I took more than the usual heat this weekend for prior posts such as, french are practical and damn silly Basterds. but, I stand by it, all of it
just like I’ll stand by Lance Armstrong.
I knew a couple of days before the papers (internet, actually) unleashed the news on a stunned world. Matthew McConaughey called with the words, “Lance is gonna walk away, man”.
headlines outlined the reality… Lance Armstrong Ends Fight Against Doping Charges; Will Be Stripped of Tour de France Titles
so… after more than two decades of out-pacing opponents and a decade of outrunning accusations that he had “doped” during his celebrated cycling career, Lance Armstrong, one of the most well-known and accomplished athletes in history, finally surrendered, so-to-speak on Thursday afternoon, etching a dark mark on his legacy by ending his fight against charges that he used performance-enhancing drugs.
that reads rather officious. but, I mean it appear stern and bleak. those words ring true in my own life, albeit on a different scale.
Lance and I both gave-up the face-of-our-fathers (name) with the expectations that we could move-on with our lives.
I won’t pretend, and not for a moment, that I am somehow on-par with Armstrong. what he accomplished as a professional athlete, and as a transformative champion against cancer are unequalled. my own athletic achievements, and what I attempt daily as a Dad, businessman, and youth coach will always be overshadowed by what happened to me in Colorado.
but, God knows that my heart was pure. and, I work every day to earn my own sense of redemption. and Lance has that opportunity before him.
Armstrong, who won the Tour de France an unprecedented seven straight times, said on Thursday night that he would not continue to contest the charges levied against him by the United States Anti-Doping Agency, which contended that he doped and was one of the ringleaders of systematic doping on his Tour-winning teams.
Armstrong’s decision, according to the World Anti-Doping Code, means he will be stripped of his seven Tour titles, the bronze medal he won at the 2000 Olympics and all other titles, awards and money he won from August 1998 forward. it also means he will be barred for life from competing, coaching or having any official role with any Olympic sport or other sport that follows the World Anti-Doping Code. the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency erased fourteen years of Lance Armstrong’s career Friday, including his record seven Tour de France titles – and, banned him for life from the sport that made him a household name and hero to millions of cancer survivors after concluding he used banned substances.
but, it does not mean he actually doped, mind you. it means he has more important things to focus on.
Armstrong clearly knew his legacy would be blemished by his decision. but, he said he has grown tired of defending himself in a seemingly never-ending fight against charges that he doped while piling up more Tour victories than anyone ever. Lance has consistently pointed to the hundreds of drug tests that he passed as proof of his innocence during his extraordinary run of Tour titles.
“There comes a point in every man’s life when he has to say, ‘Enough is enough.’ For me, that time is now,” Armstrong said Thursday night, hours before the deadline to enter arbitration.
“Today I turn the page. I will no longer address this issue, regardless of the circumstances,” he said. “I will commit myself to the work I began before ever winning a single Tour de France title: serving people and families affected by cancer, especially those in underserved communities.”
Livestrong donations skyrocket in wake of Lance Armstrong’s decision to stop fighting charges
go to hell Jim Lewis.
that won’t make sense to anyone else, but me, and Joanne, probably. however, it makes me feel a bit better.
in any event, many wondered if Livestrong – the foundation for cancer survivors founded by the seven-time Tour de France winner and testicular cancer survivor – would suffer as a result.
It doesn’t look like it.
on Friday, McConaughey said that Armstrong had told him that donations to Livestrong were up twenty-five times over the prior Thursday and Wednesday averages.
“Thank you thank you thank you!” Armstrong wrote on Twitter.
Doug Ulman, Livestrong’s chief executive, confirmed on ESPN that the foundation had received seventy eight thousand dollars in unsolicited donations in the twenty-four hours following the announcement of Armstrong’s decision. Compare that to Thursday, when Livestrong received just $3,200 (just so we are clear, I did not do that, you did).
and, Ulman told our own foundation director that Livestrong has seen a thirteen percent increase in contributions in the last twelve months, in the light of all the allegations.
moving-on, past obstacles just as he does with opponents, in a manner that will always define Lance Armstrong, he is still competing in bike races. on Saturday, Armstrong finished second in a thirty-six mile mountain bike race in Aspen, Co., where he made his first public comments since being hit with the lifetime ban.
“Nobody needs to cry for me,” Armstrong told reporters. “I’m going to be great.
“It’s not so much about racing anymore,” he continued. “For me, it’s more about staying fit and coming out here and enjoying one of the most beautiful parts of the world, on a beautiful day, on a very hard course.”
maybe the bottom-line is this… since Armstrong launched Livestrong in 1997, the foundation has raised close to $500 million.
“Drugs or no drugs,” pro-cyclist Matthew Serge wrote on Twitter, “anyone that raises $500 million to fight cancer is cool by me.”
“I’m focused on the future,” Armstrong said after the Colorado race. “I’ve got five great kids, a great lady in my life, a wonderful foundation that’s completely unaffected by any noise out there, and we’re going to continue to do our job. The people like the people who are standing around here or on the course, they voiced their opinion in the last 48 hours and are going to support us.”
Jeremy Swanson, a photographer who shot Armstong in Aspen, tweeted: “#StillMyHero.”
McConaughey says that the winner of Saturday’s race, 16-year-old Keegan Swirbul, added: “I’m so psyched right now – to beat the seven-time Tour champ.”
titles, pride, prejudice… none of it matters in the face of integrity, force-of-will, a raison d’être, or that little voice in the back of your head that pushes you over huge hills and life obstacles grimly telling some of us that we can do it, we still have a battle to win, we have value and can contribute.
and, we shall.
redemption is always at-hand. so, how do we define redemption? I tried it recently with another post, how do You define Redemption. read it. do it now!
I suppose the masses will judge Armstrong with a shallow view. but, Lance and God know that his legacy is bigger than racing titles. Lance is bigger than life. God gave that ability to him, and may want Armstrong to leverage it in ways most others can’t comprehend. so, with the world still his stage, perhaps his best achievements lie before him. that can be his legacy.
that’s what I want for myself.
that is it’s own form of redemption, right. how well do we finish? what is the final score, tally, result.
peace be to my Brothers and Sisters.
brian patrick cork