Say it ain’t so, Lance, say it ain’t so.
The legendary cyclist, Lance Armstrong, has decided not to contest the charges brought down on him by the United States Anti-Doping Agency for his alleged use of performance-enhancing drugs.
Since being officially charged in June, Armstrong said the judicial process has taken too much of a toll on him and his family, while also distracting him from work with his cancer foundation.
By not challenging the charges, Armstrong has been stripped of all his seven record-breaking Tour de France titles and banned for life from all future competitions. Armstrong was disqualified and stripped of all medals and accolades obtained since Aug. 1, 1998 and on.
As Armstrong rolls over and lets the USADA tarnish his legacy, many feel he has quietly admitted he used steroids.
They are wrong.
Armstrong had a constitutional right to fight the USADA allegations. He isn’t admitting guilt; he has admitted he’s grown tired of fighting for his legacy.
Armstrong has been an American icon for the better part of the past decade. From his tireless efforts towards raising money for cancer research to his unparalleled success as an athlete, Armstrong’s influence in American culture has inspired millions.
By stripping Armstrong of his accomplishments the USADA is essentially throwing American history in the garbage.
Let’s face it. In the competitive world of sports — where the window for success is so small — performance-enhancing drugs will always exist.
Take San Francisco Giants outfield Melky Cabrera for instance. Cabrera had been fully aware of baseball’s steroid policies, but the need to stay ahead of the game outweighed the risk of the consequences. He tested positive for steroids.
Armstrong is one of the most highly-tested athletes in the world. In 24 unannounced drug tests from fall of 2008 to March of 2009 he did not fail a single one. In 1999, a blip on a test was from a prescribed medication he took for saddle sores. That test never fell in the positive range.
Since the allegations against Armstrong are not physical evidence and all eyewitness, then concluding he used steroids is more congruent with hearsay.
We will never know if Armstrong took steroids. What we do know is that his name will forever be etched with an asterisk. It’s a sad time when we have to question all our American heroes. It’s even sadder no physical evidence is needed for icons to fall from grace.