Like many people, I used to really respect Lance Armstrong. A philanthropist and survivor who beat cancer to win several Tours de France: what wasn’t to respect. But now, after being stripped of all of his titles, being banned from cycling, and stepping down from his own charity because of a doping scandal, things changed. And it wasn’t pretty. Armstrong denied all charges in spite of the stories emerging about his clout in the cycling world — his power to keep people silent about what apparently was widely known in the cycling world.
Now, however, stories are emerging about how Armstrong wants to come clean, wants to make amends to the Federation, and would like to be reinstated. Whether his confession happens, and is real if it does, it seems like his only motivation is to return to cycling. And, if his ego is as large as many think (myself included) , I can’t imagine him not at least trying to return to his old ways. And, since it certainly doesn’t seem like the Federation has cleaned itself up and figured out a way to really control doping, especially at methods change so quickly, Armstrong’s return would seem like a bad idea.
Athletes, regardless of their intentions, end up as role models to future generations, and considering the lengths Armstrong went to to conceal any wrongdoings while racing, what would keep him from returning to these ways? And, what’s to keep the Federation from, knowingly or unknowingly, allowing him to do so? Last I looked at cycling, especially at the level of the Tour de France, it’s not a sport that can be mastered in a vacuum…which seems perhaps like the only way to shield racers from the influence of others, like the trainers and doctors who’d drug them, as well as from powerful personalities like Armstrong.