Friday, August 24, 2012

(Not) A Fair Fight

I've always been on the fence when it comes to Lance Armstrong.  Until yesterday.  Let me explain.  When he won his 5th Tour de France title, I wasn't sure I would put him up there with 2 other cyclists I admire -- the great Eddy Merckx and the ferocious Bernard Hinault, who each had won 5 tour titles during their careers.  When he won #6 and #7, I was resigned to the fact that ok, he's at least as good at Merckx and Hinault.  The total number of tour wins is really relative to the competition of the era.  For example, Hinault had to fight with Greg Lemond and Laurent Fignon, both great cyclists, for a couple tour wins during his reign.  So yes, Lance, in my mind joined Merckx and Hinault.  Whether he used performance enhancing drugs is a different issue.  Never tested positive on hundreds of tests during his career so at the very least, I consider every one of Lance's wins legitimate.  I've always suspected his use of EPO -- but I thought every other pro cyclist of his generation did too so it was a wash.  Nonetheless, he was tested and passed.  Case closed.  Then comes the US Anti Doping Agency in 2012.  Why they are investigating him seven years after his last tour, who the hell knows.  Then yesterday, Lance basically said he will stop fighting the USADA.  No mas.  From all accounts I've read, this is not a fair fight.  Two other news items this week made me thinks this world is pretty rampant with people who abuse the powers they're given and consequently, the people they preside over never get a fair fight. The skateboarder in Venice who got beat up by four LAPD officers for allegedly resisting arrest for skateboarding in the wrong direction.  The high school principal in Oklahoma who refused to give the valedictorian her diploma because she uttered the word "hell" in her speech.  Armstrong has never backed away from a fair fight and he thought this USADA process was not fair.  Hence his decision.  Hence, my decision.  From this point forward, I am rooting for Lance.  I'm rooting for every victim out there who had suffered unnecessarily because of this social epidemic called abuse of power.

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