LANCE ARMSTRONG has left an indelible mark on society. To many, he is an American hero. Others view him as the greatest cyclist ever. Some think he is a cheat and liar.
Whatever your feelings are in regard to the Texas native, he is a major figure in U.S. circles. He status was born by his heroic and successful battle to beat cancer which ravaged much of his body.
With newfound health, he forged a legendary cycling career. He won the sport’s hallmark event — the Tour de France — a record seven times.
But every racing triumph was accompanied by growing suspicions of doping. The doubts hounding Armstrong continued to grow even though he never failed one of the several hundred drug tests he took.
Many former teammates and rivals, however, have gone on record as saying they were privy of his doping antics. Nothing was ever proven but Armstrong was cast in a shadowy light.
Now the United States Anti-Doping Agency may have delivered the lethal blow to Armstrong’s legacy. USADA is banning Armstrong from racing and stripping him of his seven Tour de France crowns.
Ironically, Armstrong, the ultimate fighter when placed on his death bed and in cycling competition, has opted not to challenge the USADA edict. He has tossed in his competitive towel.
Armstrong said, “There comes a point in every man’s life when he has to say, ‘Enough is enough.” For me, that time is now.”
Armstrong’s response is surprising to many, as he cherished his accomplishments as well as his reputation. Walking away from a battle is un-Lance Armstrong like.
Others, including the USADA, believe if Armstrong had opted for arbitration he would have lost, removing any doubts about his doping credibility. They believe his surrender is an admission of guilt.
While uncertainty and doubt will always be a part of Armstrong’s cycling portfolio, one thing is most clear. Through his Livestrong foundation, he has raised millions of dollars in the battle against cancer. In the process, Livestrong has saved countless lives while providing hope to the 28 million Americans currently battling the disease.
For that, we race to give heartfelt thanks to a remarkable individual.