Friday, August 24, 2012

Lancing the Boil

As a parent you sometimes have difficult decisions to make in respect of your children.
One of these concerns the myth of  'Father Christmas' or 'Santa Claus' as he is known in the United States.
For the early years of our children's lives we lie to them, telling them that a big fat man, dressed in red, is going to arrive during the hours of darkness and leave them some presents.
We often reinforce this by advising them to leave out milk for the reindeer and cookies for our rotund invention.
As they gleefully open their presents the next day we whisper 'Did you hear the reindeer bells in the night?'


The joy in their faces is priceless.
Sadly as children get older we know that a time will come when they will find out the truth.
A dilemma evolves.
Do you tell them yourself knowing that you can explain everything? or do you let them work it out themselves to prolong the magical moments that come with this falsehood?

Either way, when they do find out they will realise that you have lied to them.
The age of innocence is over
From thereon in, Christmas changes and is never the same again

For Years Lance Armstrong was my Santa Claus.
He provided me with regular gifts of inspiration - not only in December but throughout the year.
The inspiration never came from his winning the Tour de France seven times, but from his courage in fighting and beating Cancer.
From the inspiration and strength he has provided to cancer sufferers for over a generation.
And yeah drugs or no drugs he was a fantastic cyclist and a consummate athlete.

I had already worked out sometime ago that maybe he didn't drive a sleigh, but it made his gifts no less valuable.

The USADA has now formally told the world that Lance Armstrong is a cheat.
That he is no longer my Santa Claus.
I am not happy

Maybe they are right, but what have they actually achieved?
Where does that leave them now?
Where does that leave the principals of Justice?
Where does that leave cycling ?

It is commonly known that for over the last decade professional cycling has been plagued with the misuse of performance handling drugs.
During that period it is impossible to say who won clean and who won dirty.
Some cyclists were caught, and we  know with total certainty that some were not.
We  knew all these things way before the USADA Investigation.

During that time Lance was suspected of doping he was singled out for testing time and time again.
Each time he passed.
He often quotes that he had never failed a drugs test and I am certain that what he said was factually correct.
Does not mean he didn't take drugs? No
It means what he says 'He never failed a drugs test.
It could also mean had he was able to employ the best chemist, and doctors to mask the tests.

I don't really want to get into the debate about whether he did or didn't, in an environment where there was no even playing field.
I question  the relevance today and the proportionality of the actions taken by the USADA.

Armstrong retired in 2005!!!

Since that time cycling has totally cleaned up its act.
It is now a booming sport both with viewing and participation.

If the USADA wanted to be fair whilst conducting  historical investigations they should investigate all US cyclists or none at all.
They state they have some key witnesses who were willing to testify against Lance but wished to keep them anonymous for fear of intimidation by Armstrong. Do they think we are that stupid!!!!!

It does not take a genius to work out who the witnesses are and I am sure Lance sees, or speaks to them regularly.
What are the USADA doing about their possible involvement?

Lets think this one through...............(hypothetically of course)

Maybe you had been involved in taking performance enhancing drugs in the past and had ridden for a prominent team.
Maybe you  had not yet retired.
Your reputation is still intact and you are earning a good living.
In the past you had seen other cyclists, often friends whose lives had been reduced to tatters through doping exposure, they had become humiliated and some turned into national figures of hate.

Along come the USADA who just might have some evidence that could cause you a few problems.
It may not convict you but could certainly be that sticky sort of mud.
Instead of going after you they induce you.
They say if you testify against your friend they wont go after you.
You are then scared, cornered and trapped.

Maybe they also tell you that they have seen your old mate  who has already agreed to Testify.
You could end up feeling that you have no choice.
Times that scenario by 12 and the pressure is really on Lance.

What hypocrisy
The USADA favours some, but not others, targets some not others.
Offers inducements - Aren't they a body that are meant to deter cheats?

What about the cycling and UCI?

If Lance is stripped of the Tour de France Titles who do they go to?
With most of the prominent riders of that era already exposed who can be sure that the title does not go from one suspected doper to another.
If awarded the title, should any new recipient undergo the same scrutiny as Lance?
If not, why not?

The USADA may have thought themselves as being responsible by telling the world that Santa Claus no longer exists.....but maybe some of us didn't want to know


3 comments:

jeff said...

I agree! I don't think they accomplished anything other than giving the sport a black eye. I don't condone cheating, but regardless of how they did it, What Lance did, what Floyd did, and many others, were amazing feats that I had the joy of watching.

sensisuperstar said...

Very well said, I really couldn't agree more, Kangaroo Courts have no place in a democratic society.

Trevor said...

You have echoed my own thoughts here exactly Philip....
The Santa tale of Lance Armstrong's battle and recovery back from cancer gave me huge personal hope and strength after being diagnosed with cancer myself.