Weighing in on Lance Armstrong
Lance Armstrong’s recent interview with Oprah Winfrey has sparked a lot of emotion from viewers and the media alike.
There are a few things from the interview that surprised me. First the level of doping. I expected to hear that Lance had been blood doping (removing blood and then putting back in at a later point in-time) The increased red blood cell count is supposed to increase oxygen delivery. But I did not expect to hear about the use of EPO and Testosterone. I also felt that even though the interview was dubbed as no holds barred it seemed somewhat scripted and allowed Lance to deliver an agenda.
In the case of Lance Armstrong and in life, I try to see the good, take that with me, and leave the rest. With that in mind I think that Armstrong was a great cyclist one that inspired millions of people. The tours that he won were some of the most exciting tours that I have ever witnessed the rivalry between him and Jan Ulrich (also found guilty of doping) made for some of the greatest moments of televised tour history. His sponsors reaped the benefit of being associated with him. They aligned themselves with the values that he represented simply stated hard work, determination, stamina, preparation, technology all delivered positive results. And this was true.
Yes there were additional illegal elements that played a role in getting Lance on the podium 7 years in row. But let me be clear to those who speak about cheating and doping and credit Lances victories to the use of illegal practices but have not had to dig deep, deeper than they thought possible, who have not had to fight through the pain of cramps so severe that that can see your quads pulsing. That have not continued to push through searing lungs or stopped to throw-up and then keep going. Who have not pushed on until they couldn’t go any further but somehow did. You have no place reporting on this story because you are only regurgitating part of the story.
You want everyone to believe that the only reason Lance was a champion was because he was doping and that is just not true. The illegal practices may have given Lance an advantage over those who were not but EPO and Testosterone are not the sole reasons he stood on the podium 7 times.
I used to have a picture, in my indoor training area, of Lance racing on a mountain stage in the rain (You can tell he is miserable but at the same time driven) This picture used to inspire me to push a harder during interval training. It inspired me to get on the bike at 10:00 at night after I put my daughter to bed and finished up other tasks for the night.
While watching the Tour de France I saw an advertisement for Carmichael training systems (CTS) and signed on with them to design my training programs for over 5 years because I believed in what their programs offered. I followed the plans that were designed for me, and I made improvements and enjoyed the sport of cycling all the more for it.
I completed my first century during the Livestrong-100 in Philadelphia.
I still ride at the Livestrong event and believe in the good it does to help people with cancer.
So this is the Lance I will take with me the one who inspired me, who through his story indirectly introduced me to my coaches. The Lance who was the founder and the face of Livestrong foundation – Best of Luck to Doug Ullman and the rest of the Livestrong leadership team in delivering the Livestrong vision.
I will take the good and leave the rest.