You could drive yourself pretty crazy trying to reconcile the gap between Lance Armstrong
the cheating doper and Lance Armstrong the incredible champion of the fight against cancer. Perhaps a time will come when former fans of Armstrong like myself can view Armstrong in two lights, separating his wonderful charity work, and his disdainful steroid usage. Right now that time feels a long way away, as the level of cheating that has been exposed is simply overwhelming.
There are plenty who aren’t wildly familiar with Armstrong’s charity work who are reviewing the mounting evidence and screaming ‘Just throw him in jail and throw away the key’.
For those of us who witnessed the positive impact of both Armstrong’s written and physical work in the fight against cancer, it has been hard to face up to the facts.
The release of the US Anti-Doping Agency’s (USADA
) report today basically wipes away any possibility at all that Lance ‘didn’t do it’.
Sadly it is all there in black and white. Armstrong was an enormous cheat. Still feeling in any way in doubt? Well, check this out. US Anti-Doping Agency’s (USADA) report
Whatever way Armstrong and his legal team try to spin this, perhaps the most damning evidence amongst the over 200 pages of material published by the USADA is the fact that no less than eleven former team-mates of Armstrong, including some still highly respected members of the cycling World, have come forward to give evidence that yes, he was sticking needles in his backside. Those eleven names basically wipe away any doubt whatsoever, and they are; Frankie Andreu, Michael Barry, Tom Danielson, Tyler Hamilton, George Hincapie, Floyd Landis, Levi Leipheimer, Stephen Swart, Christian Vande Velde, Jonathan Vaughters and David Zabriskie.
It is impossible to see how Armstrong can continue to deny not only the 200 page report but also the evidence from those eleven former tem-mates.
What is left is two sets of facts which have to be weighed against each other.
In the positive corner, the very name Lance Armstrong has become a guiding light to those people and their families and friends that have fought and are fighting cancer. Want to put some numbers on this? Easily done. The Lance Armstrong Foundation has raised almost $500 million (340 million euros, 310 million pounds) since it was created in 1997. That is a mind boggling number and worthy of praise no matter the situation.
In the negative corner, we can simply use the USADA statement . Armstrong, they claim, was at the heart of "the most sophisticated, professionalised and successful doping programme that sport has ever seen. He was not just a part of the doping culture on his team, he enforced and re-enforced it."
What is clear is that Armstrong is gone now from organised cycling, and with his record seven Tour De France titles stripped from his grasp, all that remains is his legacy.
As for that, now it is up to us as sports fans to figure out just what exactly that legacy is.
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