get caught? Why? So he could see all the work he had done for the cancer community immediately come undone?
Yes, at this point, he has stepped down from his position with the Livestrong organization, but would you have preferred this happen sooner? Why? So less people would be aware of cancer? Less people would be aware of it? Sounds reasonable.
Had Lance Armstrong decided to go about his return to cycling in the clean, “honorable” way. Nobody would have the slightest clue who he even is. Do you know how many additional people aside from those who knew him he would have made more aware of cancer? Zero. Do you know how many dollars he would have raised? Zero. Do you know how many people he would have inspired? Zero. So yeah, shame on you Lance, you didn’t do the “honorable” thing. All you did was provide hope and inspiration, awareness, and raised money, for a horrible disease. I don’t know I could even look at you.
The argument that he shouldn’t have had to cheat is naive, and uninformed. Plain and simple. Lance Armstrong had a mission, and without the use of steroids he never could have accomplished it.
So quit villifying him for it. If anything, villify the sport that let doping get so out of control that any hope whatsoever of competing depended on one’s willingness to do so.
Do not villify the man who defeated cancer, then set out to complete a mission of achieving his dream of winning the Tour de France and of bringing this disease to the attention of millions of people with the hope of one day defeating it. And he did this the same way he beat cancer, he did everything he possibly could and had to do, to do it.