Lance Armstrong Played Jenga and Lost

You probably heard the news that Lance Armstrong has confessed in an interview with Oprah Winfrey to using performance enhancing drugs during his professional cycling career. The interview will air in two parts starting this Thursday, January 17 on OWN.

It always amazes me how far down the rabbit hole people get until one day reality and karma come knocking at their door. It’s only then that these people realize ‘oh shit, I am so screwed, my lies are not working anymore. How can I save myself and preserve what I have built up’.

It’s not just people like Lance Armstrong. It’s people who are in positions of power, wealth and have a huge craving for being in the spot light. Remember former Governor Rod Blagojevich of Illinois. What about Bernie Madoff. There was President Bill Clinton who lied under oath for hooking up with Monica Lewinksky. George W. Bush and weapons of mass destruction! George W. sent Americans into a war for ten plus years in the Middle East on a hunt for non-existent weapons! Thousands of people died because this guy lied to us.

Lance Armstrong and President George W. Bush

Its bad out there people. Government Senators and Congressmen are getting caught with hookers, tweeting pictures of their dicks, being closet homosexuals (after ranting to us about how evil it is to be gay) or miss-using tax dollars for personal extravagant life styles, vacations and more. Guys like A-Rod, Manny Ramirez, Floyd Landis, Richard Nixon had their worlds collapse around them. The list goes on… Barry Bonds, Jason Giambi, cyclists Tyler Hamilton and Tammy Thomas. Oh Tammy, have you see the pictures of her in 2002. She looks like dude all roided up! How could you look at her and think naw, I believe her, she’s not using. Yep, women lie and cheat too.

Its not just people like Armstrong, Bonds and A-rod – its also the people who helped them. These people are the coaches, doctors, masseuses, and trainers who are all just as responsible. They should be crucified just as much as the athletes who get caught. If you don’t know who Victor Conte is, Google him. He has quite the history of helping athletes achieve “maximum performance” with banned drugs, namely steroids. He founded BALCO and helped Olympic athletes like Marion Jones win gold medals (and she-hulk cyclist, Tammy Thomas) only to have them stripped away. He ended up serving some time in prison.

Chris Carmichael a former pro cyclist started Carmichael Training Systems. He is known for coaching Armstrong as well as George Hincapie, who was Armstrong’s number one, was the only rider to assist Armstrong in all 7 Tour de France victories. Yes, you guessed it, Hincapie was doping too. He released a statement in October 2012 admitting to using performance enhancing drugs. I suppose that didn’t help Armstrong’s lies hold any more water. Go figure – how else would he be able to keep up with Armstrong’s super-human power for seven years.

Shouldn’t Chris Carmichael have some responsibility in this? Seems to me its pretty unlikely to coach two star cyclists and not know they were doping. I would think he was flat out asking them to dope. What does that say about his service that coaches thousands of pro and amateur athletes all over the world?

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Let’s not forget Johan Bruyneel who was the director of the U.S. Postal Cycling team, Discovery Cycling and later Astana. How could Bruyneel, who was there for all seven TDF wins, not be aware of the doping going on with Armstrong, Hincapie, Landis, etc? Well it turns out he was aware and in June 2012 Bruyneel was formally charged by the USADA. It was only a matter of time before too many blocks in the Jenga tower are pulled and Lance Armstrong’s world comes crumbling down.

Its interesting to think how high the percentage is of cyclists, or any athletes in other sports, that use performance enhancing drugs. If drugs are that prevalent, then the organizations like UCI and USADA must either really suck at making sure athletes don’t “cheat” or they are just as knowingly involved as the athletes are and only when they get caught do they act like it was a mistake and take action by banning athletes for a few months. They seem to think a little slap of the hands is good enough and we can all move on.

The UCI (International Cycling Union) which oversees all cycling events for road, track, mountain, cross, BMX, trials and Olympics, seems to be a whole mess within itself, from what I have read. There have been countless allegations of corruption and known cover-ups. Tyler Hamilton attested that if a “donation” to anti-doping program was made then their positive tests will be made to go away. So, as you can see organizations are corrupt – thanks to their leaders who are in positions of power.

Its very unfortunate that some of the collateral damage of this news will affect the Lance Armstrong Foundation which he founded in 1997. This is a real tragedy. I have already read of people asking for their donations back. I think that is unnecessary. Genuine, good hearted people suffering from cancer in need of support from an organization like Livestrong will feel the fall out. They should not. They have enough to deal with in their life.

In November 2012, the Lance Armstrong Foundation dropped Armstrong’s name and is now known as the Livestrong Foundation. Yet, another block pulled from the Armstrong jenga tower. It was only a matter of time until Armstrong would just have to admit he was just as guilty as Landis, Hincapie and Hamilton. Note: Some people are under the impression that Livestrong provides funding for direct cancer research. They do not. They provide support for people suffering from cancer, survivors of cancer and their families.

I have not watched the Oprah Winfrey interview with Lance Armstrong yet. I will watch it as I am very interested to see what he has to say.

With out having seen the interview, I will say this. Its easy to only blame Armstrong and he should take the blame. Its easy to say ‘Oh, I would never do that. I would never dope’, but then one day you realize you could make it to the biggest cycling race in the world so you take a look around you. You see half the guys in the pelotons are doping, your livelihood is on the line, your sponsorships are getting bigger and people are expecting you to win. Sponsors are expecting you to win.

Your coaches and team directors start talking about erythropoietin, autologous blood transfusions, anabolic steroids, human growth hormone. It sounds scary as hell to me, but if you want to win, what are you going to do? These are excuses that I could see someone like Armstrong using. They are just that, excuses to justify in your mind that what you are deciding to do is acceptable because of the circumstances. In some ways is large scale peer pressure.

You think being at the top of your first double black diamond in Mammoth with your buddies giving you shit about not dropping in with them is a lot of pressure. Having the whole world wanting and expecting you to win. That’s a lot of pressure.

Excuses don’t make it right and he needs to take responsibility. I am glad he is finally taking responsibility for what he did wrong, something more people in this world need to do. Although he really as he said, allegedly, in his own words to people like Landis and Hamilton who knew he was up to no good:

“I’m going to make your life a living… f—ing… hell.”

Well that he did and to many. Now I hope he does apologize to them personally.

I do think that when people like Armstrong are interviewed for the world to hear what, why and how could you, those that were along for the ride should be standing right behind him the whole time. Everyone who participated in helping him succeed so they could in turn benefit from the wealth and riches to come from all his winnings, endorsements and sponsorships.

Let’s not forget being able to start a business using the Armstrong name to help boost you out of small start up business to national or even globally known business. There were quite a few people who started business such as cycling clothing, bike shops and coaching programs who probably would not have been so successful if they had not been riding the coat tails of Armstrong. Lets be real here, that’s exactly why they wanted him to win so they too could be successful beyond what they could have achieved on their own. To reap the riches and success and power. A little fame doesn’t hurt either. It feels good to be loved at any level let alone by the world.

Rod Blagojevich was on a TV show called The Apprentice which was a “reality” television show that had group of contestants competing to earn a position in one of Donald Trumps many organizations. He, just as Lance Armstrong did, lied through his teeth until the bitter end. He lied to interviewers, on camera, on the street to people. It was quite an example of persistence and self preservation.

Armstrong has been stripped of his Tour titles, lost most if not all of his endorsements and was forced to leave Livestrong. What a run… how it must suck.

As long as you are still in the game of lies, cheats and deception, at some point the whole jenga tower is coming crashing down.

Lance Armstrong was a super star athlete despite his use of performance enhancing drugs. He brought a lot of people hope and gave them inspiration and support. This is something I will miss.


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