American cyclist Lance Armstrong finally threw in the towel yesterday and declared he was no longer going to fight the doping charges the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency has been leveling against him since 1999. The agency, apparently taking his move as an admission of guilt, promptly announced it would move to strip him of his bronze Olympic medal, seven Tour de France victories and his prize money, and ban him from the sport for life.
I’ll admit to putting my heroes on pedestals and being among the last to accept that they might, after all, be fallible human beings. But I am angry that the USADA, if they do indeed have proof positive that Armstrong cheated and have had it for a number of years, didn’t strip him of his titles years ago instead of harassing him until he finally grew tired of defending himself. If their case was a slam dunk, why didn’t they ban him as soon as they had proof of doping? If it wasn’t an iron clad case, they should never have lodged it at all.
And by the way, if the USADA didn’t award the titles in the first place, how can they take them away? It’s the International Olympic Committee, not the US Olympic Committee, and the Tour de France, not the Tour de USA. This is a petty, vindictive, and cowardly move by the USADA. And a sad day for cycling.
- Lance Armstrong to be banned for life, stripped of Tour de France titles (newsday.com)
- Lance Armstrong Says He Won’t Fight Doping Charges (wnyc.org)
- Lance Armstrong Stripped of Tour de France Titles? Internet in Shock (mashable.com)
- Lance Armstrong Doping Charges: USADA To Ban Cyclist For Life, Strip Him Of 7 Tour De France Titles (huffingtonpost.com)