Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Lance Armstrong

After an extensive investigation and a great deal of time the USADA finally released its findings regarding allegations that Mr. Armstrong had cheated to win his seven straight Tour de France titles.  The report containing those findings was damning and it paints a very grim picture of cheating and deceit by Mr. Armstrong and the cycling teams he was a part of during those years.

Mr. Armstrong, his representatives and his supporters have all condemned the report as inaccurate and they rightly point out that he has never failed a drug test.  They have a point but the findings of the report were partially derived from sworn affidavits by individuals that were involved in the doping activities described in the report, individuals that specifically name Mr. Armstrong as a willing participant in these activities.

In all likelyhood their are some inaccuracies in the report because eye witness testimony can be wrong but the shear amount of witness testimony, from almost a dozen different people, makes it probable that at least some of the report is accurate and if even a small percentage of it is accurate it does not look good on Mr. Armstrong.

What is also working against Mr. Armstrong is the lack of an explanation of how he could have dominated a sport for over half a decade during a period of time which is widely known and documented as being a time of widespread doping activities by virtually all of the elite athletes in the sport.   This by no means proves he is guilty but it does raise questions which have not been reasonably answered yet.

Many of Mr. Armstrong's supporters have claimed that the USADA has been involved in a vendetta against him.  However, what is missing from such an argument is a motivation for undertaking such vendetta.  Again, there has been no reasonable explanation of why a government organization would go through the time, effort and money to "frame" Mr. Armstrong for the wrongdoing outlined in the report. 

Many of his supporters also point out that his cancer foundation has raised a great deal of money for cancer research so the rest does not matter.  There is no denying the good that he has done for cancer research and the success of his foundation.  However, to state that it makes the allegations against him irrelevent smacks of an "ends justifies the means" argument.

So what will this do to his legacy?  That remains to be seen.  Some will support him no matter what.  Others will condemn him no matter what.  Some that did not have an opinion one way or another will probably join those who condemn him but there are those who did not have an opinion before who will probably not have one now.  Only the fullness of time will tell us what impact the report will have on his legacy.

As for his personal reputation I would say it has been permanently damaged.  Although him and his supporters will always be able to point to his good works the USADA report will always be there casting a shadow over him and his work.

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