For years Lance Armstrong has been bombarded with accusations of doping during his years as a competitive cyclist. With the number of wins he had under his belt during a time when the sport was corrupted by doping, he was insistent he was clean. With all public records supporting this, it really was left to individuals to make their own judgement.
I hate the whole concept of doping. In my mind, it is like taking notes in to a public examination – it is cheating, pure and simple. Regardless of your level or your goal, competitions / tests / examinations are designed to weigh you up against those around you, to see how good you really are. Sometimes, even when you give it everything you possibly can, you still don’t come out top. That’s life. You can only be the best you can be.
I decided to trust Lance. I had read one of his books; He had overcome so much during his lifetime – I felt that maybe, just maybe, he was one of those few people who was physically and mentally strong enough to achieve what he had done. Sadly, events of late have proved that I was mistaken.
Many public sports figures have spoken out against Lance. Of the articles I have read, the blog post by Pete Reed (Olympic winning GB rower) is a very good summary of how the sporting community seems to feel. But the upset and disappointment of Armstrong’s recent admittance of guilt (and public ‘apology’) is felt amongst many of us.
The more public you are, the more your behaviour is watched and copied. I believe it is the responsibility of those in the public eye, who want the respect of those who support them, to behave appropriately. Without even being a big Lance Armstrong fan, I feel let-down and disappointed by his actions. I, and many others, could perhaps have forgiven the doping if, when challenged, he had confessed. But to repeatedly lie, attack others and profiteer from such behaviour is appalling.
I think there is a lesson here for all of us. We must remember that everything we do, no matter how small, reflects on who we are as a person. We are all human though and we make mistakes. But when that happens, we should have the courage to admit that and trust that those who care will forgive us for slipping.