Dominating the headlines this week was the overcooked business of Lance Armstrong and his career built on lies. Lies, lies, lies and few more lies. I never really cared a great deal, cycling wasn’t ever my passion, and at most I had a distant admiration for a high-achiever and charitable driving force. I was willing to believe from my generally ill-informed position that jealous or cynical factors were unjustly hounding him.
I will not be taking you through a step-by-step account of my reactions to the events of the last several months, when the guillotine finally came down for good and there no was hiding for the now disreputable athlete. Having never had an emotional investment in him or his now less-than-impressive achievements, I was only as surprised as anyone who had believed something for a decade that turned out to be false.
Snore. The only reason I’m weighing in at all is because the issue has saturated my favourite news sources and has been impossible to avoid. I watched a few minutes of the interview with Oprah and pretty quickly realised that Armstrong is possibly a sociopath. Intensively lying for that long, indignantly striking out at your accusers and retroactively trying to rationalise the whole thing to make it more palatable, suggests to me this man is not quite all there.
Great A’tuin judge me if I’m wrong, but did he try and justify his cheating because he had cancer, and claimed it somehow fundamentally altered his perception of morality? That’s rather unsavoury really. Oprah should have framed a few more of these responses for him, as he might have avoided such a shocking further indictment of his character. The whole affair smacked so strongly of Stage One of the Rehabilitation of Lance, she may as well have.
Whatever the culture that existed within the sport at the time, it’s irrelevant to the individual choice of purity or corruption. I’ve heard loose numbers thrown around which indicate that during any given year of Armstrong’s Tour de France triumph, roughly the top 20 cyclists were doping. The truth, is that not one of them vindicates, but more likely further condemns, the other. Mutual appeasement carries no water and the only winners during those years were the best of the rest. The rest being the honest ones.
Anyway, hopefully we can finally put the saga behind us. Even for one who wasn’t very engaged, it was getting pretty tiring. As is the incumbent weather here in snowy London. I didn’t exactly have a picnic planned but there are better things to do with a Sunday than talk about bloody Lance Armstrong.