The Feds have dropped their case against Lance Armstrong and no charges are to be filed. Talk about mixed feelings; should I laugh or cry, feel angry, be happy, or do I really give a shit one way or the other? I just don’t know.
I’m sure I am not the only one feeling this way, because the whole issue is now left unresolved; we will never know for sure one way or the other. The problem is that doping in sport is not really a crime, or it is a crime without a victim. Unless you take into account that it teaches young people that it is okay to cheat.
And should the American government even be wasting the tax-payer’s money pursuing a case that involves a sport in another country?
Professional sport is entertainment, and the greater the athletic feat the greater the entertainment. Whether it is Barry Bonds knocking baseballs over the stands, or Lance Armstrong annihilating the completion and winning the Tour de France 7 times in a row.
It was exciting and it entertained us at the time. Except that now I suspect that LA just had better dope than everyone else, and it leaves the whole thing tainted.
There was a time when I gave LA the benefit of the doubt, and I felt that Floyd Landis was wrong to first deny doping, even made money from a book in which he denied doping, then did a complete 360 degree and said yes he doped, but then so did everyone else on the team including LA.
Now I see where Landis is coming from. He rode for Lance Armstrong, he took dope and he saw LA not only take dope, but getting away with taking dope. Then when LA retires and he wins the TDF by taking dope, he is caught and immediately stripped of the win and banned for two years.
Landis had seen LA deny taking dope and getting away with it, it is only natural that he believed if he denied it long enough he too would, in the end, be believed. When this didn’t happen Floyd Landis decided he had nothing to lose if he came clean and exposed the whole rotten system.
Why do I now believe Landis? Because the system is rotten. I see Alberto Contador testing positive for Clembuterol after his 2010 TDF win, but unlike Landis he was not stripped of the win, and here we are almost two years later and that case has still not been resolved.
I'm preparing for another huge let down if and when the AC case is ever finalized. There is clearly one rule for the rich and famous, and another rule for the rest. (Update on the AC case below.)
Tyler Hamilton too, admitted doping and said he witnessed Armstrong doping. I am inclined to believe him; what motivation would there be for him to lie.
There will be plenty of Lance Armstrong fans who will be happy the Feds have dropped this case; after all Lance fights cancer. But does he? After reading this article just last month, I am not so sure about that either. Very little of the money raised by Livestrong goes to actual cancer research to find a cure.
Instead the money goes to raising cancer awareness, and of course while doing that it raises Lance Armstrong awareness.
I’d be interested to hear how others are feeling about the dropping of this case.
Update Monday 6th February.
Since writing this over the weekend, a verdict has come down in the Alberto Contador clembuterol case. He has been given a two year ban handed down by the CAS (Court of Arbitration.)
He has been stripped of his 2010 Tour de France win, and his 2011 Giro d’Italia win also. As I understand it the ban is backdated to January of last year and a further 5 months has been taken off that because Contador was already banned for a period of 5 months during the winter of 2010 albeit when he would not have raced anyway. He will be eligible to begin racing again in August of this year.
In my view it would have been far better (And fairer.) had he been stripped of his 2010 TDF win and banned for 2 years at the time, as Floyd Landis was, instead I dragging the case out for this ridiculous length of time.
There are no winners in the case, unless you count the lawyers involved. I appears there has been some measure of justice that will also act as a deterrent to other would be dopers.
Now it would be nice to see a full investigation into Lance Armstrong’s 7 TDF wins, and if it is proved that he did dope, that he at least be stripped of those titles.
Links to stories on the AC verdict.