Friday, November 2, 2012

When Heroes Fall...

So it turns out that not only did Lance Armstrong dope his blood when he was winning all of those Tour de France titles, but, as Michael Specter writes in the New Yorker: "he was the king—better at doping than he was at pretending to win bicycle races through grit and determination." There are a lot of sordid details, many of which are incredible to read, but the kicker is this statement by the USADA: "the evidence in the case against Lance Armstrong is beyond strong; it is as strong, or stronger than, that presented in any case brought by USADA over the initial twelve years of USADA’s existence."

That's an incredible statement, and really does put everything that Lance has ever said into a different perspective. I mean, not only did Lance deny doping, but he did so vehemently, so passionately that it's hard to believe it was all an act. It was like he thought he'd never get caught - although in the end, history always people always get caught. Lance's image is in shambles, his biking titles (and marathon finish!) stripped from him, and he's currently laying low,  not defending himself publicly and stepping down from the head of Livestrong.

Other then wondering what kind of man can lie so vehemently about what he knows to be true, the question of what this means to Livestrong is the most fascinating question to me. Lifestrong is a good charity regardless of Lance's actions, and has (and will) achieve a lot of good in the world. But how it moves forward in the face of the disgrace of its figurehead will be very interesting. As Suzanne Vega sings in "When Hereos Go Down" (linked above):
When heroes go down / They land in flame
So don't expect any slow and careful / Settling of blame
I'm not expecting, or even advocating, that Lance's forming Livestrong to somehow mitigate his lies and cheating on the playing field. But the issues, and the person, are complex, and it's good to keep that in mind as we ponder the meaning of Lance Armstrong's rise and fall.

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