Lance Armstrong’s prolific career overshadowed by accusations
Published: Wednesday, August 29, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, August 29, 2012 15:08
In 1999, a young cyclist rose to fame after beating the slim odds of cancer survival and winning his first Tour de France title. Today, that same cyclist rises again, but this time, for a whole new reason.
The year was 1996, and a young Lance Armstrong, age 25, was diagnosed with advanced testicular cancer, which had eventually made its way to his lungs and brain. With little chance of survival, this determined young man set out to defy the odds that no one had ever imagined of achieving. In 1997, Armstrong formed a nonprofit cancer support foundation called the Lance Armstrong Foundation. Two years later, he would go on to win his first Tour de France title and continue to win them for the next six years.
In recent days, Lance Armstrong has made the news again. This time, however, it is not because he won another Tour de France title to accompany his seven other wins. The United States Anti-Doping Agency has charged Armstrong with using banned substances and prohibited blood transfusions to gain a competitive edge. Because of these allegations, which Armstrong has refused to fight, the cyclist has been stripped of all wins from August 1, 1998, to today (which include his seven Tour de France titles). Armstrong has also been given a lifetime ban from the sport he became so famous for participating in.
While participating in the 2004 Olympics in Athens, Armstrong’s teammate Tyler Hamilton had tested positive for blood doping and had been suspended twice for using performance-enhancing drugs. Having been stripped of his gold medal from the Athens Olympics, Hamilton claims that Armstrong had used a blood-boosting drug while winning his first Tour de France title in 1999.
During an interview, Armstrong made the following quote: “I have been subjected to a two-year federal criminal investigation followed by Travis Tygart’s [USADA’s chief executive officer] unconstitutional witch hunt. The toll this has taken on my family and my work for our foundation and on me leads me to where I am today - finished with this nonsense.”
Over the years, Armstrong claims to have passed every drug test that has been given to him. There is even proof that would show Armstrong has been passing these tests. If this is the case, then why is the USADA still attacking the famous cyclist? If he’s been passing the tests, then why is it such an issue now, when it has been a year since he retired from the sport? Is it because there have been many other cyclists that have been testing positive for using performance-enhancing drugs? Or is it because Armstrong won the most prestigious race for a cyclist seven years in a row, a feat that one could consider almost impossible to achieve? In the end, no one may ever know the real truth.
In the past, there have been many athletes who have shined in everyone’s eye as a hero of their sport, only to be brought back down due to positive drug testing. So what do we as fans have to look forward to if this may be, in some cases, the ultimate outcome of their athletes’ shining reign?