Quote of the Morning

"As for Armstrong, I'm afraid I cannot muster much anger about the actual use of what he correctly calls "performance enhancers". If everyone is cheating, in some ways, no one is. And the ubiquity of performance enhancers in the sport when he was at its helm means he was competing against chemically-enhanced equals. He still won. Those drugs take human performance to new levels, but they do not abolish core and real athletic prowess, focus, and psychological grit. I've long believed in ending prohibition in sports on performance enhancers - because they are everywhere and unstoppable. We should rather have tests that ensure equality of enhancement. We could also have drug-free football, for example, alongside the steroidal monstrosities of the NFL. Fans might even prefer to watch human beings play the game again, rather than herds of steroidal human cattle, slowly turning their brains to mush." Andrew Sullivan

I'm glad to see I'm not alone on these points. While I watched the confession last night, I couldn't help but to feel vindicated in my view that all of the visibility of doping in cycling and all of the subsequent angst is due to almost exclusively to cycling's transparency and increasingly strict testing requirements. Period. If other sports, like football, were as diligent in policing drugs as cycling, there would surely be many more Lance Armstrongs spanning most of major league sports -- baseball being a rare and refreshing exception.

Yes, Lance cheated then lied and bullied his way through many, many years of competition. But don't think for a second that professional cyclists are any more corrupt that your favorite athletes.

  • trgahan

    Is it sad I’m more concerned about the whole “confessing to Oprah makes it all better” thing than the actual doping Armstrong did? The whole set up reeks of a “give me a softball confessional interview and I’ll help your struggling media empire” marketing ploy.

    Definitely one of the dumbest sports media moves since “The Decision.”

  • muselet

    All the commotion about Lance Armstrong would be easier to take if the loudest voices condemning Armstrong and cycling as a whole actually knew anything about the sport. Ask the next person who complains bitterly about Lance Armstrong to name a pro cycling event other than the Tour de France—or name any active pro cyclist, for that matter—and the response would almost certainly be a blank stare.

    That obscurity makes cycling safe to attack. A sportswriter who made as big a deal about the NFL’s drugs problems, past and present, would be banned from locker rooms and denied interviews, and in all likelihood would be reassigned to covering high school wrestling. But that same sportswriter can prove what a tough and hard-nosed journalist he is by going after cycling, an activity most of his readers do not consider to be a sport, and by going after Armstrong.

    The real answer is, of course, to take the financial incentives to cheat out of sport, and good luck with that. Realistically, as long as athletes use performance-enhancing drugs, there will need to be testing and punishment for those who use PEDs. (I remain convinced that the WADA/USADA are not competent to do drug testing on athletes—and I find their lack of accountability troubling—but that’s a rant for another time.)

    Lance Armstrong is a symptom of a problem, not the problem itself. All too many people are confusing the two.


    • paleotectonics

      Armstrong passed every contemporary test. By the standards of the time that he was racing, he was legitimate.

      Did the use PEDs? Probably, near everyone did. (I’d actually say that their is a small chance he may now just be playing the contrition/competition/autobiography game. {/conspiracy})

      The US A.D.A. is completely untrustworthy, one of the oldest scams in the book – “Let’s create a standard, enforce the standard, and act as consultants to meet the standard.” (see ISO 9000), and Travis Tygart is a glory hound – his mission does not seem to be a crusade against PEDs, or any form of ‘virtue’, but likely public office, money, and Travis Tygart.

      • muselet

        We’re in more or less full agreement (see my earlier comments on Armstrong and especially the USADA).


        • paleotectonics

          Hmmm, screwed up, either in procedure or phraseology – was not arguing with you, just adding my own ADA rant and coupla thoughts. Cheers, always like your stuff!

          • muselet

            No screw-up on your part, I was just saying “Amen.”

            And thanks for the compliment.


  • Amy Stone

    I started watching cycling in 2010 after Bob posted a clip of a nasty crash. I fell in love with the sport and followed teams with no needle policies.The doping and the cover up do not surprise me or put me off the sport. Yet,every time I have heard or seen lance in interviews, he has increasingly demonstrated the man for what he really is. He disgusts me. I cant believe he had the hutzpah to sue anyone who called him out AND THEY WERE RIGHT! I thought I left all that arrogance and conceit behind when i left the banking industry. He is an icon of American greed and ruthlessness. Embarrassing.

  • IrishGrrrl

    While I agree with you on the larger points, I was shocked by Lance’s real contrition. He was saying the words, “I’m sorry” but he didn’t mean it at all. He sounded like a stone cold sociopath to me. And while it’s true that most of them use performance enhancing drugs we know there are some, even winning athletes, who didn’t. I don’t care to see or hear from Armstrong again.