Fallen heroes. They break quite a lot of other things on their way down.
Take Lance Armstrong, for example. I loved Lance as a hero, as a winner, and as a champion who beat the cancer demon.
I thought success sat well on his shoulders. I loved how he conducted himself in interviews. I loved that he was in movies like Dodgeball.
I loved him.
It seems now that Lance’s dodging skills are actually dodgy skills. Lance, if the accusations flooding the media are true, is a cheat.
I’m crushed, and I have to ask:
Lance, how could you? Why did you?
For years I held him above other athlete for what he did on Le Tour de France, which has to be the biggest test of heart and stamina in the modern world. I respect every man competing in that race, let alone the one who wins it.
Lance then did wonderful work raising awareness and sympathy for cancer causes through the LiveStrong Foundation. The LiveStrong site describes the character of Lance beautifully:
‘…a combination of physical conditioning, a strong support system and competitive spirit took over. He declared himself not a cancer victim but a cancer survivor. He took an active role in educating himself about his disease and the treatment. Armed with knowledge and confidence in medicine, he underwent aggressive treatment and beat the disease.’
Lance was heaven sent. His appeal was in his honesty as a person, being a champion who beat cancer to go on and raise money for charities.
Now Lance is called a ‘serial cheat’ and a bully, and it’s crushing to know. It makes me lose hope in my athletes.
From now on, the only cyclist I can be sure is clean is Cadel Evans.
I love Cadel but if he turns out to be a huge cheat then I’m changing sports!