In Defense of Lance Armstrong

August 27, 2012

Lance Armstrong has had a rough past couple of days.  The United States Anti-Doping Administration has been investigating him for years and on Thursday Lance announced that he was tired of fighting the case and would drop his appeal.  This has been seen by many people, including the USADA, as an admission of guilt.  He has been stripped of all 7 of his Tour De France titles and has been banned for life from the sport of cycling.  Then to top it all off his favorite uncle, Neil, died on Saturday. (Too soon?)  All in all, Lance has had better weeks.  Unlike most of us he has had much worse ones but I imagine the past few days have been pretty trying for him.  And this is a goddamn shame.  Lance Armstrong has been one of the most tested athletes in history and he has passed every one of them with flying colors.  He is currently the victim of egregious persecution by the USADA and has been railroaded by an unfair system into basically admitting guilt.  I am not claiming that Lance is and always has been 100% clean.  I have no idea if he is or not.  My problem with this whole situation is that this entire investigation, including sentencing, has taken place without a shred of physical evidence.  I thought this was America.

If you are looking for someone to blame for this fiasco (and I definitely am) then the most obvious target is the USADA.  I am not sure how Lance offended them in the past but they are extremely butt hurt about the whole situation.  Armstrong was investigated by the Department of Justice last year, and the case was dropped due to lack of evidence.  This should have been the end of the matter but the USADA persisted with their investigation.  Armstrong then filed an injunction in federal court in Austin to have the case investigation thrown out and while the judge sided with the USADA he did have this to say.  “USADA’s conduct raises serious questions about whether its real interest in charging Armstrong is to combat doping, or if it is acting according to less noble motives such as politics or publicity.”  I am not an expert on anti-doping laws, (these people are) but if a United States federal district court judge is openly questioning the motives of our investigative agencies then it might be time for a re-think.

Sadly, this whole situation is about to get even more absurd.  Now that Lance has been stripped of his record 7 Tour De France titles, three of them will go to German Cyclist Jan Ullrich.  Ullrich was a dominant rider in his own right but was often overshadowed by Lance.  In addition to 3 runner up finishes to Lance, Ullrich won the Tour De France in 1997 and was second in 1998.  According to the twisted logic of the USADA he epitomizes the victims in the Armstrong saga.  A talented but clean cyclist who couldn’t compete with a doped up Lance.  The head of the USADA mentions this briefly in an interview with the Washington Post, stating that, “This is a heartbreaking example of how the win-at-all-costs culture of sport, if left unchecked, will overtake fair, safe and honest competition.”  The problem with this narrative is that it is total horseshit.  Jan Ullrich, and many of Armstrong’s other contemporaries are already convicted dopers.  Ulrich himself was suspended from the Tour of Italy and kicked off his team for blood doping in 2006.  He also was suspended for 6 months in 2002 for testing positive for amphetamines.  Ullrich still denies that this was meant as performance enhancing drug, claiming instead that he took amphetamine laced ecstasy.  Awesome USADA.  Take down Lance in the interest of competitive balance, and then give his titles to a man who excuses his failed drug tests by saying, “Its cool bro.  I wasn’t cheating.  It was just the ecstasy.”  That makes almost as much sense as Pinterest

While the USADA is mostly to blame for this fine example of North Korean justice, the blame cannot fall entirely on their shoulders.  Lance has also been royally boned by his former teammates.  Floyd Landis and Tyler Hamilton have both come forward, both publicly and to the USADA, with testimony that Lance Armstrong regularly used banned substances such as EPO.  This seems like pretty damning evidence unless you know who these douchebags are.  Landis and Hamilton are two of the most notorious drug cheats in recent cycling history.  Hamilton has tested positive numerous times and just recently was forced to return his gold medal from the time trial in the 2004 Athens Olympics.  Landis is even worse.  He won the 2006 Tour De France but was almost immediately under suspicion for doping due to shockingly high testosterone levels.  He then mounted a half-assed and ridiculous legal defense than included soliciting donations to help him pay for it.  Landis confessed in 2010 and was formally stripped of the title.  He is still embroiled in a legal battle over whether or not he will reimburse the people who donated to his legal fund.  Long story short, these guys are not credible witnesses.  And even worse, they are fucking Narcs.  Both Landis and Hamilton rode Lance’s coattails to fame and fortune.  Their careers were launched by successful stints on the Armstrong led US Postal Service team.  Without Lance no one has heard of either of them.  And they saw fit to publicly rat him out in order to slightly reduce the heat on themselves.  Not chill.

If we are being honest here, Lance Armstrong probably cheated at some point in his career.  Doping was so rampant during Lance’s prime that it is almost inconceivable that he could have been so successful while also remaining totally clean.  But without any physical evidence it seems completely unreasonable to take away his titles and ban him from the sport.  I agree that the whole situation looks bad, but you can’t bring down the banhammer just because it looks bad.  OJ looked a whole lot worse and he still has a fucking Heisman.  If the investigation continues and the USADA turns up anything resembling physical evidence or credible testimony then I might change my tune, but until then I am going to dig up that Livestrong bracelet I rocked in 8th grade (junior year) and wear it out of solidarity.  #freeLance


3 Responses to “In Defense of Lance Armstrong”

  1. willy said

    great usage of the term “butthurt”

  2. […] deserved the punishment handed down to him.  This not only makes me look like a fucking idiot for defending him, but also drains every last drop of enjoyment and inspiration that I gained from watching Lance in […]

  3. There were many before him and there is many more in the making with this very hard sport.
    Toughest thing I can talk about as an individual sport never mind a team sport.
    Doping is the topic,and I really develope a cringe when its any sport.
    The developement is that lance had an eloborate and succeful doping scheme that hid from the eyes of pros testing him?
    For 9 years?
    he must be oz dude:)
    i think he just wanted to win and make cycling and lift cycling to america after a dry spell.
    Cancer awareness all gone.
    and live strong gone sponsors gone.
    Ok I get it.
    The pleasure I had while watching him on abc making money going down a swith back while on drugs?
    Was amasing?
    could you do without drugs?
    entertainment- hmm. nahh They all have drugs in them.’
    Ive run marathons with an inhaler.
    I nevewr one but if I did they would say epenephrine is a drugg and im a druggyu,
    Marijuana would have slowed lance down, Im pretty sure he was up at 430 am for a 200 mile ride that was his day to show you how well he came back from cancer.
    Im pretty modest. I keep a century ride to myself wait6ing for the tour, in hopes I see som,eone like lance going through a bevy of people on the alps getting his arm ripped by a bystander and still catching up to a field with ulrich holding the field bach-K
    Was jan on drugs or doping?

    Im with lance 100 percent.
    david senanian

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