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…”)