Saturday, January 19, 2013

Armstrong took us for a ride

Remember when Bill Clinton told his country that he did not have relations "with that woman..", and then admitted it? Well, he did prime time comedians a huge favour, by giving them lots of material to get laughs. Expect to see a marathon of Lance jokes on your favorite show.

Though not a president, Lance Armstrong was the king of cycling for almost a decade, and he also beats Clinton for longest time for hiding the truth. This fall from race is a huge story for plenty of reasons. By choice, Armstrong was a serial liar, and it's incredible how he not only fooled the world, his family, sponsors, cancer patients, donors, and big business employers, but how long he did it, and, what an amazing acting job!

Not a man of much apparent outward emotion, he vehemently denied on many occasions, ever doping to win bike races. When questioned by USADA (the US Anti-Doping Agency) in 2005, while videotaped, he denied all doping allegations. Take a look at his acting skills as guest on the biggest prime time U.S. shows. As a matter of fact, it was only in the last several days, with Oprah Winfrey, that he has finally admitted that, well, he took us all for a ride.

So, since 1998 around when there first was talk about illegal performance enhancing drugs while riding in the Tour de France, he began his acting career outside the cycling. It is remarkable how convincing and stubborn Armstrong was, how many friends he lost, how he seemed to ignore the feelings of those close to him, and put money, power, and unfortunately, an ironic false pride first.

It is rare for a world stage figure to lie for so long, earn so much wealth, respect, and sustained popularity, and maintain that poker face. There are so many things wrong with what Lance did, and it is hard not to wonder, what's going on in his head. In his interview admitting drug use, he said he was sorry, and maybe he is all cried out, but there was little sign of sadness from him. He's got million$ of reasons to be sad. Anyone who wins a Tour de France, or any major sport, is bound to make huge money from acting as the trustworthy face for the company's product or service. He denied that opportunity from potential clean racers, at least 7 times. His "heroics" shamefully leaves doubt, disappointment and distain from those who believed that anything was possible.

It is sad really to see a person so publicly humiliate himself, be so greedy and at the expense of others, and obstruct their opportunities. Perhaps though, Lance's seemingly cold reactions and psychopathic-like demeanor will work in his favour to salvage his own respect, and true sense of worth. He's 41 and could live to be an old man. As a cancer survivor, it is hoped that he can, for that reason alone.

So, there could be many years to work on repairing the damage he has done. At least admitting his guilt, and flaws is a start. Once he has apologized to everyone he has hurt and disappointed, there remains his organization Livestrong, a fundraising foundation for cancer survivors. While he was asked to step down from his chairman position, there are endless opportunities and needs in the world for him to do good deeds. Not everyone has to forgive and forget him, but helping other groups, charities and ultimately people, is never unwanted.

Armstrong may very well lose a huge chunk of his $100 million + fortune, and still have lots of pocket money, but his racing days are pretty much over. His need to win remains, but the prestige from winning races is unreachable now. However, remember President Clinton again? He's more respected now than ever, gets standing ovations and has been an international ambassador for peace and humanity. Lance Armstrong may have serious flaws, but it's never too late to turn that around and be honest, to help others more, and regain respect. By doing that, he can't lose.