the Cheater Gets Rich
Lance Armstrong, seven year winner of the grueling Tour de France, greatest of all bicycle races, now accused of doping, has withdrawn from his impending hearing, asserting that it’s a witch hunt and no trace of any drug was ever found. The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, with a parade of witnesses, some of whom raced with him or worked for him, including his masseuse, all ready to testify that drugs were a part of his training regimen, responded by expunging his victories from the record. It’s an international story.
I assume nothing about innocence or guilt, only note how very strange it is that so much is made of a man who may or may not have cheated to win a bicycle race, and so little of a business man who hides multi-millions in overseas tax havens, feels no need to answer legitimate questions about his dealings, yet expects to be taken seriously as a candidate for the United States Presidency.
In war, winning is the only thing. Sports are a metaphor for war, but are not war. The majesty and beauty of sports is degraded by the warrior’s code; win by any means. The infamous football coach who injected it into sports, injected poison. Winning as the only thing justifies abominations, like breaking your opponent’s leg (Tanya Harding), or stuffing boxing gloves with cement (Antonio Margarito).
People too cowardly and unfit for soldiery term themselves “business warriors,” don imaginary dog tags and contend that business is a battle in which winning is the only thing. They hire battalions of mercenaries who storm Congress lobbying to repeal or weaken laws and regulations which they break and circumvent, succeeding well enough to have crashed the U.S. economy.
Lance Armstrong declared that he will always know that he won his races and can live with that. (If he cheated, he must live with that too.) Racing bicycles made him his fortune which presumably cannot be taken back, and in whatever state his conscience may be, he has said he will now devote himself to his Foundation, which helps others like himself, who are or were stricken with cancer.
The man who may have cheated by abusing his own body to win a bicycle race is disgraced. The man who may have cheated, and may well have ruined lives to enrich himself becomes a candidate for President.