“A shocking disregard for life” – my personal opinion on Lance Armstrong
People ask me about my opinion and because tweets are far too short to get a point across, I will post it here.
Do I believe Lance Armstrong used doping? Yes I do. It’s hard to deny that an entire generation of riders used performance enhancement drugs. It’s statistically highly improbable that the number one never did. So many testified and told similar stories. Even though there never was a “caught red-handed situation”, to me it’s enough.
I am 33 and was a big fan of cycling when Lance Armstrong won his seven consecutive Tour victories. I enjoyed them. I enjoyed him. The attacks, that arrogance, his personal story.
That story became very important to me on December 18, 2008 when I was diagnosed with cancer. Livestrong became my motto, Lance Armstrong the role model, my hero so to say. I wore Livestrong gear to chemotherapy sessions and found strength in the many people it represented that had survived, including that one American.
In 2010 I met Armstrong in the Tour of Luxembourg. I was invited into the Radioshack team bus and spoke about 15 minutes with him. He was in no rush and listened to my story. He encouraged me to follow my dreams, to make something good out of the cancer experience. It was inspirational and in a way the start of my company and current job as commentator and journalist.
Do I feel betrayed now? No I don’t. I am not disenjoying those TDF victories in hindsight. I enjoyed them back then, period. I am disappointed though. Disappointed in the stories about Armstrong (and Bruyneel) being playground bullies on a large scale. Deceit, threats, lies etc. So different from the man I spoke to in Luxembourg.
But I am most disappointed in Armstrong’s obvious disregard for his life. He got cancer, maybe even from taking testosterone and human growth hormone. He survived the ordeal and was given a second chance. Instead of honouring that God-given chance, he abused his then healthy body by taking drugs intended for sick people. He played with his life, his second life! That blatant and shocking disregard for life personally hurts me the most. The fact he played with the second chance many never got.