Lance Armstrong: Hero, Liar, or Both?

By Beth Dreher

By now, you know the basics of the Lance Armstrong doping scandal. After denying cheating for more than a decade, Armstrong finally gave up his fight against doping charges in August and, with it, his record-setting seven Tour de France titles, an Olympic bronze medal and all other titles and money he won from August 2008 on. Earlier this month, a scathing United States Anti-Doping Agency report painted him as the mastermind of a culture of doping on the U.S. Postal Service Team. And on October 18, Nike terminated his endorsement deal—ironic, given the now infamous “What Am I On?” commercial.

Personally, I’d suspected Armstrong’s doping for a while (easy to say that now, right?)—how else do you explain his mind-blowing performances against admitted dopers?—but I still begrudgingly owe him a debt of gratitude. In 2004, at the height of Armstrong mania, I went to the doctor with stomach pains and came out with an ovarian cancer diagnosis. Because I was a runner and wanted to remain one, my oncologist designed my regimen of easy-on-the-lungs chemotherapy drugs based on what Armstrong had received. And naturally, I was reading Armstrong’s book, It’s Not About the Bike, as I sat through hours of treatment.

So, it’s with a particular type of interest that I’ve followed Armstrong’s fallout. Every sports writer, cycling enthusiast, cancer survivor, and those who love them have thoughts about Armstrong, but here’s my must-read list of the most interesting stories on the topic:

Truth and Consequences by Steve Madden (“I was the editor-in-chief of Bicycling magazine from 2002 to 2008. There’s a reason we never went after Lance for doping.”)

Lance Armstrong’s Endgame by Bill Strickland (“It’s time to stop arguing about whether Lance doped and start figuring out what it means.”)

Lance Armstrong Wants to Tell Nation Something But Nation Has To Promise Not To Get Mad  (“Saying that it would probably be best if everyone sat down for this, seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong informed the U.S. populace Thursday that he wanted to tell it something…”)