An open letter to Lance Armstrong
I know that’s informal but like most athletes and celebrities it feels like at some level I know you. You see you have provided me with some of the most compelling sporting moments I’ve ever seen, thank you for that. I still consider you to be the greatest cyclist of my generation, unfortunately you are no longer the most respected cyclist of my generation. I will tell you, “the look” was one of the most magnificent moments in sports, almost to the level of the 1984 US Olympic Hockey victory over the Soviet Union.
However, now that it is confirmed I have to wonder, was Jan Ulrich doping as well? If he was, then that moment stands as pure now as it was then, if he wasn’t, well then I’m left with the same feeling I have now that the Olympics is nothing but a bunch of overpaid professionals. So you see it both does and doesn’t matter that everyone else was cheating. Let me be clear, completing the Tour de France is a damn near super human feat, making the podium perhaps the pinnacle of achievement in sport. That truly doesn’t change even if all three men on the podium doped, like Barry Bonds in baseball, doping won’t help you hit the ball. In cycling, doping doesn’t give you the will, the desire, the near insane determination you need to have to be a top rider in the Tour.
I greatly respect what you have done with your fame, after surviving cancer you found a way to use your fame to help cancer patients. I’ve never worn a Livestrong bracelet, mostly because I don’t wear silly bracelets, but I have donated money and supported Livestrong events. I do not regret that at all, I wasn’t supporting you, but the people your organization helps. Regardless of the crap you are about to take, the awful things you will be called, and the suspicion that will be thrown on your organization, you should be proud of the good you did there.
Lance, the problem is you’ve become typical. Unfortunately all of the good you have done as an athlete, as a cancer survivor will now get lost in a fog of just another celebrity, just another athlete, just another cheater, just another liar. And truly Fuck You, for making the French right, for giving them the moral high ground, they were obnoxious enough before you came clean to all of us.
Finally, you don’t owe me or anyone else anything, it’s your life. You didn’t ride the Tour de France for me, I’m just a recreational cyclist who enjoys watching the sport. However, you owe those closest to you a huge apology and so much more, I can’t imagine how you explain this to your children, but again that is your issue, your life. So in many ways this is farewell Lance, I actually imagine to a degree coming clean reduces the pressure on you. Good luck explaining and repairing the relationships with those closest to you, at this point all I can really say is I wish it hadn’t been so. I really wish you had been the person we all at one time thought you were, be well, live strong.