I was always taught: If you cheat to win have you actually won? Well finally we are learning the truth of Lance Armstrong. A few months back news broke about him not fighting against the allegations he used performance enhancing drugs to win 7 Tour de France wins, an Olympic medal and numerous other achievements. He said he was simply tired of fighting. I had a hard time believing that as I was of the opinion that an innocent man will never stop defending his innocence. Thursday night I, like millions of other people, tuned into his interview with Oprah where he finally admitted publicly that all his achievements were empty because they were made possible by doping/cheating.
Theres no doubt Armstrong is not alone in this. I'm sure there are plenty of other celebrated athletes who in truth are cheating and on drugs, and this is a huge problem with todays athletes. Baseball in particular comes to mind where cheating very well may be changing the game. Babe Ruth achieved all he did on a diet of beer and hot dogs, and yet he is still regarded as one of the greatest baseball players of all time. Why dope? If you need to cheat to win have you actually won?
In the case of Armstrong I'm sure there are many dark days ahead of him. All those people he sued for defamation of character will no doubt sue him for the same reason. And what about all his fellow athletes who personally suffered as a direct result of his cheating? Example: Mr X took 2nd Place in the 2003 Tour de France. While Armstrong was celebrated world wide, received millions in endorsements, prizes and other opportunities... what about Mr X? Mr X should have been the one celebrated and made rich and famous by being the actual winner. 10 years later Mr X may be awarded the title following the Armstrong revelations, but what good is that now? Those opportunities and celebrations ended years ago. People today are not going to care that Mr X is now the 2003 Tour de France Champion. Mr X and many others like him were robbed by a cheater. One can only hope they sue and get something out of Armstrong for what he took from them.
Well hopefully some good will come from all of this. Maybe future athletes will be more inclined not to cheat in order to win. Maybe. Hopefully the anti-doping agencies tasked with keeping our athletes honest will be wiser and more proficient in seeking out and stopping cheating in athletics. Maybe.