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No more Lance Armstrong

OK, we’re all done with professional bully, liar, and drug abuser Lance Armstrong, right?

The interview began with seven very effective yes or no questions, getting the central truths, the truths Armstrong has denied for so long, out of the way in a brutal incantation: Did you ever take banned substances to enhances your cycling performance? Yes. EPO? Yes. Blood doping? Yes? Testosterone, Cortisone, Human Growth Hormone? Yes. Was he doping for all seven of his Tour De France victories? Yes.

That Armstrong is a fraud who doesn’t deserve the millions of dollars he’s sitting on right now isn’t even a question anymore. The only real question is…is professional cycling roughly equivalent to professional wrestling on the hokum scale?

Comments

  1. John Kruger says

    By many accounts almost all professional sports is rife with performance enhancing drugs and drug programs designed to let people get away with using them. It is more of an intelligence test, in that if you know when you are going to be tested and how long traces are detectable in your body the only way to get caught is to be stupid or careless. With many performance enhancing drugs, you will want to use them only for training and come off them for competition for the maximum benefit anyway.

    I do not want to be part of a spectator crowd that corners people into harming themselves in order to compete for my amusement, but if athletes are aware of the risks and the harm is not permanent I say let them shoot up. Just eliminate the dishonest and unequally enforced system.

  2. andusay says

    I bet he will not pay a dime in restitution to those whose lives he helped to destroy. He is sorry, but not THAT sorry.

  3. Janine: Hallucinating Liar says

    One have to wonder how much charity money was diverted from real charities to go into the bullshit Livestrong pocket lining.

  4. says

    I bet he will not pay a dime in restitution to those whose lives he helped to destroy. He is sorry, but not THAT sorry.

    Actually, in many cases, he will likely have no choice but to pay — he already has seven law suits filed against him, with plenty more to come, no doubt.

  5. morejello says

    One article I read said that of the top 3 finishers for the last 10 Tour De France races (there were some duplications), 22 have been busted for doping. Just like every other endeavor where big money is involved, there are people who will do anything to get that money.

  6. Matt Penfold says

    What pissed me off is that he still wants it to be about him, and not about the clean cyclists he cheated, or the people he bullied because they spoke the truth about him.

    Fuck him.

  7. mnb0 says

    “The only real question is …”
    Yes. Always has been. Except that the results are not fixed.
    Anyone who is surprised only proves his/her naivity.
    The Tour de France is the hardest sport event all over the world. Period. So there is nothing else to expect.

  8. Adamvs Maximvs says

    My grief with the whole thing is that someone is being paid millions of dollars to RIDE A BICYCLE?!?!
    (To be fair I find the pay rates in all professional sports ridiculous though, not to mention the revolting ‘jock culture’, and the anti-intellectual attitudes, and the mind-numbing spots commentary, the ….*proceeds to vent for 3 pages*)

  9. glodson says

    The part that disgusts me about him is that he tried to destroy people to maintain his lie. Others have lied about using PEDs but not done so in such a manner, to bully and harass people into silence to such a degree. All for his own good.

    As an aside, fuck sports organizations. They get the benefit of the juiced up athletes, spend years not really enforcing their own rules to profit off them athletes, then call foul after the fact.

  10. Doug Hudson says

    Obviously, the answer is no, professional cycling is WAY less honest than professional wrestling. For the last few decades pro wrestling has been pretty upfront about the scripting and fakery. And the use of “banned substances” is probably about the same…

  11. unclefrogy says

    yes!
    aren’t they all rather similar underneath hype and roar of the crowd? The outcome of any event may be in doubt but importance and pointlessness are not.

    uncle frogy

  12. Rip Steakface says

    I haven’t been following Armstrong whatsoever, so I’m completely unfamiliar with anything other than he cheated like no other. What’s this about bullying, lying and destroying lives?

  13. jaybee says

    Cycling does have a lot of problems with drug cheats, but we hear about them because some attempt is made to root them out. I’m sure cycling has far less drug use than the NFL does, yet many of the same people who are indignant about Armstrong’s cheating will spend this weekend watching college and pro football and marveling at their size and speed.

    Armstrong really was the best of his generation at road cycling, as the people he beat were similarly doped. What sets Armstrong apart from everyone on the hatred scale, though, was his ruthless efforts to destroy anyone who got in his way.

  14. Thomathy, Gay Where it Counts says

    Rip Steakface, try google.

    Since the first accusations were made against him and he vehemently denied them, he has viciously silenced anyone who dared to speak against him. He’s not just a professional liar, he’s so much more and so much worse.

  15. pascale68 says

    Personally, I don’t know why people take athletes so seriously in the first place. The way I see it, sports is entertainment. I don’t like it that athletes get paid so much, but I feel the same way about Snooki or the Kardashians. I never thought of Lance Armstrong as a hero, so this admission doesn’t do anything for me.

    Some people mention that these athletes encourage teenagers to take steroids (or other PEDs). What I have heard from high school teachers is that a much bigger problem with teenage athletes is alcohol. So many more of them drink (and are pressured to drink) than take PEDs, and they often drive after drinking. Yet people would rather talk about PEDs than alcohol.

  16. imnotandrei says

    A few things:

    Doug Hudson @10

    Obviously, the answer is no, professional cycling is WAY less honest than professional wrestling. For the last few decades pro wrestling has been pretty upfront about the scripting and fakery.

    It’s funny — because it’s precisely that which, to me, says that cycling is more honest. Wrestling is entertainment; cycling, even when the riders weren’t clean, was a competition. If they’d gotten together beforehand, and figured out who was going to win, to guarantee maximum drama and TV ratings, and the maximum money, that would be a better comparison.

    One is a pretend sport. The other is a sport where people got too caught up in the competition to respect the rules (or many of them did — it is, of course, worth noting that there was, in effect, a glass ceiling for clean athletes, but that doesn’t mean they weren’t there.)

    Jaybee @13

    I’m sure cycling has far less drug use than the NFL does

    By now, perhaps; but that’s because cycling is further along the testing cycle, as it were; it’s had its dark night of the soul (and hopefully we’re done with them for a while.)

    Armstrong really was the best of his generation at road cycling, as the people he beat were similarly doped.

    I’m not so sure about that; we don’t know how good Ullrich’s doctor was, for example; we can say that Armstrong was the point man on the best “team” of riders & doctors.

    What sets Armstrong apart from everyone on the hatred scale, though, was his ruthless efforts to destroy anyone who got in his way.

    Indeed; while I am glad he finally did come clean (as it were) I will not forgive him for the many years he set cycling back by insisting that he was clean, and implying by that that it was possible to win the Tour de France and World #1 ranking by being clean, if you were “good enough”.

  17. Christopher says

    Eh, he is still the best cyclist of his era. Not only did he outrace other equally doped competitors, but he beat them in the doping game as well: he never failed a test while pretty much all other top cylists of the era have.

    But being a human freakshow on a bike doesn’t absolve someone from being a douche and every report I’ve read of Lance’s inter-personal interactions show him to be ultra-douchy.

  18. thompjs says

    For a long time EPO was used by virtually everyone in cycling because there was no test!
    Unless they caught you with it no harm, no foul.

    Lance certainly trashed a lot of people.
    He is going to be sued by everyone, the Landis issue is bringing up possible fraud against the US Government since he was with US Postal. That could be bad.

  19. Hairy Chris, blah blah blah etc says

    Yeah, a big set problems that he’ll have are because he used various legal systems around the world to shut up people who asked questions and has perjured himself. Plus his sponsors could sue him…

    His bullying of other riders, the press, and anyone who disagreed was pretty much legendary.

  20. says

    i started typing a response to this, but the power in my house went out and now my response is all gone. my first point was that i do not really care much, so i won’t bother re-writing the entire thing. second: these doping athlete were simply giving the fans what they wanted, but the fans turned on them when doping allegations came out. third: fans suck. and to sum it up in the words of south park’s eric cartman: what’s the big fucking deal???

  21. Sastra says

    I don’t follow any sports, including professional bike racing, but my impression of Lance Armstrong was that he was a hero. His big claim to fame wasn’t his ability on the bicycle, but the fact that he survived a particularly nasty form of cancer and came back stronger. He’s also an atheist — or, at least, I’ve seen him on several lists of “famous atheists.” This scandal is so big even I am aware of it. Very sad.

  22. says

    Or are professional sports hokum in general? Where there are professional sports, there will be doping. Where there is money to be made, there will be cheating. I would say that Lance Armstrong does deserve his money in the sense that bankers deserve their money.

  23. yubal says

    Professional cycling became a mutual field research department of pharmaceutical industry.

    Each year they are competing in the Tour de Pharmacologie to show their new amazing compounds.

    It is still competition but it is not sport (except for the negative control group).

  24. says

    What is admirable about most professional sports anymore? If you have to cheat to even compete?

    In the case of Lance Armstrong, competitive cycling rewarded the person most willing to do whatever it takes to win including dishonesty and bullying even to the point of trying to ruin someone’s life.

  25. says

    From what I’ve heard (and I did work in the cycling industry for a few years, but all second hand), pretty much everyone in professional cycling is doping. Not that that excuses Lance, but it didn’t really tip the playing field all that much in his favor. But a cheater is a cheater, and just because others are cheating doesn’t give you the right to do so.

    I’ve got in a lot of discussions with people who are all for professional athletes doping, the usual “it’s their bodies they can do what they want”. My response is usually along the lines “these guys are role models for many kids.” I knew many, many people in high school who doped all through high school. The football coach actually got caught selling “legal” (at the time) doping agents to the team (Andro and Creatine). Granted Creatine is a natural substance, but the amounts that these kids were taking is was well beyond what is healthy (and since at least one of the guys now has liver problems). Many of them moved on to true Steriods and HGH before they were out of highschool

    The only real question is…is professional cycling roughly equivalent to professional wrestling on the hokum scale?

    Pretty much, it seems.

  26. vaiyt says

    I do not want to be part of a spectator crowd that corners people into harming themselves in order to compete for my amusement, but if athletes are aware of the risks and the harm is not permanent I say let them shoot up. Just eliminate the dishonest and unequally enforced system.

    Nobody wants to be the person who opened up the slippery slope.

  27. kemist, Dark Lord of the Sith says

    It is more of an intelligence test, in that if you know when you are going to be tested and how long traces are detectable in your body the only way to get caught is to be stupid or careless.

    It’s also a test of how much money you’ve got and what kind of risks you’re willing to take.

    I have met one of the heads of the organism that tests olympic athletes for doping (she works in collaboration with my former boss in synthesizing drugs they think some athletes may be using for the purpose of identification).

    Drug testing in athletes is mainly done using mass spectrometry.

    What you detect with this amounts to a unique “fingerprint” (what we call a fragmentation pattern) of the drug or its metabolites. As with human fingerprints used to identify somebody present on a crime scene, it can only be useful if you “have it on file” – if it is in a list of known drugs.

    A way to go around this system is to use a carefully selected new molecule – a so-called designer drug. Selection must take into account the way it may fragment (some fragmentation patterns are very obviously foreign, like for instance that left by an added bromide), and the amount you need for it to have an effect (so that it can easily hide inside the unidentified background of the sample).

    For anabolic steroids, a source for these kinds of molecules car be found for instance in the banks of compounds used in the development of anti-androgens (the development of anti-hormones will often develop potent hormones because they first have to bind the receptor in order to have any effect on it). One can also hire a chemist to slightly modify a known drug, but this tends to be more costly.

    The drawback of this method is that you have no freaking idea what the side effects of this thing might be. It might shut down your liver, be neurotoxic, or destroy your heart. Or make you overly fond of country music.

    The lady from the olympic drug testing agency once was anonymously given a vial of such a drug, which they identified and put on file.

  28. ButchKitties says

    In the tiny bit of the Oprah interview that I watched, I noticed he had a tendency to talk about the crappy things he did in the third person. He said things along the lines of: “I apologize for the actions of a man who knowingly sued innocent people to protect himself.” First person apology, third person description of the reason he needed to apologize. It came across as so calculated and manipulative and insincere that I could only stomach a few minutes before I had to change the channel.

  29. marty says

    I rarely disagree with you PZ but cycling and wrestling have very little in common. Others are correct in that sports are a form of entertainment and should be viewed in that context. I do view them that way and I do not idolize sports personalities and certainly not Lance Armstrong (who has always been an arrogant bully). This doesn’t take away my great enjoyment in watching professional cycling events such as the Tour de France. These 3-week endurance cycling events are arguably the most difficult sporting events to win and make most North American sports look like a joke. Another commenter made the point about the glass ceiling for clean athletes, this is very true. Although not the majority of the cyclists in these events they were there during Armstrong’s time and were denied the chance to try and win the Tour or other races cleanly. Even the one’s who were doping and have written books about it admit that they knew who the clean riders were and that they were being cheated. Many others just left the sport because they didn’t want to use the drugs. Cycling has a testing program that is improving all the time and is catching more cheaters. Cyclings main problem is their governing body, the UCI. People within the sport want to clean house and start a new organization since some of the inviduals at the top of the UCI were complicit in Armstrongs program.
    All the North American male-dominated professional sports (including hockey up here in Canada) have just as big a problem but they continue to pretend it doesn’t exist [and don't have any type of useful testing program]. I don’t think most of the fans want to know either – disappointing.

  30. says

    I can’t believe all pro sport being dominated by performance enhancing drugs… I mean, it doesn’t make sense for some sport: what do you take to be the best at golf? Or tennis even? Ok, maybe some things to endure pain or last longer in your effort, that would make sense. But for some things, I don’t think drugs can help, contrary to cycling for example.
    Now I’m not saying that drugs are only in cyclism obviously. That would be stupid. And also, I may just be very naive indeed, I’m ready to accept that.

  31. Janine: Hallucinating Liar says

    Casecob, I would rather that Livestrong would raise money for cancer research instead of PR.

    I stand by my claim that money has been divert from other, more worthy charities.

  32. doubtthat says

    My Take:

    First, Lance is a lying, sanctimonious asshole. It’s one thing to hide your behavior, it’s another to constantly berate and humiliate people for daring to question your ethics.

    That being said, I see Lance as the exact opposite of Joe Paterno. The defense of Paterno is, “hey, but he did so much great charity work and was a nice guy…” So what? He allowed children to be brutally raped in his football complex and did nothing to stop it.

    Lance, on the other hand, took some substances to peddle a bike faster, then converted his success into a cancer-fighting organization that did, and still does, really important work.

    Finally, the take-away for me is that we have a guy who went thought chemo, had a ball chopped off, had to recuperate from that, then filled his body with every manner of bizarre performance-enhancing drug you can imagine, from HgH to Steroids to blood-doping agents, and he’s fucking healthy. Why, exactly, are these substances banned? If a person can take these and the side effects can be mitigated to the point of harmlessness, please explain the downside of taking them.

    Now, obviously more study needs to be done, but keeping them illegal and allowing legend to build about their dangers sure as hell isn’t helping anything. I read the massive report they released. Armstrong was using stuff CONSTANTLY. If he’s in good health, seems like we should be studying the drug, not whining about the integrity of bike racing.

  33. jaybee says

    tomfrog –

    Sports that require bursts of power would benefit from testosterone and HGH.

    Sports that require endurance and cardiovascular intensity would benefit from EPO and blood doping.

    So golf: steroids
    Tennis: steroids and EPO

  34. Janine: Hallucinating Liar says

    Lance, on the other hand, took some substances to peddle a bike faster, then converted his success into a cancer-fighting organization that did, and still does, really important work.

    What important work, doubtthat. That cancer is bad.

    Just as I would not give to the Salvation Army if I wanted to give money to help homeless people, I would not give money to Livestrong if I wanted to help people with cancer and donate to cancer research.

  35. doubtthat says

    @36

    Absent something obscure, there is not a single sport I can think of that doesn’t benefit enormously from HgH and steroid use.

    For cycling, the steroids increase strength incredibly making each pedal stroke that much more powerful. It also causes muscles to recover at an extraordinary rate, so for an event like the Tour, you’re essentially beginning fresh everyday, while non-roid users have to deal with greater muscle deterioration. HgH is also amazing at helping the body recover.

    The blood doping stuff is unique to endurance sports, but steroids really are a miracle performance enhancer.

    I bring this up because you often hear silly defenses of athletes based on ignorant declarations of what steroids do (I’m not accusing you of this, to be clear). I’ve heard people say the NBA can’t possibly have a PED problem because steroids and HGH don’t provide that much benefit — yes, how could someone benefit from running faster, jumping higher, and being significantly stronger in basketball? It’s truly a mystery.

  36. kemist, Dark Lord of the Sith says

    And I don’t know why taking PED, or frankly taking any recreational drug you may fancy, is such a problem for people.

    If you see things practically, making doping (or any other drug use) illegal causes way more problems than it solves. It drives the risks higher for the athletes who take them, and considering that the kind of doctor supervising such an athlete will have a loose sense of ethics because of the illegal nature of such an activity, I’m not at all inclined to believe said athlete will have a clear idea of the risks he/she may be taking. Or that the doctor is acting in the very best interest of his/her “patient”. An illegal drug is at higher risk of being contaminated. Its commerce also finances potentially violent criminal organizations.

    Any medical intervention must be a balance of benefits vs risks, and risks tend to become disproportionately higher when it is driven underground.

    So, why not play openly ?

  37. funknjunk says

    @ #6 — yes, and he will write another book … and Idiot America will buy it, and he will be just fine, even after any lawsuits he may have to defend …. apologies to Chalres Pierce for shamelessly borrowing his book title :-)

  38. kemist, Dark Lord of the Sith says

    Sports that require bursts of power would benefit from testosterone and HGH.

    Sports that require endurance and cardiovascular intensity would benefit from EPO and blood doping.

    You can also add stimulants, like ephedrine, for bursts of power. Was almost universally used by hockey players at some point, in the form of cold medicine.

    And there are also drugs for sports that involve shooting, like propanolol, which decrease the shaking of the hands that may affect accuracy.

  39. doubtthat says

    @38

    For one, I’ve read a number of impressive stories regarding this program:

    http://www.livestrong.org/What-We-Do/Our-Actions/Programs-Partnerships/Fertile-Hope

    NPR profiled a woman without children who couldn’t afford to save any of her eggs prior to her treatment. Livestrong took care of the entire process, she later had children.

    We can argue about more efficient ways to spend money, but for that cancer survivor, Livestrong made an incredible difference.

  40. Rev. BigDumbChimp says

    Lance, on the other hand, took some substances to peddle a bike faster, then converted his success into a cancer-fighting organization that did, and still does, really important work.

    Not the important issues.

    His scorched earth campaign of destroying anyone who dared to questions his non-existent innocence is the big problem here. Lots of professional cyclists cheat.

    Not many cause as much damage to people as Lance did. He publicly and financially tried to and succeeded in destroying people, many of who were trapped in a perjury situation having to tell the truth.

    He’s a horrible fucking person and what makes it worse is he’s tainted the work that the livestrong foundation has does because they will forevver be tied to the glaring fucking asshole of a person that is Lance Armstrong.

  41. says

    “…someone is being paid millions of dollars to RIDE A BICYCLE?!?!”

    Elite-level competitive cycling is orders of magnitude away from the “bike riding” that most people do. The grand tours (the Tour de France is the one best known to Americans) are serious endurance events.

    Mr Q is a competitive cyclist*, and I’ve been following Europe-based professional cycling for thirty years, so I have knowledge of the sport.

    * and state champion** in his age group! yay!

  42. doubtthat says

    @45

    If you’ll notice, that was the sentiment that began my post. I’m not arguing for Armstrong as a great guy, just that his specific crime really isn’t a crime (being an asshole isn’t illegal). I’ll bet quite a bit of money that we look back on this case in 30 to 50 years and wonder why anyone gave a shit about PEDs. Hell, we’ll all be gobbling down some version of them when we hit age 80.

    Who was destroyed? I read that entire report. There were some cyclists sent to other teams. Not being able to ride with Lance isn’t being destroyed. Yes, he was a dick. Yes, he lashed out at people. You know who else did that? Michael Jordan. I fail to see the “crimes” Armstrong committed.

    And when people are on the stand, it’s up to them whether they tell the truth or not. Armstrong didn’t have their children in an undisclosed location threatening to murder them if these people didn’t lie for him.

  43. says

    I have to disagree with PZ Myers (SHOCK! OH NO MY COLLAR IS BEEPING! AARGH THE PAIN!) on this one.

    Pro-wrestling is kind of more related to ballet. It’s a physically demanding piece of entertainment based on a plot. Now remember that today we consider things like Ballet and Shakespeare as classy but during their time periods they were entertainment for the masses. The only reversal today is the reversal of seat values (I lived in Prague, box seats are cheaper than floor seats but in the day floor seats were cheap because wax would fall from the chandeliers onto patrons. Now in the era of modern lights the view there is better).

    It’s a play swordfight, it is zorro it is showmanship. Some of it is incredibly atheletic showmanship but it isn’t a contest. You don’t win at ballet and you don’t win at pro-wrestling.

    It’s very impressive stage fighting with plots. Enjoy it for that. Cycling wasn’t any of that.

  44. Janine: Hallucinating Liar says

    NPR profiled a woman without children who couldn’t afford to save any of her eggs prior to her treatment. Livestrong took care of the entire process, she later had children.

    And I am sure that lives have been saved by the Salvation Army. Still, I would rather not have all the baggage that comes with the help. That being anti-gay activities of the SA and the PR of Livestrong/Armstrong. There are other, better charities.

  45. nightshadequeen says

    Sports that require bursts of power would benefit from testosterone and HGH.

    Sports that require endurance and cardiovascular intensity would benefit from EPO and blood doping.

    So golf: steroids
    Tennis: steroids and EPO

    Sports that require uberfinemotorskills benefit from beta-blockers.

  46. Rev. BigDumbChimp says

    I’m not arguing for Armstrong as a great guy, just that his specific crime really isn’t a crime (being an asshole isn’t illegal).

    Perjury is, though the statute of limitations in Texas on that has passed, so he’s lucky.

    He’s sued a ton of people and organizations for telling the truth.

    Who was destroyed? I read that entire report. There were some cyclists sent to other teams. Not being able to ride with Lance isn’t being destroyed. Yes, he was a dick. Yes, he lashed out at people. You know who else did that? Michael Jordan. I fail to see the “crimes” Armstrong committed.

    Humm well there is this woman

  47. says

    I fail to see the “crimes” Armstrong committed.

    Among other things, fraud. He did not earn his TdF victories legitimately, and so was ineligible for bonuses he received from Tailwind Sports, owner of the USPS team of which he was a member. The bonuses were insured (a usual practice in professional sports), and the insurer is suing to recover the money that was fraudulently obtained.

    Here’s one cite for the story.

    http://espn.go.com/olympics/cycling/story/_/id/8537796/texas-insurance-firm-asks-lance-armstrong-repay-75-million-bonuses

    If you’re interested in al this from the perspective of the professional cycling community, have a look at http://velonews.competitor.com/

  48. Rev. BigDumbChimp says

    Lance has been a very litigious motherfucker and he’s getting ready to have that paid back to him in spades.

    Oh look! Fraud

    It’ll cost Lance Armstrong more than the $5 million he reportedly offered to get out of trouble with the federal government, which is considering suing the cycling legend for taking millions in sponsorship fees while cheating his way to seven Tour de France titles.

  49. says

    Oh as for the Charity thing…

    It’s not entirely an accurate way of deciding whether to give to a Charity or not. Because some charities have higher overheads because they hire full time professional staff to do jobs rather than relying on volunteers.

    It’s why Invisible Children are higher than the American Red Cross… Despite the American Red Cross having punched out Smallpox, Polio, Typhoid, Cholera and a whole host of ludicrously deadly diseases while Invisible Children are best known for Kony 2012 which reported on a civil war that had long finished using details that were incredibly out of date.

    It’s a poor way to rate charities because it punishes larger charities despite them doing serious work because large charities hire real staff rather than rely on part timers and hand outs.

  50. Rev. BigDumbChimp says

    to quote the great Allen Toussaint

    It’s high time that you found
    The same people you misuse on your way up
    You might meet up
    On your way down

    http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/i-team/legal-fallout-lance-article-1.1242391

    The Daily News has learned that SCA Promotions – the Dallas insurance company that withheld a bonus Armstrong was supposed to receive after winning the 2004 Tour de France – plans to sue Armstrong to try and recoup the $7.5 million and almost $5 million in legal fees and other damages, now that Armstrong has admitted doping.

    Armstrong’s confession to Winfrey contradicts statements he made under oath in a 2006 deposition, when he said he never used performance-enhancing drugs. Armstrong sued SCA in 2004 and SCA later agreed to pay Armstrong $7.5 million to settle the case. The statute of limitations on perjury expired years ago.

    As the Daily News has also reported, the Department of Justice’s decision on whether to join the qui tam – or whistleblower – suit filed by Armstrong’s former teammate, Floyd Landis, in 2010, now lies with Attorney General Eric Holder. Harvey says that part one of the Armstrong interview “certainly makes the whistleblower suit much more attractive to the government.”

    The DOJ had until Thursday to join the suit – which is not unsealed – and a DOJ spokeswoman would not comment on the status of the DOJ’s decision Thursday. But the DOJ reportedly got an extension while reps for Landis and Armstrong continue to negotiate.

    “If it’s a decent lawsuit, the government will take it over and prosecute it. It’s become, I think, a fantastic lawsuit from what we know. (Armstrong’s) contract specifically referenced performance-enhancing drugs. You have him admitting he took performance-enhancing drugs,” says Harvey. “And by the way, on whistleblower suits, it’s treble damages. It was a $32 million contract (for Armstrong’s U.S. Postal team). That’s $96 million of exposure. So I think (the government) is definitely coming in. There’s no reason why they wouldn’t.”

    The Sunday Times of London is also suing Armstrong for $1.5 million. Armstrong brought a libel action against the British newspaper after it published claims from “LA Confidential,” a book by journalists David Walsh and Pierre Ballester that claimed Armstrong used banned drugs. The newspaper paid Armstrong $500,000 to settle the case – and now it wants that settlement, and its legal fees and other costs, returned.

  51. Ed Holms says

    doesn’t “deserve”? seriously? *facepalm*

    is that because his tournament winning are not ok since it’s not like everybody else was taking drugs?
    or is that because he didn’t do his job for advertising whatever product companies paid him to advertise?

    does that fact that *you* don’t have millions of dollars matter in that conclusion of yours?

  52. nooneinparticular says

    As a fan of cycling and former racer myself, Lance’s downfall is sad. And it is true that pro cycling was for a couple of decades riddled with doping. The sport has always had “dopers” – the great British Cyclist Tom Simpson died on a climb up Mount Ventoux during the 1967 TdF suffering from the effects of alcohol, amphetamines and caffeine, but it wasn’t until the 1980s and into the mid Oughts that pharmaceuticals got the better of the sport.I haven’t much to say about the cyclist hate here (like the football hate in the another thread) except to say Armstrong, and cycling, pissed their own bed, so even though I am a life long fan of the sport and I will continue to follow it, I have little sympathy for Armstrong.

    But here is something I want to throw out there. Armstrong was stripped of his seven TdF finishes but there there will be no 1st place on record. It will be vacated. However, if they had bumped up the top finishers to establish a new podium list who would remain that did not dope during the same period? Worth a look.

    Here are the 2nd, 3rd and 4th place finishers on the Tour de Frances that Armstrong won who would now 1st 2nd and 3rd place finishers “of record” (except 2005 in which Ullrich was stripped of his 3rd place finish, so fifth place Vinokourov would get 3rd).

    1999 Alex Zulle, Fernando Escartin, Laurant Defaux
    2000 Jan Ullrich, Joseba Beloki, Christophe Moreau
    2001 Jan Ullrich, Joseba Beloki, Andre Kivilev (RIP)
    2002 Joseba Beloki, Raimondos Rumsas, Santiago Botero
    2003 Jan Ullrich, Alexander Vinokourov, Tyler Hamilton
    2004 Andreas Kloden, Ivan Basso, Jan Ullrich
    2005 Ivan Basso, Jan Ullrich, Francisco Mancebo, Alexander Vinokourov

    Of the 14 other riders on the podium during the Armstrong years only Fernando Escartin and Laurant Defaux have not been caught, suspended or banned for doping (Kloden was accused in 2009 for a blood transfusion during the 2006 Tour but AFAIK this allegation has not resulted in any suspensions or bans).

  53. doubtthat says

    @49

    And I am sure that lives have been saved by the Salvation Army. Still, I would rather not have all the baggage that comes with the help. That being anti-gay activities of the SA and the PR of Livestrong/Armstrong. There are other, better charities.

    I won’t argue with you on that count. I’ve never given money to Livestrong. My point isn’t that it’s the greatest charity in the world, just that the good Armstrong has managed to do through that foundation vastly exceeds the crime of putting substances in his body that will be common medicine in a few decades to be better at bike racing.

  54. doubtthat says

    @57 andrewbrown not the one from the grauniad

    There have been several deaths of young apparently healthy cyclists linked to EPO use. It’s certainly not without significant immediate risk and we don’t have much idea what the long term consequences for the stuff is.

    The link just has a bunch of people speculating on the cause of death. When Lyle Alzado died, there was a lot of talk about steroids causing brain tumors. It just isn’t true.

    Obviously a great deal more study needs to be done, but the only rational basis for outlawing PEDs is that it forces people to take them to remain competitive. The same, however, is true with maintaining a good diet, lifting weights, and training correctly. It is wrong to force people to put deadly substances in their body to compete, ergo they should be illegal.

    If, however, they aren’t deadly, if taken properly, why outlaw them? Armstrong’s case should be evidence that these substances need to be studied, not that we should build more Alzedo-style horror stories or tales or roid rage or other nonsense to maintain a stigma.

  55. Rev. BigDumbChimp says

    nooneinparticular

    Again, the fact he cheated is of little consequence to me because of the rampant cheating in the sport. It’s what he did defending himself that gets me.

    Now, there are some implications to his cheating and suing for money he says he was owed as well as receiving money for winning. He’s going to have to answer for a lot that.

    So yes he doesn’t deserve at least some of those millions.

  56. doubtthat says

    @Rev. BigDumbChimp

    I agree with you that the slander cases reveal illegal behavior. Those will be handled. He will give the money back and, at a minimum, pay the other side’s attorney fees. The result will be just.

  57. nooneinparticular says

    Moggie

    It IS depressing sometimes to see the state of women’s cycling. At every race I’ve been to the women’s field is far, far smaller than the mens (I know you were refering to something else in Cooke’s article).

    I have been a long time fan of Jeannie Longo, the great French cyclist who won her country’s individual time trial championship in 2009 at the age of 51! She is an amazing athlete.

  58. robro says

    Lance who? Oh, there’s a professional athlete doing performance drugs so he can make millions of dollars? Uh, yeah sure? This is news? And now he’s confessing so…he…can…make…more money!? Oh, yeah. Do we know how much the O network paid him to come clean on air? And then there’s getting the ban removed. If that happens, he’ll be free to make even more money. If nothing else, he’ll probably make tons of money doing talks about how to stop drug abuse in professional sports.

  59. grumpyoldfart says

    I’ll bet the cheat has transferred all of his cash and assets to family members so that when he is ordered to make restitution he will be able to plead poverty and pay nothing.

    I’d be interested to hear just how much money he was able to skim from his livestrong charity. I wouldn’t be surprised if the books show all sorts of loans and bonus payments going into his pocket on top of his normal salary – and I’ll bet all loans have been forgiven.

  60. DLC says

    So my question for Armstrong is: why come clean about it all now ? You lied, sued your accusers, tried to shame-silence people, got people kicked off your team and otherwise made a complete asshole of yourself. But you could have retired to obscurity and lived comfortably off the money.
    You just couldn’t stand not seeing your name in the papers, could you, Lance?
    One last big splash.

  61. says

    Lives he’s destroyed? That’s pretty ridiculous. How exactly is the regime that requires athletes to deny doing perfectly legal things – let alone perfectly reasonable things – his fault? And that’s not even counting the dangerous or illegal things.

    It’s like lumping in marijuana and caffeine with heroine. It does no one any good.

  62. naturalcynic says

    One thing that is not surprising about Armstrong is the willingness to risk ones self to attain the highest levels of success. Attitudes of current elite athletes have shown their willingness to sacrifice their unknown futures for current success by taking substances and enduring injuries to stay at the top of the game. Only recently have football players raised serious concerns about repeated concussions leading to early dementias. Players have known for a long time the risks of joint injuries and arthritic debilitation, yet many of them continue to play after repeated knee surgeries.
    Armstrong is relatively low on this scale of risk/reward compared with some other sports. One thing that separates elite athletes from just about everyone else is their much greater willingness to face risky situations. 35K years ago, they would be the ones that were willing to go after smilidons and dire wolves. Glory has always had its rewards and single minded pursuit of it is the subject of many stories of those who triumphed and those who ruined themselves. An important part of the human condition.
    Armstrong’s behavior simply amplifies our condemnation and loathing of his legal troubles. Yet, for me, it doesn’t do much to diminish my memories of him getting up after being knocked down by a spectator on a Pyrenees climb and crushing the competition or avoiding a crash on a hairpin descent in the Alps by going cyclo cross in order to maintain his yellow jersey.

  63. naturalcynic says

    DLC:

    So my question for Armstrong is: why come clean about it all now ? You lied, sued your accusers, tried to shame-silence people, got people kicked off your team and otherwise made a complete asshole of yourself. But you could have retired to obscurity and lived comfortably off the money.
    You just couldn’t stand not seeing your name in the papers, could you, Lance?
    One last big splash.

    I think that it would be impossible for him to fade away after he was caught. Losing his seven wins in Le Tour would keep him in the public eye for years and his legal problems will fill gossip columns. He might be able to quietly settle a few of them, but he knows he has fouled his bed and the stink will be remembered no matter how well he tries to hide.

  64. Rev. BigDumbChimp says

    Lives he’s destroyed? That’s pretty ridiculous. How exactly is the regime that requires athletes to deny doing perfectly legal things – let alone perfectly reasonable things – his fault? And that’s not even counting the dangerous or illegal things.

    It’s like lumping in marijuana and caffeine with heroine. It does no one any good.

    You are astonishingly good at missing the point.

  65. says

    Armstrong wouldn’t do very well here. His responses to women who’ve refused to lie for him have included calling them “a prostitute and an alcoholic,” a “crazy bitch,” and a “psycho.”

    (I find his whole manner of speaking smug. People who gratuitously start so many sentences with “Look,…” and “Listen,…” sound like bullies to me.)

  66. Pteryxx says

    I’m… not exactly sure where to post this, but…
    here
    … fuck…

    general note: all the trigger warnings for sexual abuse.

  67. jaybee says

    nooneinparticular @68 said:

    I have been a long time fan of Jeannie Longo, the great French cyclist who won her country’s individual time trial championship in 2009 at the age of 51! She is an amazing athlete.

    Except she has lived under a cloud of doping suspicion for a long long time as well. How can a 51 year old be winning time trials at world competitions for three decades? It only got worse when the police raided her house and found EPO in her fridge. Her husband claimed it was his, that he takes it … despite not being a competitive athlete.

  68. says

    general note: all the trigger warnings for sexual abuse.

    And this, from the article:

    “What kind of sick, depraved bitch would even think of doing this to her own child?”

    Is there some kind of law that for any article about a woman doing bad things on the internet, the chance of a sexist-misogynistic slur in the piece itself or the comments…?

  69. Holms says

    …is professional cycling roughly equivalent to professional wrestling on the hokum scale?

    In terms of competition: no, it’s still a contest with an unscripted winner, the people involved are actually striving against one another.
    In terms of honesty: far far less than wrestling, who have openly had scripted wins and other events since the 80′s at least.

  70. casecob says

    Janine,

    In your response to my comment, I feel as though you’ve set up a bit of a false dichotomy (not trying to be provocative, and correct me if I’m wrong). That is, when you say, “I would rather that Livestrong would raise money for cancer research instead of PR,” you’ve made it sound as though it is either/or. While they do spend for a fair bit on PR (and I get what the article you link to is saying; Lance benefits both directly and indirectly from the positive PR his charity gets), this does not preclude them from investing in research.

    Instead, it appears that in 2005 they decided to allocate their funds towards helping people with social support functions instead of research, which is a different priority entirely. That’s a big deal, too, and it definitely still counts as helping people. As a researcher myself, I would love additional funding coming in for R&D (it pays my bills!). But 80.1% of their annual expense is program-related. There are MANY charities that don’t score as well (some that fund research. Look at the American Cancer Society’s financials! http://www.charitynavigator.org/index.cfm?bay=search.summary&orgid=6495). Livestrong looks pretty damn efficient by comparison. Larger organizations should economize to scale (though, having spent a very little bit of time working at 501(c)(3), I know that’s not true, either).

    Anyway, I know there’s not much that could spare the charity from additional malignment, but c’est la vie. I just don’t think the charity is that bad, all things considered. They’re affiliated with a douchebag, which is a shame. But if you would prefer research over social support, that’s your prerogative, and a different problem altogether. I just hope that you realize there’s utility to social support and relief organizations (e.g. reasons to support Planned Parenthood, Doctors without Borders, Direct Relief International). And all things considered, if you don’t think social support is a bad objective, Livestrong is not doing too badly as a charitable organization.

  71. nohellbelowus says

    That prick deserves a Godwin:

    If Lance Armstrong had been sitting in a Landsberg Prison cell in 1924, he would have been Führer und Reichskanzler Armstrong in 1939.

    IMO the most telling thing he’s said thus far is, and I’m paraphrasing, is “My own cocktail was EPO… NOT A LOT… along with testosterone and blood transfusions. That’s it.”

    See? Other riders were using a LOT MORE EPO, and other much more nefarious substances, than Lance. Therefore he is still the best cyclist in the world. All those other riders are serious dope-heads. Lance only used the minimum amount he needed to win. Like a real American hero would.

    There is talk now that he also lied to Winfrey about not doping in the 2009 Tour, because of the statute of limitations problems he still has with that particular faux pas. Armstrong isn’t “coming clean”… he’s just setting the stage for his next act.

    Prediction: Armstrong will hold political office (of some type) in Texas, within 10 years.

  72. says

    One of my roommates is so disappointed in all this. She was/is a huge Lance Armstrong fan. All these years of accusations, she sided with Armstrong. Even in the face of his admissions, she refuses to believe all the accusations. She does accept that he did some bad things (her words, not mine), but she cannot seem to accept what an asshole he is.
    Why do we elevate other humans to such legendary status that it is hard to imagine them doing wrong?

  73. boadinum says

    Armstrong has been booted from his own foundation. His sponsors will sue him for millions. His former team mates despise him. Nobody was surprised with what he admitted to Oprah. Still, to finally come clean like that took ball.

  74. left0ver1under says

    John Kruger (#1)

    By many accounts almost all professional sports is rife with performance enhancing drugs and drug programs designed to let people get away with using them.

    The USOC has a loooooong history of covering up positive tests many high profile athletes. Some of the biggest names, including (arguably) the biggest name in US track history have tested positive at least once. At “high levels of competition”, high levels of drug use are the norm. It would be harder to find someone who doesn’t cheat than someone who does. Drug testing only catches the stupid and the careless.

    At the Dubin Inquiry back in 1989 (1990?) one Canadian athlete said “You deny, deny, deny” any accusations and positive tests, no matter what the evidence. The person will deny until there’s no one left who believes, which is exactly where Armstrong is now.

  75. nohellbelowus says

    Can we *please* not use gendered insults?

    Sure. Here you go:

    That purrick deserves a Godwin.

  76. mnb0 says

    ” it wasn’t until the 1980s and into the mid Oughts that pharmaceuticals got the better of the sport”
    Really? Dope stories go back to Jacques Anquetil. I think it’s safe to assume that Merckx and Hinault used it as well. The greatest Dutch cyclist ever, Joop Zoetemelk, was caught twice. I think you’d better say that it wasn’t until the 1980′s that doping control became more or less effective.
    Armstrong never has been my hero – Pantani was, a recognized user – but I refuse to condemn now as well. The system is and always has been rotten; it’s not a problem of individuals. And I don’t see how we are going to change it. I find it a huge pity, because I always enjoyed immensely the rides through the Alps. Even with dope I cannot help admiring the achievements, as I realize how incredibly hard the tasks of the cyclists are.

  77. boadinum says

    It wasn’t a typo, so guilty as charged. While Armstrong should be admired for his efforts in cancer awareness and prevention, he has now admitted to his long history of taking substances which may cause cancer.

  78. mcallahan says

    I started bike racing about 40 years ago. Mostly I was pack fill but I did have a few moments. Most commentators and PZ too are outsiders to cycling and couldn’t name another rider beyond Armstrong. To say cycling is like pro wrestling says you are like most other Americans. You don’t know much and have little credibility. I understand this because It was only thirty years ago the NYT said they would not cover cycling because they didn’t consider it a sport. Cycling has done more for controlling doping than any other sport. American sports like football, basketball, baseball and even golf do very little if nothing to control doping. Tiger Woods is now an also ran since golf started doing some testing. McGuire, Sosa, Bonds set records doping and they didn’t lose their career. Doping has made baseball and all the recent records a joke. First offense in cycling comes with a 2 year ban which is enough to end a career. It’s because winning is so precious in cycling that doping is considered so seriously. In baseball, 50 percent of the competitors win on any day but in a TdF field of 198 riders only about 0.5 percent can win. It’s pretty hard to understand what is going on in a bike race unless you have been in a peloton yourself. You are forgiven PZ because most Americans and even most Lance fans don’t know squat about cycling. The only time it makes the news is when another American is caught doping. Cycling is not completely clean yet but relative to other sports it is far ahead of the field. I would much rather my kid take up cycling than any other sport BECAUSE of doping controls.

  79. sambarge says

    The only thing that surprises/interests me about the Lance Armstrong story is how invested some people were in believing that he didn’t dope. I don’t mean they just believed him when he said he didn’t; I mean they attacked anyone who suggested that he did.

    Being a simpleton, I thought it would be okay to express the opinion that it was unlikely Armstrong won against doping riders if he wasn’t doping himself once on a message board. This was a few years ago, when Armstrong was still insisting he was innocent and destroying the lives of anyone who knew otherwise. I’ve had religious fundamentalists take criticsim of their faith better than the Armstrong fans on that board took criticism of their idol. I was not only wrong or misguided in my opinion; I was a worthless piece of shit who was just jealous of Armstrong’s superior humanity. (?!)

  80. robster says

    As a professional liar, perhaps there’s a vacancy for Mr Armstrong with one of our “leading” religious organizations. He’s got all they need, a big pile of ill gotten cash, the ability to look at others in the eye while lying through his teeth. What he’s done is really no worse than what religious clerics do every day while claiming tax-free status. That is telling the belivers that snakes talk, the baby jesus was magic, the flood really happened and any other assortment of silly nonsense. “Father” Lance has a nice smell of evil about it. He could wear some of those blingy robes in lycra and kill two birds at once.

  81. John Morales says

    [meta]

    Be aware that the doping means an athlete can work harder for longer, nothing more.

    (It still takes heaps of hard work and dedication to achieve, and in many sports* it takes skill, too)

    * Dunno about cycling specifically, but in tennis (for example) doping will do nothing much for you unless you also have the skills.

  82. chrislawson says

    doubtthat@throughout: there are 4 problems with your arguments.

    1. Livestrong is not the only cancer charity out there, so the people helped by it may well have had the exact same help from another charity had they approached them. (And it also raises the question of why Lance Armstrong felt he needed his own cancer charity instead of, say, contacting an existing cancer charity and allowing them to use his story/image…oh, I know, because he is a narcissist).

    2. Linford Christie was taking performance enhancing drugs at the same time he was actively campaigning against them. Jumping to someone much worse (lest readers think I’m comparing Armstrong to him), Al Capone gave generously to charities. In fact, there a recurrent pattern of criminals, liars, and cheats getting involved in charity. The reason, as far as I can tell, is that it provides them with a bit of shielding from their criminal activities — they can get perfectly nice people like yourself to defend them on the basis of “they helped this person over here, see…”

    3. Performance-enhancing drugs do cause health problems. EPO is about the least dangerous of doping agents, but even it has serious complications. To quote the World Doping Agency: “While proper use of EPO has an enormous therapeutic benefit in the treatment of anaemia related to kidney disease, its misuse can lead to serious health risks for athletes who use this substance simply to gain a competitive edge. It is well known that EPO, by thickening the blood, leads to an increased risk of several deadly diseases, such as heart disease, stroke, and cerebral or pulmonary embolism. The misuse of recombinant human EPO may also lead to autoimmune diseases with serious health consequences.”

    4. Regardless of Armstrong’s bullying-by-lawsuit of people he knew were telling the truth, he still caused harm just by doping. It’s true that most top-level cyclists have doped, it’s also true that a large cohort of great athletes don’t dope and as a result don’t even get to be in the elite group. There is a large group of athletes who don’t want to cheat and don’t want to take drugs that will cause them health problems just to play at the highest level. You haven’t heard of these people because they don’t end up on the podium, don’t get the big prize money, don’t get massive sponsorships, don’t get put on posters/TV promos, and don’t get invited onto Oprah. So, yes, Armstrong and the others like him do cause harm to those who choose not to cheat.

    Other than that I agree with you :-)

  83. Nick Gotts (formerly KG) says

    Most commentators and PZ too are outsiders to cycling and couldn’t name another rider beyond Armstrong. – mcallahan

    Well the British ones, even those like me with zero interest in spectator sport, will know of Bradley Wiggins – now, indeed, Sir Bradley Wiggins. Probably French commenters and lurkers will also know him, as winner of the 2012 Tour de France (followed by an Olympic cycling gold). But then, is it even remotely plausible that someone with such a splendid handle as “Bradley Wiggins”, should cheat?

  84. doubtthat says

    @100 chrislawson

    1. So what? There can be more than one charity in the world. Regardless of whether Livestrong is the best (although as another poster pointed out, a lot of the criticisms in this thread are spurious), it still makes a real, beneficial difference in people’s lives. This good outweighs the ills of taking substances to ride a bike faster.

    2. This is why I began with Joe Paterno. There are some crimes for which even a lifetime of good (which is being generous to a grumpy old football coach) cannot overcome. My very first post touched on this point, so while you may disagree with my application of the principle to Armstrong, no progress is made by reiterating the point as though I hadn’t considered it.

    3. Once again, I don’t know how to be more clear on this point. Aspirin can be deadly if taken incorrectly. Just about every drug that has a therapeutic benefit can be very dangerous. The problem with HGH and steroids and EPO is that because they’re banned and illegal in a lot of countries, it’s difficult to asses if there is a way to take advantage of the good while controlling the bad. You cannot abuse those drugs any more drastically than Armstrong, Bonds, McGuire and countless others have done. They also had millions of dollars to throw at controlling side effects, unlike desperate WWC wrestlers. Those drugs are fucking incredible in terms of their effect, and if (notice that word, please) the side effects can be controlled, I don’t see what the problem is. The current studies have simply shown that the stuff is dangerous if abused.

    4. Again, he’s an asshole. He’s a cheater. Regardless of whether or not the rules of a game are perfectly rational, they’re still the rules and anyone who circumvents them is a cheater.

    For every cyclist he “destroyed,” there’s another one that made a lot of money racing on his team. Not being able to be a professional bike racer and win tournaments is not the same as being destroyed. It’s a mild form of harm, one that was known to everyone, and in this world, it’s a tragedy that just can’t get me worked up.

  85. chrislawson says

    doubtthat: “It’s a mild form of harm, one that was known to everyone, and in this world, it’s a tragedy that just can’t get me worked up.”

    So you can’t get worked up about Armstrong cheating, tying up courts with vexatious lawsuits, destroying the careers of other cyclists and businesses, and being an active part of an environment that more or less forces athletes to take potentially health-harming drugs to compete at the highest level…and yet you can get worked up enough about people criticising Armstrong to post hundreds of words against them. What’s with that?

  86. bradleybetts says

    I particularly liked his audacity in giving a definition of cheating (something like “gaining an unfair advantage over your competitors”) and then caiming he didn’t cheat under that definition. I think what he was trying to get at was “Everyone else was doing it too, so it wasn’t an advantage it was just a level playing field”, which is the most bullshit excuse on the planet.

  87. doubtthat says

    @103

    Oh please. Posting hundreds of words is considered action? Did you feel at all ridiculous typing that, as though the ten cumulative minutes I’ve spent typing up various posts on this thread somehow constitute a dedicated campaign of some sort? Maybe I’ll join the Flying Keyboard Commandos.

    Armstrong mostly fucked people out of money. Those people will be getting their money back, and Armstrong isn’t tying up the court system. Most of what he does will be taking place outside of the courtroom, I doubt there will be more than a couple of scheduling hearings on any of these issues and the rest will be settled.

    If Armstrong’s worst crime is that he entered a sport already plagued by doping, had success, and thereby forced tens to twelves of elite cyclers to take drugs they otherwise wouldn’t, then no, I can’t get worked up about it.

  88. Matt Penfold says

    If Armstrong’s worst crime is that he entered a sport already plagued by doping, had success, and thereby forced tens to twelves of elite cyclers to take drugs they otherwise wouldn’t, then no, I can’t get worked up about it.

    I see you do not care about those he bullied. People such as Emma O’Reilly who spoke the truth about Armstrong’s use of drugs, and as a result was hounded by him. At one point he thought it appropriate to call her a whore.

    If you do not care about such behaviour, then there is something seriously wrong you.

  89. Rev. BigDumbChimp says

    For every cyclist he “destroyed,” there’s another one that made a lot of money racing on his team. Not being able to be a professional bike racer and win tournaments is not the same as being destroyed. It’s a mild form of harm, one that was known to everyone, and in this world, it’s a tragedy that just can’t get me worked up.

    If you’re only concerned with cyclists you might have a point (though the one for one trade off you describe is hardly a good argument), but the damage extends far outside the actual riders.

  90. Beatrice says

    For every cyclist he “destroyed,” there’s another one that made a lot of money racing on his team.

    What the hell?

    If you get cheated out of a job just because the interviewer thinks you”re ugly, you have nothing to complain about because someone else got the job so the end result is a person not being unemployed anymore – yay! You should be cool with that.

    You are working hard selling cars. Some asshole with a grudge tells everyone that your salon cheats, and people start going to the salon across the street. You should be totally cool with that since somebody made good money in the end.

    Maybe not the best analogies, but I hope you realize how ridiculous your argument is.

    Not being able to be a professional bike racer and win tournaments is not the same as being destroyed.

    If you sacrificed and trained for that, if being a professional bike racer was meant to be your carrier, then yes, your life is going to get pretty screwed up. Not necessarily destroyed, but that depends on the individual.

  91. doubtthat says

    Alright, this is getting silly. I’m not disagreeing that he’s an asshole and a liar and a cheater and a total bastard on a number of levels. That story about the masseuse has been linked to about a dozen times on this thread. It sucks to be her, although I will point out that she chose to do this:

    And so, she said, she once travelled from France to Spain and back to pick up illegal pills for Armstrong and delivered them to him in a McDonald’s parking lot outside Nice.

    She was a drug runner and an eager participant in the doping ring, then she turned on Lance. Lance called her a bitch, no one listened to Lance because everyone with more guile than Rick Reilly has known he was a liar and a cheater for a couple of decades.

    She reached a legal settlement with Armstrong. Now she will reach a new one, and I bet will financially come out ahead. If this is the worst of Armstrong’s crimes, consider me unmoved. Assholes being assholes to assholes.

    @109 Beatrice

    You’ve just shifted the scope. For any individual rider who couldn’t compete because they were clean, they were screwed over by the system. That sucks. For people willing to play by Armstrong’s rules, they made it farther than they could ever dream of. This is all taking place in the population of a couple of dozen elite riders. We’re evaluating Armstrong and considering the “damage” he did. You can’t take a statement about the opportunities he has created and destroyed and only discuss the destroyed part. He made the entire sport 1000x more popular in the wealthiest country in the world for more than a decade. There are more racers who profited from his work than were hurt by it.

    Plus, I would like someone to find me a believable number of racers who turned to doping because of Armstrong. That is to say, folks that wouldn’t have gone that way, anyhow. I find it fairly convenient that all these folks will say that all they wanted to do was race clean, but mean old Lance ruined everything.

    I don’t believe any of them. I’ve seen enough Raphael Palmieros shaking their finger at me in Congress and telling me what great integrity they have.

  92. Rev. BigDumbChimp says

    And so, she said, she once travelled from France to Spain and back to pick up illegal pills for Armstrong and delivered them to him in a McDonald’s parking lot outside Nice.

    Which of course excuses lance for branding her an alcoholic and prostitute and for throwing his extremely out of proportion financial weight into a lawsuit against her when she was telling the truth.

    There are real actual damages here. Not just Cyclists being unable to ride with him or where they want.

    I have no idea why you are invested in blowing off these very real facts.

  93. doubtthat says

    Spurious reply. Who said it “excuses” anything? It just means that we aren’t dealing with pure parties. How did this masseuse choose to tell her tale? Alert the authorities? Make a report to a doping agency? Nope, collaborated on a book she hoped to make some money from.

    Again, he’s an asshole. He shouldn’t have said those things. She lost some money that she will likely get back two-fold, and she was slandered in the press by a person no one believed. It’s like Donald Trump calling you a “loser” on Twitter.

    She has been totally vindicated. I’m not staying up late worrying about a doping-enabler who decided to use her inside knowledge to make a buck, and then a fellow asshole went after her.