More thoughts from readers on the Armstrong controversy:
I was in Paris in 2000 and 2004 and was on the Champs Elysees both times to watch the peloton come home on the final stage and see Lance win the Tour. (Hearing the Star Spangled Banner waft up the Champs was one of the cooler moments in my life.) I thoroughly enjoyed watching Lance all those years, particularly the crazy-filled 2003 Tour. I firmly believe Lance doped through all of those Tours. I also firmly believe that most of the people he beat were doping. And I just don't care.
That was the culture of cycling (and to some extent still is). But after all these years what still stands out is that Lance Armstrong was a bad-ass cyclist. For me, that's enough. I get why he continues to deny, but in my opinion that just shows the perils of building a too-good-to-be-true persona.
I've no idea if Lance Armstrong cheated, but it's very obvious that there is an out-of-control witch hunt culture at work when it comes to doping and drugs amongst athletes.
Whether it's snowboarders getting kicked out of the Olympics for smoking pot or baseball players getting dragged before Congress and charged with purjury, this is what happens when a myth of purity meets men with too much power.
We'll look back at the battle over PEDs in sports some day and laugh, since pretty much every aspect of human performance will soon be modified by our expotentially growing understanding of biochemistry. We already use our increased scientific knowledge of the body to make old records tumble. Whether you improve on the past through a strictly manipulated diet, scientifically programmed exercise routines, shoes designed by physics PhDs, or through ingesting a tablet, it will become a line so blurred as to be meaningless.
Right now we are in a moment of bio-chemical counter-enlightenment; the backlash that comes when new knowledge pours onto the scene. Armstrong might be the Giodano Bruno of biochemistry, or he might be a totally innocent man caught in an hysterical culture. Whether or not he swallowed a pill, he's still getting sent to the stake, and we'll still shake our heads some day.
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