It’s so worth it to cheat.
Just ask Lance Armstrong — the most decorated professional cyclist ever, and now the most undecorated.
He’s made millions from winning, which as everyone knows now, was tied to using performance-enhancing drugs.
The trouble with cheating, though, is that the lies must continue, get bigger and bigger, and involve others, in order for the cheat to be covered up.
And then, one day, as Armstrong knows better than anyone in the world today, it can all come tumbling down. It usually will. He wasn’t a super cyclist after all. He was a super trickster.
The United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) has called the Armstrong cheating “the most sophisticated, professionalized and successful doping program that sport has ever seen.”
The USADA said Armstrong and his teams used steroids, the blood booster EPO and blood transfusions.
Eleven former teammates were among the 26 people who provided testimonies about the so-called doping.
People so want to believe in super heroes.
So many believed in Armstrong, especially after he came back to winning cycling form after beating testicle cancer that ended up spreading to other parts of his body, including his brain.
It brings to mind words in that Rod Stewart song:
“If I listened long enough to you, I’d find a way to believe that it’s all true, knowing that you lied straight-faced while I cried, still I look to find a reason to believe.”
He was someone we thought was the epitome of accomplishment, despite the rumours that plagued him during those seven consecutive Tour de France wins from 1999-2005.
Even if you weren’t into cycling, the idea that he was helping fight cancer through his Livestrong Foundation was well received.
It’s a shame that people gave money to the foundation, millions and millions of dollars, and so many bought his yellow bracelets to help support the fight against cancer.
It’s not a shame that they gave money to fight cancer; a shame that they gave it via Armstrong.
But what it says about winning is that there’s no sport too great (world competition cycling in this case) and no cause too great (the fight against cancer) that can’t be exploited for one’s own personal gain.
The fact that Armstrong managed to get away with doping for so long, in what was a complex conspiracy, gives way to the question: Should we just give up on the ideal that sports competitors are tried and true, free and clear of anything other than their own innate human gifts they were born with?
Is any win an honest win? The doubt has increased now, thanks to Armstrong, and all those who participated in his lie.
He became a household name. He still is but now — for all the wrong reasons.
Mary-Ann Barr is the Advocate’s assistant city editor. She can be reached by phone at 403-314-4332 or by email at email@example.com.