I was going to write my wrap up of JDRF Family Camp and explain how amazing it was and how it is truly beneficial to those living with diabetes (or caretakers of people with diabetes). It was great and I will definitely be doing that post soon.
However today it was officially announced that the International Cycling Union is stripping Lance Armstrong of his winning Tour de France medals. I have looked up to Lance and the Livestrong Foundation not only has a cyclist but as a child of someone who has battled cancer for at least the past year.
To start: I truly believe Lance Armstrong's story and the Livestrong Foundation helped save my father's life last year. He is an inspiration to athletes who are battling cancer and my father was one of those. His book is heart touching, well written, and inspirational. His Foundation has raised more than 15 billion dollars for Cancer research. He started this because he wanted to inspire and empower people dealing with cancer diagnosis.
I don't think that Lance is completely in the right though. I think that doping is stupid, wrong and should be considered and offense in all sports, no questions asked. Please do not take my opinion on what he has done with his celebrity to be one that condones how he achieved the celebrity in the first place. Before his battle with cancer he was good, but not great so I get it. I know why he was stripped of the medals.
But to be a member of the media, or even a lay person criticizing his every move in the sport? Get over yourselves. Every single cyclist in the Tour de France dopes, they just don't get caught. It's a dirty, cheat-filled sport, and that's common knowledge to people who pay attention to it.
Here's how I see the progression:
-Lance races Tour a few times remains good middle to high end of pack.
-Lance battles cancer and wins
-Lance returns with incredible vigor and beats others 7 times over by more than 15meters (almost unheard of) raising suspicion.
-While others are trying to figure out his doping scheme, Lance starts up the Livestrong Foundation by using his name which he gained by winning aforementioned titles
-Livestrong continues to grow and raise 15 billion dollars
-Lance steps down from Foundation chair
-Lance is stripped of medals.
So, is what he did during the races wrong? Yup. More wrong than any of his competitors? Nope.
Did he use what he gained from those wins for good? Absolutely.
I honestly believe my father would not be alive, healthy and cycling 20+ kms if it wasn't for Lance's fame gained form those medals, the Livestrong Foundation and the Nike endorsement.
I think it's a sad day for Lance and the sport in general. I think this is going to snowball. At least it should if they are going to remain transparent and maintain a heavy hand against doping. The sad thing is, it's my favourite sport and I really did respect Lance as an athlete before all of this. Now I respect Lance the philanthropist--something I hope nobody continues to try and take from him.
Thank you Mr. Armstrong, for what you have done for Cancer research.