Our View: Armstrong is the latest to tarnish legacy
Cheating, sadly, has become commonplace in American society.
Whether it’s to get ahead in school, the workplace or any other facet of life, too many Americans have embraced cheating as the easy way to stay ahead of the competition.
In the sports world the past couple of decades, cheating largely has centered around the use of performance-enhancing drugs.
The list of athletes whose legacies have been tarnished after it was revealed they took drugs such as steroids and HGH is a long one.
Barry Bonds. Roger Clemens. Marion Jones. Shawne Merriman. Ben Johnson.
While it’s long been suspected that seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong was a part of that list, it became official this week. On Monday, Armstrong – far and away America’s most famous bicyclist – admitted in an interview with Oprah Winfrey that he used performance-enhancing drugs. That interview will be broadcast in two parts starting tonight on the Oprah Winfrey Network.
A former triathlete who began to focus exclusively on cycling in the early 1990s, Armstrong’s story is well-documented. In 1996, he was diagnosed with testicular cancer that also had spread to his brain and lungs. After a couple of surgeries and extensive chemotherapy, he beat the disease and resumed competing.
During his record Tour de France run, he often was accused of doping but never failed a drug test. He was steadfast in his denials.
As his successes mounted and his popularity grew, the cancer-support organization that Armstrong founded, Livestrong, exploded. Since 1997, it has raised hundreds of millions of dollars to improve the quality of life of cancer patients and survivors.
There’s little doubt Armstrong has done a world of good in the cancer-fighting community. But that does not excuse his cheating or the years he lied to the public about it, often attacking the character of those who accused him.
Livestrong hopefully will live on. It has done too much good to be tainted by Armstrong’s lies.
But Armstrong’s legacy is forever tarnished. He let millions of fans down, first by cheating, and then by consistently lying about it.
We hope his story is a lesson for those who consider cheating to get ahead of the competition.