Tuesday, October 23, 2012

My Thoughts on Lance Armstrong

It must be both rewarding and annoying at the same time that after so many years, the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) finally skewered Lance Armstrong for doping in his Tour De France.  After rising above all of the dirty athletes to become the most dominant dirty athlete the TDF has ever known, they still couldn't seem to produce the magical positive test to prove that he was a drug users all along.  Still, they can use their odd power to say that he was.  It seems to me like such a hollow victory. 

Yes, I firmly believe that Lance Armstrong used drugs to produce his record seven straight Tour De France victories.  I have less evidence than the USADA has but since I'm just a puke with a computer and a blog address, I'm not burdened with any particular requirements to prove what I think.  I just have the ability to connect the dots.  Ironically, this isn't too far away from what the USADA has. 

We can all agree that the Tour is a bike race, the most prestigious bike race in the world.  There are other titles it has.  One might be the most obvious example of a doped-to-the-gills sports events there is.  Another title could also be a voluntary foray into a chronic wasting disease without dying...unless you used performance enhancing drugs.  The simple truth about the TDF is that the speed of which the competitors race over such a distance and for the period of time they do it in would kill even the best non-chemically enhanced endurance athletes from muscle destruction alone.  These competitors couldn't possibly do it without drugs.  Their bodies would give out like a cancer or HIV patient.  So, a seven-time winner would have to be doing something to rise above and take the title. 

Another oddity about Lance Armstrong is his height and weight.  When we read that he was 5'9 and 160 lbs at his peak, we don't think anything of it because it's so extra-average for an American Man.  By professional cylists' standards, he might as well be Lou Ferrigno.  Most of these guys on bikes are mighty midgets, most being 5'3"-5'5" and barely over 130 lbs.  The extra size should put him at a disadvantage since most smaller people with less muscle mass to deliver oxygen to should render him in the bottom of the pack rather than a record-breaking run as king.  Something odd was going on...

Going back to alternative titles to give to the Tour, a third title would be the longest-running, doped-up sporting event ever.  Indeed, people have been cheating by taking things to win this race almost as long as the race has existed.  To my knowledge, the earliest use of arsenic as a performance enhancer in sports was used in the Tour back in the early 1900's.  Apparently, before it kills you, it gives your much-beloved, muscle-moving ATP quite a kick into overdrive.

So, taken into account that Lance Armstrong produced unheard of dominance in a race ridden with PED's for nearly as long as the race has existed, it's hard not to reason that he wasn't dirty as the rest of them were.  Perhaps the flagrancy of his dominance and the fact that he couldn't be caught after all of the blood n' piss samples were in after the race was just too much for the powers-that-be to tolerate.   Something had to be done. 

What we can take away from this is that in the world of professional sports, there are few clean miracles left out there.  We shouldn't burden ourselves with dreams of being just like these people unless we're ready to scour the Earth for the best in muscle-enhancing drugs to do get there.  This is just another reminder that these people take bodies that most of us don't done have and fill them with substances we probably (and hopefully) don't want to take.  That's not a path worth going down. 


Anonymous said...

Just an observation: Miguel InduraĆ­n, five time TDF winner was 88 m (6 ft 2 in) and 80 kg (176 lb). Also, there have been other big or stocky riders. I agree that the TDF is a brutal competition and that they everybody has accepted its inhumanity to make it more entertaining, in spite of cleanness.

Justin_PS said...

Wow! That guy is seriously tall! Based on what I've read (which I should get better at listing sources, I admit) is that the little guys are the norm, rather than the exception.

One thing that I'd like to know is who watches it anymore? I find endurance sports positively boring to watch.