Lance Armstrong, A Cheater?

by ktomasik on September 18, 2015 - 10:48am

                 This article about doping showcases the Lance Armstrong scandal. The man, who was considered the best cyclist in the world, now faces lifetime bans from the sport, many very impressive fines as well as being stripped of his seven Tour de France titles. This scandal made it around the world fairly quickly and has been the subject of many articles on different media supports. Although Lance Armstrong denied the allegations as many times and as long as it was possible, he was facing shame and disgrace by just about everyone, not only the entourage in his sport.

                Many might not agree with my positon but I do not qualify Armstrong as a real “cheater”. Of course, one cannot ignore the fact that he used EPO for the longest time and that it is this substance, completed by the medical help that the doctors provided, that most likely made him unbeatable. Thus, in the world of professional cycling, although the cyclists themselves might not say this, the clean riders are quite rare. The reality is that the athletes are confronted to a brutal reality; having the choice of staying clean and most likely being at the back of the peloton or choosing to use drugs, in consequence, obtaining an insane level of endurance and being able to push away the feeling of pain and lactic acid build up in the muscles. The second option resulting in first place finishes which in itself, creates an income for the rider, completed by sponsorships and media popularity. The technology in the field of doping is remarkably advanced and more often than not, the athletes can start taking substances that will be named officially illegal by the doping committee years after the discovery of the performance enhancing drug by the scientists. In cases like these, the athlete using the doping drug would come out as being clean from the test results. Furthermore, the doctors that are related to the sport know exactly when one athlete must take or inject a substance for it not to be detectable in the next potential test. They are, in other words, the key to winning for the cyclists.

              In reality, what type of person would be able to complete 3500 km’s of road biking in 23 days, consisting of forty eight hours rest within the whole tour? The body is physically not able to accomplish this sort of effort and still go nearly as fast on the last mountain climb as the first. Therefore, calling Armstrong a cheat, taking back his multiple win titles and forcing him to step down from the board of his own charity that raised 325 million dollars by selling yellow wristbands is not reasonable. His titles, he won them. This man was truly the best out of all the participants who were for the most part also extremely doped, creating some sort of equality. Additionally, in this summer’s edition of the Tour de France, Chris Froome came out with the grand title, although he hasn’t yet been accused of doping I strongly disagree with the belief that he won without the help of powerful medication. The United States Anti-Doping Agency has qualified Armstrong’s doping as « the most sophisticated, professionalised and successful doping program that sport has ever seen». Armstrong remains a legend for as long as all the riders in the world of cycling aren’t truthfully drug free.

2 controversial questions:

  • Many of the riders who have admitted to doping do not believe they were actual cheaters. One of the reasons being that most of the riders in the pool of cyclists depend on drugs such as EPO. What do you think about this?
  • Doping to enhance performance is illegal in almost every sport. On the other hand, fashion models often use plastic surgery to ‘’enhance’’ their physical beauty and obtain various contracts that were once possibly unattainable. What is your position towards this situation in comparison with the doping issue

NIANIAS, Helen. « Lance Armstrong doping: What we learned from his many lies», in The Independent, United Kingdom,, (consulted le 10th of September 2015)

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