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Sacrificing Lance Armstrong (short story)

Discussion in 'Political Rants' started by jshort, Jun 18, 2014.

    Jun 18, 2014
  1. jshort

    jshort Experienced Member MM PABaccred webmeister

    Occupation:
    Bus Driver
    Location:
    Canada
    Little short story I cropped up the other day; Its got a tad of exaggeration to it but anyways.........Enjoy :)

    .................................................

    The following short story is about the sport of Professional Cycling and how
    one man's downfall from fame and grace has allowed cycling to recover
    from the horrible scandals and rumors that have nearly destroyed it.

    Cycling's torrent drug history can perhaps best be viewed by examining the life
    of its greater disciple Lance Armstrong; Lance Armstrong is a name many people in
    North America are familiar with. Before his epic confession and downfall in 2012, Lance Armstrong was a name that inspired hope in cancer patients and admiration from everyone else. For you see Lance Armstrong had himself survived testicular cancer which was so horrific, that it had at one point spread throughout his lungs and brain. Nevertheless he was able to endure the pain of the disease and the horrible chemotherapy treatments that went along with it.

    People considered it a miracle when Lance survived his cancer. Shortly after he had beaten cancer, Lance decided that he would develop a cancer charity known as the Lance Armstrong Foundation to help raise cancer awareness. His idea was well intentioned and his heart was in the right place, however not many people cared to donate money to his charity because at the time, Lance had yet to do anything truly great. He had never won the Tour de France, or won an Olympic gold medal in cycling. Although he had won the world championships, that was several years ago and people here in North America had already forgotten about him. Lance didn't want to start riding his bike again however and he needed a foundation of friends and family to push him so that he could become as great as they all believed he could be.

    For you see Lance's closest companions could see how great he could be in Grand Tours even though he had never won one, since to be competitive in a grand tour bike race like a three week race such as the Tour de France, it isn't enough to have the right physical talents. It requires mental stamina, perseverance and most of all endurance. Everyone who was close to Lance could see that he possessed these traits and they wanted him to compete. Indeed, professional cycling needed a pure soul such as Lance to save cycling from the horrible reputation that professional cycling was starting to acquire.

    But before we continue, just what is this horrible reputation to which I refer to? Quite simply it was the reputation that cycling had started to be seen as a sport infected with illegal drugs. Drugs had always been used in cycling just as it had been in other sports such as track or professional bodybuilding, however sometime starting in the early 90s, it was clear that cycling was going through a huge change. A new drug called EPO had been created which could alter a humans blood so that it could carry more oxygen. It was undetectable by drug tests and could boosts a cyclists performance and recovery by a huge margin.

    Although this and other drugs had started engulfing cycling in the early 90's, it wasn't until the year 1998 that what was happening to cycling began to come to the public's attention. During the 1998 Tour De France, a team support car was pulled over at a border crossing, where security found a goldmine of illegal drugs such as EPO and steroids. The events that ensued afterwards was a witch hunt as police authority ransacked team buses and hotel rooms and arrested Tour de France cyclists. Charges were laid and people went to jail. For the very first time the public had got a glimpse at just what was going on inside this sport. This event would eventually come to be remembered as the "Festina Scandal".

    Lance Armstrong had watched the 1998 Tour De France on television. He could see what was happening to the sports image. He also knew that in order for his charity to flourish, he would need to do something to inspire people.

    It has been said that it was this moment that Lance Armstrong found the resolve to train himself to win the Tour de France and try and save cycling. He would rise up from simply being a retired cyclist and cancer survivor. He would train his body on the bike to win the race and everyone would see that he would win it cleanly without the use of drugs. By doing so, not only could he save professional cycling, but he would show to all cancer survivors around the world that there is life after this disease and when you put your mind to it, you can achieve anything.

    Sure enough, one year later Lance wins the 1999 Tour. Many followers of cycling called him a cheater, but he soon passes all of his drug tests and quickly acquires celebrity fame. His cancer charity takes off and cycling gets saved. Lance would go on to win the tour a total of seven times before finally retiring.

    Now this would be a good point to end a true but very heart warming story, however this is not the end. Life by its very nature rarely has fairy tale endings.
    Even hero's have their flaws, their lies and a dark side. We like to put our hero's on a moral pedestal, however the truth is that many hero's have the moral structure of just ordinary people. Fast forward to the year 2012 and guess what..........We learn that Lance Armstrong wasn't some super-human cancer survivor who could will himself to win cycling's most grueling bike race against cheating competitors. Nor was Lance trying to clean up the sport by encouraging clean racing. He had himself cheated since his very first tour win in 1999. In fact, not only had he cheated but investigations had proved that virtually every single contender at the tour had been found guilty of using drugs. The year 2012 proved to be the worst professional cycling's had ever endured for its image. Lance Armstrong was forced to give back his Tour de France titles and was forced to resign from his own charity which by now had raised half a billion dollars. The head of the UCI which governs professional cycling was eventually fired and right now Lance Armstrong is being sued by the federal government for 96 million dollars. Many people who we're fans of Lance now believe he is truly evil. Personally, I think he is just normal and like normal people, he just wanted to be admired and looked up to. He deceived us into believing he was this larger than life figure who possessed will-power beyond that of ordinary humans. He wanted us to believe that moral riders can ride their bikes without drugs and still defeat those who did use them. Was Armstrong truly doing this for his own benefit? Sometimes those who have cancer need to believe in something in order to keep on fighting. Lance gave them that reason. He might not have been honest and he might've been greedy, but their is no doubt in my mind that Lance saved people who we're fighting cancer and perhaps has saved cycling's image by letting the world believe that what's wrong with cycling is all because of him. He is a martyr and despite the horrible things being revealed or said, he is still my hero!

    End of Short Story
     
  2. Jun 23, 2014
  3. Mousey

    Mousey Ueber Meister Mouse CAG

    Occupation:
    Pencil Pusher
    Location:
    Up$hitCreek
    Thank you. I enjoyed your post.

    Lance Armstrong was one of my heroes. One of my husband's heroes. I will never forget Hubby sitting pale and frail in an uncomfortable hospital chair -or bed- for hours, innumerable (and unpronounceable) poisonous chemotherapy drugs being pumped into his body... and the Tour de France on TV. It was 2010. If I remember correctly, that Tour was something of a crash fest.

    We sat there every day with our yellow Livestrong wristbands obvious in the hospital lights. The Livestrong (perhaps they've changed the name now?) foundation promoted natural, healthy eating, mega supplements, positive attitude, exercise... all correct and good things, but their poster boy was a liar, and the hope he had given was all smoke and mirrors.

    It truly broke my heart when all the accusations of Armstrong's cheating began to have teeth. Hubby only commented once, saying sadly, "Lying sack of sh*t".
     
  4. Jun 24, 2014
  5. jshort

    jshort Experienced Member MM PABaccred webmeister

    Occupation:
    Bus Driver
    Location:
    Canada
    Thanks for the comment Mousey

    2010 was pretty bad for Armstrong in terms of crashes. He had a critical crash which put him out of contention and he came in 23rd I believe.

    As for my story, I'm not sure I stand behind it. Actually I know that I don't, but I wanted to write it because its certainly an interesting point of view. I've never had cancer like your husband so Armstrong was never really a personal hero, however being an Amateur athlete on the bike, I loved reading about him and his autobiographies.

    I was always on the fence as to Armstrong's most remembered misgivings as being proof about his morality. He doped more, lied more and attacked his
    critics much much more than any of his teammates or rivals. On the other hand, none of them where running a multi-million dollar enterprise. Armstrong was really a business man first, a cyclist second. Compared to other athletes he went to some pretty extremes, but his unethical behavour
    certainly doesn't surpass those of lets say Donald Trump.

    With all that said, I personally do believe that Armstrong might well be a psychopath! I've read three autobiographies of the man, and he has done some lesser known shit every now and again throughout his life that paints a better picture of what kind of person he is.

    Examples:

    From Tyler Hamilton's book "The Secret Race"

    During a training ride with teammate Tyler Hamilton, Armstrong ran down a car which almost hit him and Hamilton and brutally beat up the driver. A few days later, Armstrong laughs about the incident with his friends.

    From book "Lance Armstrong's War"

    When he was a teenager, Lance Armstrong crashed his mentor Jim Hoyt's car and then runs away from the crash scene. Jim Hoyt gets arrested, but Lance leaves town and never apologizes until he accidentally runs into his old mentor 10 years later at a fundraiser.

    ...

    It's little stories such as the above that never get reported on the media that really reveal Lance's true self. Everyone cheated in the Tour de France so Lance does (in my opinion) have a good excuse for his cheating. And as he is the founder of the Lance Armstrong Foundation (now known as the "Livestrong Foundation") he would of course defend himself aggressively against accusers and critics in order to protect both himself and the foundation. However as for beating the crap out of strangers for cutting him off or letting a friend unwillingly take the fall for his stupid driving mistake..........that stuff really speaks volumes about his character in my opinion.
     
  6. Jun 24, 2014
  7. Captain Chaos

    Captain Chaos Senior Member webby

    Occupation:
    Train Guard
    Location:
    United Kingdom
    I highly recommend reading David Walsh's book My Pursuit Of Lance Armstrong. It provides a fascinating insight into the whole affair from one of the few people who never really believed him in the first place.

    On a related note, a guy I work with died last week after surviving cancer 3 times. It got him in the end, but he always made every effort to come into work, always had a smile on his face, never gave up hope and tried his best to live as normal life as possible. They are the real heroes. I shall always have a lot of respect for the man.
     
  8. Jun 24, 2014
  9. Mousey

    Mousey Ueber Meister Mouse CAG

    Occupation:
    Pencil Pusher
    Location:
    Up$hitCreek
    I wonder if oncologist and hematologist researchers have taken serious looks at the drugs used for sports doping - particularly Armstrong's post cancer doping - with a goal of helping cancer/chemo patients through chemo with fewer, less severe side effects (weight loss, muscle loss, organ damage, nausea, skin problems, chemo brain, etc.)? That would be one good thing that could come of the Armstrong scandal.
     
  10. Jun 25, 2014
  11. jshort

    jshort Experienced Member MM PABaccred webmeister

    Occupation:
    Bus Driver
    Location:
    Canada
    Agreed, people like that are the heroes. I've read parts of Walsh's book. Thanks for the recommendation.
     
  12. Jun 25, 2014
  13. jshort

    jshort Experienced Member MM PABaccred webmeister

    Occupation:
    Bus Driver
    Location:
    Canada
    EPO can increase RBCs. Cyclists in the tour de france could use it without getting caught because normally during a three week intense bike race, RBCs go down as a result of the body breaking down. EPO or blood transfusins could be used to maintain normal pre-race levels. I couldn't speculate what type of value this would have for a cancer patient. Their bodies are breakng down too, but in a much different way.
     

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