[caption id="attachment_52" align="alignright" width="117"] Lance Armstrong[/caption]
It's hard to believe that it has been seven years, since Lance Armstrong won his 7th consecutive and last Tour de France and we all were celebrating him, "as the most gifted athlete of all-time." It's even harder to believe that seven years later, Armstrong went from an American hero to becoming the biggest name, in a long list of athlete's, who may have used steroids during their sporting career.
As you all know by now, Armstrong was officially stripped of his seven consecutive Tour de France tittles and was ban from cycling for life by the USADA, U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, for lying and using steroids during his career. The punishment given to Armstrong was based on an investigation that the USADA did, that lasted for a few years, and the report from it was released recently. The report included details and evidence, that may have concluded that Armstrong not only used steroids during his career, but may have given steroids to former teammates and etc. The report also included several interviews from some of Armstrong's former teammates, who talked about him and his alleged steroid use.
Even though it's only been about a couple of weeks, people are still talking and reacting to the punishment given to Armstrong and are having a hard time, like me, to view and grasp the reality that he may have not only lied about using steroids, but may have actually done it. Armstrong was once the most celebrated athlete of all-time, I would never imagine he would get in trouble, let alone for something like this, maybe that's why I'm having a hard time viewing and accepting the new reality about him.
For a long time now, I've believed that Armstrong never did steroids and every time he said he didn't do it, I would believed him even more. It didn't matter what happened or who said what or what new allegations came, I've always supported him. I never questioned or doubted Armstrong cause for years, there's never been enough evidence or information that would confirm or prove that he did indeed used steroids throughout his career. I supported Armstrong before and during the USADA's investigation of him and I did the same a few years ago, when one his former teammates, Floyd Landis, who won the Tour de France in 06, but then later was stripped of the tittle and was ban for life from cycling, cause of using steroids during the event, talked about Armstrong's steroid used and how he witnessed him doing it.
For years, Lance has fought every allegation, that has ever come out, and has kept saying he's been innocent and had never failed a drug test and I gave him alot of respect of trying to defend his good name and fight off these allegations. I was so shocked in August, when Armstrong said, he would no longer fight the allegations against him and won't fight future ones cause it was taking a toll on him and his family, this came after the announcement that he would be stripped of his seven Tour de France tittles and be ban from cycling. I totally understand Armstrong's reasoning, it probably has been so tough for him and his family throughout these years, but I say, "why stop fighting at this point", since he's been fighting these allegations for years now, and his Tour de France tittles, career, and image is on the line, wouldn't you want to fight for your image and name til the end.
You gotta think there were other reasons, besides the one Lance gave, back in August, on why he would all of a sudden stop fighting. Maybe Some of the other reasons on why Lance decided to stop fight could include he just wanted to move on and let nature take it's course, realized that he couldn't win in the long term against the USADA and its investigation, or did he just decided to give up.
When some of the first accusations and reports came out years ago, about Lance and his possible steroid use, I thought, "there's no way Lance ever did steroids, where's the proof." As years went by, with more accusations coming out, more of his former teammates talking about Armstrong using steroids, and the USADA doing it's own investigation, I began to wonder if there was really anything to this idea of Lance doing steroids and lying about it. Even though I believed Armstrong for years, about not doing steroids, why would there be so many accusations from his former teammates and why would there be an investigation, if there was never enough proof and information out there about his steroid use, it just made me wonder more.
Although it's only been a few weeks, since the USADA release their findings from their investigation, I still don't know how I should feel and look at Armstrong now, it's so much of a shock and there's so much information to process and understand. When I think of Armstrong, I think of, "survivor," "inspiration," and "not giving up," now with the investigation released and revealing the truth about his possible history of steroid use, you now have tell me that I have to put in, "lair" and "steroid user," that just doesn't feel right.
I'll be honest with you, when it was first announced that USADA were going to do an investigation about Lance's steroid use, I was worried about it alittle, cause I felt in the back of my head, I thought they may find that one piece of information, that could prove that Armstrong did use steroids and lied about it.
By knowing and hearing about what information came out of this investigation, I'll admit, I have alittle bit of doubt about Lance. The information that did come out, is alot to overcome, since it included 10 or more former teammates talking about his steroid use and a report about Lance giving steroids to other cyclists, this is some pretty serious stuff and I hope none of this is true.
Losing his Tour de France tittles was not only thing that happened to Armstrong recently, by the aftermath of these recent events. All of his sponsors, including Nike and RadioShack, dropped him and he recently stepped down as chairman of his own charity, the LiveStrong foundation, he's still part of it's committee though. Besides finding information about Lance and his steroid use, the investigation, in my opinion, may have confirm that competitive cycling is the world's "dirtiest" sport, Have you seen how many cyclists have been caught using steroids over the past couple of years, it's unbelievable.
If you would've asked me years ago if I thought Armstrong used steroids, I would have said no, but if you ask me the same question today, at this moment, I would say "maybe," Even though I do have more doubt about Armstrong, than I ever did before. I still want to hear Armstrong's side of the story, cause I sometimes feel that these investigations or etc can get pretty confusing and messy and you don't know what's true or not. We all know that Lance's image at this point is alittle ruin and the question that we should be asking isn't how bad could things get for him, it's does he even care about what's going on? In my personal opinion, I don't think he does and why should he, he's still part of his foundation, which does great things, he's still going to get support and respect for surviving cancer, and even after the release of the documents, he still believes he's 100% innocent.
It's sad what's been going on with Armstrong these past couple of months and it has changed how we look at him today. Armstrong has been our American hero and icon for years and has stood up to every challenge he has ever had to face, even cancer. It's a shame that Armstrong could soon be part of a growing list of athlete's, like Roger Clemens and A-Rod, who we thought didn't take steroids, but then got caught using or admit to doing it. Even though I have some doubts about Armstrong, I still believe in him alittle bit still, and I hope that sometime soon, still could be this year, he would come out, speak, and tell the truth about what actually happened.
I feel if there's any athlete out there, that can overcome such an scandal like this one, it would be Armstrong and if he would speak about the situation and talk about what exactly happened, I feel that he can repair his image and I actually think he could have good outcome from this, but only if he chooses to. If Lance is as smart as we know he is, he will do the right thing and speak up and if he can overcome cancer, I have no doubt in my mind that he can overcome this latest challenge in his life.