Still a champ
Seven-time Tour De France champion Lance Armstrong announced Thursday that he would give up the fight to clear his name of doping charges from the USADA. Armstrong has been hounded by charges for years. He finally decided it’s not worth it anymore and has now left his enemies to accomplish their goal of stripping him of his titles.
This is nothing more than a witch hunt, to use Armstrong’s own words. It’s never been proven and Armstrong, the most tested athlete in the world, has faced accusations throughout his entire career, but nothing has ever been fully proven. Now they’re bringing samples from previous years and saying they’re positive for performance enhancing drugs, even though he was tested at the time. They tested back then and found nothing, so why should we believe that they’ve now found traces of banned substances?
I don’t know for certain if Armstrong doped or not, but it’s obvious that a lot of people went out of their way to prove he did. They took it further than they ever would have with any other athlete, and that’s a shame. The man has meant more for cycling, especially in America, than anyone else in history. Now the sport that he gave so much to has betrayed him.
Some might see his decision to stop fighting the charges as an admission of guilt, but I disagree. Armstrong still maintains his innocence. What everyone should understand is how long he’s been dealing with this. Since he started winning bike races, he’s been accused of cheating. For Armstrong, the process has gone on long enough.
If he had kept fighting, it would have turned into a nasty and public media frenzy that would’ve probably resulted in him getting stripped of the titles anyway. Instead, he decided to bow out gracefully. Armstrong’s legacy can never be damaged, especially with everything he’s done outside of racing.
Armstrong, a cancer survivor, founded the Lance Armstrong Foundation, one of the top cancer research supporters in the world. His most famous work is the yellow Livestrong bracelets. His story of surviving cancer and returning to win seven consecutive Tour de Frances has given hope to millions. Whether or not he’s an official Tour champion anymore, he’s still viewed as a winner.
While this is a sad ordeal, it really doesn’t matter in the end. Everyone can make up their own mind about whether Armstrong doped or not, but his true legacy isn’t about bike racing. It’s about hope. In my mind, he’ll always be a seven-time Tour de France champion and a victim of persecution. More importantly, he’s a humanitarian. They make take his racing titles, but they’ll never take away the impact he’s had.
Kevin Bingaman can be reached at