Remember the days when you could become arm-strong just on natural ability and work ethic? Well, those times are apparently as antiquated as using elbow grease and whipping out the old Thomas Guide to find your way somewhere. (Yes, boys and girls: the iPhone is a relatively new phenomenon.) Lance Armstrong has become the latest athlete to see his legacy crushed by allegations of cheating writ large.
Last week was the culmination of eight years of accusations against the renowned cyclist, after Lance decided to avoid arbitration with the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), leading the agency to issue a lifetime ban and stripping the seven-time Tour de France winner of every accolade and title he achieved in the sport. Therefore, if this decision holds up, in the annals of official cycling history — must be a pretty short read these days — many of Armstrong’s accomplishments never happened.
Technically, Lance’s decision does not constitute an admission to the doping charges but it does yield a public indictment. Consider the fact that, if the USADA sentence holds up — to wipe out all the records in his career from the chosen date of August 1, 1998 on — pretty much the only thing that would be of note on the books is the world championship he won in 1993: a date that is significant now only to him and various members of the Funky Bunch.
While Armstrong remains steadfast that he is innocent and refuses to fight the charges, likening the ongoing investigation to the accusations of a witch trial against cycling’s most preeminent figures, sports is left with yet another figure who has been accused and suspended for running afoul of illicit supplement policy.
The Armstrong news comes on the heels of baseball’s latest doping revelations, a shock to no one except those who use the Mitchell Report to balance a rickety Lucite poker table. Melky Cabrera, who was having a career year which included All-Star Game MVP honors for the Giants, and Bartolo Colón, yet another in a long line of 0s from the ‘Big O’, were both busted for violating baseball’s policy on banned substances, an infraction as common these days as a parking ticket.