This is my opinion in response to this article: http://running.competitor.com/2015/12/news/lance-armstrong-wins-35k-trail-running-race-in-california_141905
Those that know me, know that I am ANTI-DOPING and ANTI-DOPERS.
When Floyd Landis was announced as coming to NZ to ride in the Tour of Southland (TOS). I was like ‘No way’, ‘That’s wrong’, ‘WTF’, even though he had done his time. But over the week of the race, I was able to observe the positive role modelling he gave to his team members (he was leading a composite team of young Kiwi riders). He taught them the tactics of riding big multi-day tours and gave them a schooling they could only have got from riding ‘under the wing’ of a rider who has ridden at the level he has ridden at, which is not often available here in NZ. He also ‘sucked up’ and absorbed a LOT of banter and flack from a lot of riders and people involved in the TOS (not the organisers). He has obviously developed a very thick skin, which also showed his team mates a level of professionalism that many would not be able to display.
What is the difference between Lance & Floyd?
- Floyd wasn’t given a life-time ban, that is one difference.
- Floyd didn’t try and intimidate and dominate support personnel (mechanics, masseuses etc…) who tried to blow the whistle on his doping.
- Floyd didn’t make the life of people who spoke out against him living hell.
At the awards function for the TOS I found myself standing alongside him and had a brief discussion, where I told him my opinion of drug cheats and thanked him for what he did for the young Kiwi cyclists. I am hopeful that his Performance Enhancing Drug (PED) days were long in his past (he certainly isn’t riding at the level he did whilst using them) and in the week he had with the young Kiwi cyclists that he only exposed them to the negative side of PED use. I had no involvement with the team he was riding for so I have no knowledge of what he did out of the spot light to confirm this, so I cross my fingers.
On the other hand Lance denied his cheating (until he had no other option but to admit it). Lance has an arrogance that he uses to bully people that don’t have the financial resources to stand up against his ‘legal team’ – people who when their life and family were threatened that they packed up their family and moved to the other side of the world giving up the career they loved to avoid the threats that Lance personally made to them (http://www.si.com/more-sports/2013/01/17/mike-anderson-lance-armstrong & http://www.stuff.co.nz/sport/other-sports/8199912/Mike-Anderson-I-won-t-sue-Lance-Armstrong).
Lance’s attitude and approach is not good for sport. If he had said ‘Yeah I used them’ then done the ‘time’ for his crime and got on with his life without the associated ‘drama’ (like a number of other convicted PED users have done in a range of sports) he possibly would have avoided the life-time ban. If he had initially worked with the investigators he possibly would have avoided the life-time ban. But he didn’t do either of these things and he got a life-time ban from sport (which I believe he deserves).
He hasn’t done anything positive since ‘coming clean’. A more apt term might be ‘coming out’ but that would be insulting to compare and associate Lance with the GLBT community. They actually have pride in who they are Lance on the other hand only has arrogance).
Even as recently as last week the PR machine that is Lance was trying to convince the world that he didn’t actually do anything that was too wrong: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rEfSdPz1WtA
A life time ban should mean a life time ban.
Keep him well away from trail running and any other sport that has any credibility.
I am proud to stand behind this opinion piece and have this represent Qwik Kiwi. Nothing can be more annoying where an opinion piece is followed by a disclaimer that it doesn’t represent the business that the author is associated with. – Ray Boardman.