Why I now dislike Armstrong with a burning passion

 

NewImage by Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

Nicole Cooke retires from cycling and attacks drug cheats |
[Via Mail Online ]

Nicole Cooke announced her retirement from cycling but left the sport with a tirade every bit as powerful as the sprint that carried her to the Olympic and world road race titles in 2008.

Still only 29, Cooke said she was disillusioned by drugs scandals and despairing of the state of women’s cycling. ‘Tyler Hamilton will make more money from a book describing how he cheated than I will make in all my years of honest labour,’ said Cooke.

‘When Lance Armstrong cries on Oprah later this week and she passes him a tissue, spare a thought for all those genuine people who walked away with no rewards – just shattered dreams. Each one of them is worth a thousand Lances.’

[More]

I’ve been following cycling since I was a young adult. I followed the tour even before LeMond won. I was a big Armstrong fan and supporter.

I figured he had to be telling the truth. I figured that no one would go after his critics as hard as he did if he was lying.

I was wrong. Armstrong revealed himself to not only be a liar, a cheat and a fraud, but a thug who tried to destroy anyone telling the truth. He used his millions and his power to intimidate any who would speak truth to power.

And it worked for 15 years. Will we allow it to continue?

Anyone who suggested he was taking drugs was met with tremendous bullying tactics. He sued former teammates for libel. Hounded the wives of former teammates. People received telephone threats of physical violence.

But that was all a sham. He tried to ruin the lives of anyone who tried to tell the truth for the last 15 years. He instituted a cycling code of omertà through threats and intimidation. He ruined people’s lives all to protect himself and his millions.

‘When Lance Armstrong cries on Oprah later this week and she passes him a tissue, spare a thought for all those genuine people who walked away with no rewards – just shattered dreams. Each one of them is worth a thousand Lances.’

Remember that he bullied rivals who refused to take drugs, sometimes out of the Tour, that he personally threatened riders during the race who might reveal his doping, that he sued people for libel who stated he took drugs, that he physically assaulted those who might testify he took drugs, that he ruined the businesses or the careers of those who told the truth, that he destroyed people’s personal lives who suggested he took drugs, that he threatened the lives of loved ones of people who stated he took drugs, that anyone who suggested he might be doping would see their lives torn apart by rumor, lies and lawsuits.

He did more than just lie. He tried to destroy people who told the truth.  Armstrong did more than just lie about a personal matter. He tried to ruin people who wanted to tell the truth. He used his power and money to intimidate people into lying themselves or face the life destroying consequences of telling the truth.

Betsy Andreu suffered because she would not stand by and let Lance lie as he destroyed her husband’s career. Others did not stand by and withstood the intimidation. Some like her husband, and Emma O’Reily, and Greg LaMond, and Christophe Basson, and Stephen Swart.

These are the people we should be asking forgiveness from. These are the people we should be writing stories about. These are the people who should be on television. These are who should star in any movie, not Lance.

If Oprah cared about anything more than money and ratings, she would surprise Armstrong with one of these people whose lives he had destroyed. She would have made him face the person he went after and publicly deal with the tragedies he created. Make him physically deal with those he ruined.

Instead, he will do a mea culpa so he can compete professionally again. He may play the victim. He may play the whistleblower. So he can make more money and garner more fame.

But will he ever do anything to recompense those he has destroyed?

As Betsy Andreu said  “The people who genuinely cared about him, he just threw away. To me, he’s like Bernie Madoff. He said he was sorry, too, but should we let him trade stocks again?” She also said, “This is arguably the biggest fraud in the history of sport.” And again,  “He cheated, lied and defrauded a lot of people for a lot of years, destroyed or just made life hell for a lot of people.Anybody who crossed his path or didn’t go along with his plan, he set out to take them down. And he was very powerful and influential and did take them down.”

An apology is simply not good enough. Someone who has lived by lying will not just stop. Lying bullies should simply not ever be allowed to occupy a space where they can lie or bully again.


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