I feel as if I’m learning about the Tiger Woods scandal all over again but without the dramatic Thanksgiving day Escalade into the tree and golf club to the window incident. The image and persona Lance Armstrong has worked so hard to cultivate over so many years, has been torn, shattered, and ripped by the recent announcements confirming his use of illegal substances. Not only was he using the illegal substances to boost and enhance his performance but he was in fact the ring leader and money source for his team’s drug use as well.
His actions as well as anyone involved with the cover up and administration of the illegal substances has not only left a gigantic mark on a great sport but also on the Livestrong Foundation which Lance ultimately stepped down from today as its chairman after five years. It is the cause to fight cancer, the yellow wristband that so many people still wear to show their support of cancer research and the many patients and families who have been supported by the Livestrong Foundation.
How does one person think they are so much greater than an entire sport, organization or system? The amount of arrogance that has been displayed is just astounding and to think that the triathlon community welcomed Lance back with open arms this year and was looked to as the next greatest thing to happen to the sport of triathlon since the Iron War in Kona. It was all just a farce; something to give Lance more notoriety and more wins than he had already accumulated over the years. It has been said he was doping even into this year while doing triathlons. I was hoping that he hadn’t brought it into this sport but he has.
Fortunately for the world of triathlon, we have great role models who train and work tirelessly because of their love of the sport and know that illegal substances and enhancements have no place in the sport.
In the days, weeks and months to come, we may not hear much from Team Lance as really there is no more team. His largest sponsor Nike has officially cuts ties with him as of today (although Tiger is still on their payroll; hey, he only slept around a lot, he never cheated on the course) and he no longer leads the foundation. RadioShack has nothing to do with him and he is no longer allowed to race in series which follow the international rules of doping. For the sake of cancer research, support and funding, I hope we don’t hear from Lance as it will serve no purpose whatsoever, it will only detract from the larger issue at hand, fighting cancer.
To Lance I say, I hope it was worth it. However, I don’t see how that’s possible. He has now lost the support of millions of cancer supporters, stripped of his titles, severed major relationships, and forced everyone to question his motives and actions for anything he has ever done. His name will forever be followed by **.
I hope the Livestrong Foundation can continue its original mission to help those with cancer find resources and the help they need.
This cause, the cause to fight and end cancer, is definitely bigger and more important than Lance Armstrong will ever be.