August 23, 2012

"There comes a point in every man’s life when he has to say, ‘Enough is enough.'"

"The toll this has taken on my family, and my work for our foundation and on me leads me to where I am today — finished with this nonsense."

Lance Armstrong gives up.
His decision means he will almost certainly be stripped of his seven Tour titles, the bronze medal he won at the 2000 Olympics and all other titles, awards and money he won from August 1998 on.

38 comments:

Peter Hoh said...

In other words, "I used performing enhancing drugs and lied about it."

Dante said...

Crocodile tears. I saw an interesting interview with a guy who was on the A's who didn't dope. He was complaining about admitted doper Jose Conseco. The non-doper, who would have been MVP, or whatever it is, if Conseco had not doped, rejected Conseco's apology.

He didn't care about the MVP award (or whatever it was), but the millions he lost for not cheating.

Icepick said...

Yeah, Peter, but so was everyone else he was competing against. Jan Ulrich finished second five years in a row, and he got caught cheating too. A famously dirty sport, long before Armstrong was born.

Synova said...

If he did or not... if they can't prove it, what are they up to? If they can't *test* for it, what are they trying to control?

The error is in making unenforcable rules in the first place.

Why not just say... it's legal to do anything that we can't test for.

It would at least be rational and we'd still have awesome races and the competitors would be on even ground.

Suppose you'd managed to never get a speeding ticket and then a couple of people said "Hey, I saw him speeding three years ago last August" and a couple of other people said "I heard him tell someone he got his Jag up to 250 mph on Hwy 101." And everyone went, "Dang! That's about three thousand dollars in speeding tickets that he owes the state of California."

Maybe... MAYBE... him giving up means he's guilty. But would the situation be any different if he weren't? The fact that it wouldn't be even a little bit different if he was innocent means that something is wrong with the process.

Darrell said...

I thought the same way--if there's smoke there must be fire--until I met a scientist who is one of the top expert in the field of sports doping and detection and he was supporting Armstrong's position. He even telephoned some of the European experts involved because he had worked with them often, and he was convinced they were lying by
their tone and choice of weasel words. He even called them on it and they didn't even protest.

The Europeans decided that they had enough of Armstrong's domination of the sport and they decided to erase that chapter in history. Scientists like the one I talked to have to work in their field and can't burn bridges with those who pay the bills.

EMD said...

Just make it wide open -- level the playing field. Allow doping. Then you wouldn't have such a mess.

Synova said...

What Darrell said.

It's not that Darrell's hear-say is true... it's that it COULD be.

And the athlete can't *prove* they didn't do something ten years ago. A negative can never be proven. Not ever.

If doping or drugs aren't positively detectable, the whole thing is a farce at it's foundation.

Darrell said...

When Armstrong was undergoing his treatments for cancer, I remember reading that he consulted experts and paid for self-testing so that none of those could trigger false positives on future tests that counted--or that he would have data points that could be explained by the experts in advance. And one has to take on faith that the samples in European storage could not have been tampered with, what, the hundreds (?) of people that could have had access over the ten-year period. Recall that actual race samples had all tested clean or they would have DQ'd him a long time ago.

Screw the Euro sore losers, not Armstrong. No American should ever put any money in that event again.

The Crack Emcee said...

I've never been a fan of Armstrong's, despite the prestige he brought to the country, but it's been pretty clear the French have had it in for him and, no one should doubt, it's tough to fight an entire country alone.

I don't know if he's used steroids, but I'd think - after all of his accomplishments on behalf of our country - if he wasn't, the government would've helped sort it out.

Whatever - the frogs win.

Levi Starks said...

Unless you're prepared to give the same scrutiny to the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, ...... place finishers in every race that Lance won then this situation cannot end with justice. And you can't give this level of scrutiny to the others, because no one was paying attention to them either at the time, or since.
I think it would be very strange if a 3rd place finisher were to wake up in the morning check their E-mail, and declare wow! I just won the 2005 tour de france.

Darrell said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Darrell said...

Let's see someone take an also-ran and engineer him to match Armstrong's record of dominance.

We're so used to heroes with feet of clay that we don't even support a genuine hero when one does comes along. So many in his home country didn't even give him a ten-second benefit of a doubt when the charges were first made. Shame on them.

elkh1 said...

No statute of limitations?

Haunt you till you drop.

John Lynch said...

So they let him win... seven times... and years later decide, no, he didn't win... based on no new evidence...

Huh?

davis,br said...

Well, I am a fan. I've been a fan of cycling since the early-70's. Doping has been around since ...forever. It's up to the riders & the teams. I assumed they're all doing whatever they think it takes, so long as they don't get caught ...team "strategy" is pushing a pump into another team's spokes for lord's sake. And that's what makes it a level playing field. If that matters to you.

I don't trust the doping agencies either: everyone has an axe to grind. I don't care what test they say they just "proved" doping ...a test 10 years after the at-the-race testing showed negative results.

Any idiot knows - especially if you've watched the TdF and other races over the years, that LA is one of the greatest cyclists, and the greatest TdF cyclist, in the history of cycling.

This is total bullshit.

...next they go after Merkx, eh? (Who is the greatest cyclist in the history of cycling.) He had his accusers too.

These people disgust me, and they only damage the sport, and sports.

I don't actually believe anyone about anything when it comes to sports. Cycling, baseball, basketball (Kings vs Lakers in 2002: what a pile of crap, and what unmitigated damage and self-inflicted wounds the NBA committed in Game 6), the Olympics (forcing children into sports servitude: China, much). You think Nascar is all above board? - It is to laugh.

Ha-effin'-ha.

Armstrong won. We know this. Because we saw it.

This is just bullshit.

Don't Tread 2012 said...

I'm with the folks that call bullshit on this.

Never ending charges of cheating are impossible to overcome. Disproving a negative that happened long ago? Pushing a rope uphill. No statute of limitations???

I can see where Armstrong would throw in the towel. If, for nothing else, from a financial standpoint...

With all the prestige and money that comes with being an elite athlete (any sport) its not hard to figure why folks look for an edge.

Smaller better faster.

rehajm said...

Lance has a heart that is larger than average- about 1/3 larger than average. His lung capacity is twice the average. He is more consistently committed to training than every other elite in his sport. He obsesses more than other riders over his race courses, learning every turn, every rise, every climb, every descent. Memorized.

But yah, it had to be the drugs..

hawkeyedjb said...

A few years ago I heard one of the experts in the field say, in response to a question, that he thought Armstrong "probably" doped. Otherwise, the fellow said, he wouldn't have been able to defeat all the other dopers. His point was that Armstrong always competed on a level playing field, and proved he was the best.

Hagar said...

I don't much care for Lance Armstrong - just a personal impression - but I would like to point out that the French have a long history of pulling this kind of thing in motor sports.

Michael said...

His biggest sin was not being caught. Hundreds of oficial, impromptu, tests. Hundreds. At all times of the year, not just during or right after races. Passed. Every. Test.

Perhaps he did cheat. Perhaps he was foolish enough to let the foolish Landis see him cheat. But whatever it was that he cheated WITH was not detectable. So this is what we get.

Maybe we should let cyclists go back to the old days when they openly used speed or coke or caffiene or any ungent of their desire. And get the bureaucrats out of it. Because this is a little more Kafka than Kojack.

lupus400 said...

"I don't much care for Lance Armstrong - just a personal impression - but I would like to point out that the French have a long history of pulling this kind of thing in motor sports."

What does it have to do with the french? THe charges against him were levied by the USDA.

Scott said...

"It’s a sad day for all of us who love sport and our athletic heroes," Travis Tygart, chief executive of the United States Anti-Doping Agency, said. "It’s yet another heartbreaking example of how the win-at-all-costs culture, if left unchecked, will overtake fair, safe and honest competition."

This is not about doping. It's about a federal bureaucrat crushing one of the most exceptional athletes in recorded history, and then crowing about it.

The State is never wrong. The State will make you conform. You can seek justice, but we will make the personal cost more than any reasonable man will pay.

carrie said...

Even if he was doping, this still sucks. Lance, we know who won those tours. When someone in a position of power is out to get you . . .

Astro said...

I admire Armstrong for everything he has gone through and all the difficulties, including the life-threatening cancer, that he has overcome. OTOH I'm not a fan of olympic sports, or really much of a fan of sports in general.

Nevertheless I was curious about this so I looked into the background of Travis Tygart and the USADA. My impression is that the USADA, and Tygert in particular, are using this case to gain publicity (bringing down a national figure) and to justify their own existence.
It's a witch-hunt, and the USADA has unlimited resources. Armstrong could have 1000 tests that indicate his innocence; the USADA just needs one mis-handled test that gives a partial positive, or convincing innuendo to win.

The UCI will have to strip Armstrong of his medals due to its being a member of WADA - even though the UCI appears not to want to do so. Perhaps the UCI will reluctantly agree, then find a loophole to honor Armstrong some other way, like a lifetime achievement award.

Nathan Alexander said...

I do not believe Lance Armstrong cheated.

I believe he was being hounded by an entity that did not have to consider costs in their persecution.

Lance Armstrong is one of the greatest athletes who ever lived, in my opinion.

Loren said...

What to believe? I don't know. Most of the "winning" peloton during Lance's days have been caught as having doped. So that implies that the possibility that Lance also doped is high.

On the other hand, in every sport, once and a while, an individual comes along, who is the competitor of his or her generation. And many things point that Lance could be that as well. He was winning triathlons as a teenager, against athletes with more experience, training, etc. And it is extremely unlikely as a relatively poor amature teen he was doping then.

It certainly seems that the USADA process doesn't reveal it's case to the accused until either the athelete accepts the punishment, or arbitration.

Kit said...

How about his cameo in Dodgeball. Is that still valid?

Issob Morocco said...

Quitter. Whether he is guilty or not, throwing in the towel is the worse thing he could do to his career and reputation.

Jerome said...

No desk-jockey bureaucrat witch-hunting lawyer can strip Lance Armstrong of anything.

mikesixes said...

He was tested a million times and never caught. Now they're still pursuing him on the basis of hearsay and the testimony of hostile witnesses. That's not a fair process.
I suspect he's guilty, but there is nothing approaching proof, and in sports as in law there should not be punishment without due process.

Crunchy Frog said...

Just wondering how many people here defending Lance Armstrong were among those criticizing Sarah Palin for resigning as Governor of Alaska in similar circumstances.

Carry on.

Col Mustard said...

Al Gore should have had the USADA on his Florida re-count team. After losing 500 re-counts we could look forward to Al finally being sworn-in about 2017 after the USADA said a couple of Gore supporters had come forward and said Bush cheated.

jimbino said...

What Lance should do is start up a "Druggie Olympics" and a "Druggie Tour de France."

They'd probably be a lot more fun, just as conversing with a woman over math or physics is more fun in a bar with a beer in hand.

Bill said...

Armstrong cannot be defended. Here is a person who spent countless grueling hours training to be at the peak of his sport, but somehow arbitration, scary old arbitration, is too much for him now. If he were innocent, he'd have every incentive to fight this till the Supreme Court denied cert. He is giving up the fight because he is a cheat, and they have him dead to rights.

Big Mike said...

Two things about the USADA. First, they seem to have set out to play this case out in the media, with carefully timed leaks to tamed media and public innuendo. Except that if what they've put out there is what they've got, I wouldn't convict a dog of chasing a cat based on what's been released so far.

Second, USADA seems to be both prosecuting attorney and judge, not to mention criminal investigators. There's a reason why we separate those three roles. I think the USADA should be dissolved and reconstituted.

kentuckyliz said...

Col Mustard wins the thread.

Kevin said...

This is a witch hunt by a rogue agency, the USADA which will end only when its crusaders can find Armstrong guilty. I applaud Lance for refusing to participate in this kangaroo court whose bias was evident when it immediately declared him to be a doper for refusing to participate. Lance has a strong argument that his constitutional rights to due process and a civil trial in the court system have been denied. And I say this as someone who has little interest in Lance or bicycling.

We are watching the right to due process and the presumption of innocence being diminished in front of us, and we should all support these rights. And although this is not a criminal case, it appears that this agency is diluting the finality of proceedings by continuing to pursue charges despite hundreds of tests and previous investigations failing to charge Lance Armstrong with anything.

Kevin said...
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