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Thread: Lance Armstrong

  1. #1
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    Lance Armstrong

    Is anyone else as nauseated as I am over this?

    During the Olympics, we had a lot of discussions about--let us call it artificial enhancement of power--by athletes. Some posters offered the view that everyone who did well was taking something. I like to hope that's not true. But competitive long-distance cycling certainly seems to prove that jaundiced point.

    There is so much that is incomprehensible to me. Most outstanding to me: it seems bizarre that a man who battled cancer would take anything that might alter his blood chemistry. Then there is the sheer stupidity of becoming that famous and expecting that you can keep anything secret. If you win a fiendishly grueling race seven times, more than anyone else in history, don't you think people will pay attention to every move you make? I gather they couldn't find any chemical evidence of any malfeasance by Armstrong. However, many people including teammates have testified against him. It sure doesn't look good for him.

    I know that it's possible to cheat at almost anything, but there's not a lot that performance-enhancing drugs could realistically enhance in skating...maybe that's one reason I like our sport so much. Even male pair skaters can't get that muscle-bound, or they couldn't skate in unison with their wispy little partners. At least, I hope there's no incentive to do those terrible things.

    But Armstrong's fall is a sad moment. It calls into question everything he's done before or since his bicycling career, including his cancer activism. And it sure makes the sport of cycling look bad. Didn't someone over on the Olympic thread comment that they can't take away the winners' medals, because the runners-up are also taking these substances?

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    Wicked Yankee Girl dorispulaski's Avatar
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    I don't know just how it works - it was a US group that took away the medals, wasn't it, rather than the French group that runs the Tour de France?

    Does he mail them back, or what does he need to do.

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    Yes, this is also bewildering to me. Does this group have the clout to (a) take the medals and (b) alter the official records?

    There is also, I suppose, the possibility that Armstrong is innocent and has been railroaded....though that is looking less and less likely.

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    Custom Title skateluvr's Avatar
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    He has raised half a billion in cancer research monies. Lance went way beyond the bike, the races and they all dope, so finding the winner is impossible. Nike will stay with him. His activism is the real victim here as he did a lot. I can't say he is awful as all his peers had same advantage, yet he won 7 times. It is a tragedy for people who need the money he was channeling around. Sad day.

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    Custom Title heyang's Avatar
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    What's a shame is that most of the top finishers have been involved in drug accusations. The news showed a picture of the top finishers in all 7 races. In all those races, there was only 1 where a top finisher has not been accused of using performance enhancing drugs.

    I don't know if he was being railroaded and just fed up with it or if he's guilty. It might be a mix of both

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    and... World Peace! Tonichelle's Avatar
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    The line from cool runnings comes to mind. "A gold medal is a wonderful thing. But if you're not enough without it, you'll never be enough with it."

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    Quote Originally Posted by heyang View Post
    What's a shame is that most of the top finishers have been involved in drug accusations. The news showed a picture of the top finishers in all 7 races. In all those races, there was only 1 where a top finisher has not been accused of using performance enhancing drugs.

    I don't know if he was being railroaded and just fed up with it or if he's guilty. It might be a mix of both
    This is what haunts me. How can we ever know? After he's dead, even an autopsy wouldn't prove or disprove. It wouldn't matter for me, personally--my opinion can't sway the course of sport one way or another. But what can governing bodies do if a sport has been so contaminated by possibilities? And this is one of the sports that is most vulnerable to the possibility of performance-enhancing drugs, because of the unholy combination of speed and simply grueling distance and maintenance of effort--a weeks-long event at top speed and output. This and sprinting, I think, and possibly swimming, must be the worst sports in this regard.

    Toni, what you quoted about the gold medal; I concur. That was an extraordinary little film for truth, considering how modest it was. It's interesting that you and I have as our favorite skater one of the all-time greats, Kurt, and he never won an Olympic medal, and it doesn't matter. And that I add to it one other, Michelle, whose stature and quality on the ice and off also doesn't seem to have been diminished by "just" a silver and bronze. I know you're not a Michelle fan, but you'll agree that many people put Kurt at the top of men's skating in all of history (along with a few others like Yagudin) and Michelle at the top of women's (along with a few others). OGM, no OGM...big deal. There's a poetry to that, I think. We have that luxury because skating isn't just about physical records in terms of speed or height. I feel sorry that cycling, running, and so forth are such slaves to the time clock that temptation rears its ugly head.

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    I don't think he's necesarily being railroaded (but I'm not convinced he's guilty), nor do I believe his cancer activism is in anyway tainted by this. Frankly, it wouldn't surprise me to hear of some chemotherapy drugs that are on the list of banned substances.

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    Custom Title skateluvr's Avatar
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    I find it interesting Nike will stay with him. What statement is this making. "We like the guy and his charity work so..." or "We know, everyone does it, we are not stupid so what the hay..." or "Doping is good."?

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    Banned janetfan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skateluvr View Post
    I find it interesting Nike will stay with him. What statement is this making. "We like the guy and his charity work so..." or "We know, everyone does it, we are not stupid so what the hay..." or "Doping is good."?
    If Lance is no longer fighting it seems pretty sure he is aware of strong evidence against him.
    If he had to testify he would either admit to using or if he maintained innocence might then have to face perjury charges, more trials and continuing negative publicity.

    It could drag on for several years.

    Something like that could really damage his charity work. Trying to end this as quickly as possible is most likely in Lance's best interests.

    Nike initially supported Paterno - the president of Nike made a nice speech at Paterno's memorial service absolving him of all sin. After the Sandusky trial Nike changed their tune.

    Nike pretty much follows the money

  11. #11
    Off the ice Buttercup's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tonichelle View Post
    The line from cool runnings comes to mind. "A gold medal is a wonderful thing. But if you're not enough without it, you'll never be enough with it."
    Cool Runnings is such a great movie.

    As for Armstrong... if the relevant authorities couldn't catch him in real time, I don't want them to chase him, or anyone else, so long after the fact. Anti-doping efforts should be focused on the present or at most the recent past. More generally regarding the TdF and cycling, it's no secret that the sport has long been rife with various types of doping and cheating. If Armstrong won fair and square - and there is no conclusive proof that he didn't - good for him. If he didn't, he was beating lots of people who were doping. Let it go. It doesn't matter anymore.

    I know there are many cycling fans who hate Armstrong's guts, who think his foundation is a scam (Charity Navigator says otherwise) and who believe the fight against doping is all that matters. But Armstrong long ago transcended cycling, and regardless of what one might think of him, his efforts and example have helped and inspired countless cancer patients - a truly valuable contribution to society. Considering what he stands accused of is not nearly the same as the Penn State example, I think all he has done and likely will do outside of cycling outweighs anything negative he may have done in his career.

    Finally, I find it hard to believe that someone who survived cancer as advanced as Armstrong did would knowingly jeopardize his health by taking dangerous substances. Which brings me to my final point, and I am aware it's not a popular view: a lot of banned substances and practices are not dangerous or hazardous in themselves, and are in fact used as legitimate medical treatment in other contexts*. I'm opposed to doping at this time because it is cheating and against the rules, and results in an unfair advantage to those who do it; however, I'm not sure everything that falls under the doping umbrella should actually be banned. I would love for WADA to focus on health concerns when deciding what to ban and test for, instead of anything that might conceivably improve performance. Some substances allow athletes to recover and heal faster and to train harder; I'm really not sure why this is considered a bad thing.

    * IP - I believe EPO is used to treat anemia, including anemia caused by chemo.

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    I am interested in many of your points, Buttercup. You bring up one thing that strikes me also, which is why anyone with a history of cancer (and a really serious cancer at that--he was just about circling the drain at one point) would risk ingesting anything that would affect his blood chemistry. Armstrong's medical history was a factor that caused me to doubt for a long time that he had taken anything. Now, of course, none of us can be sure in either direction.

    The affect on blood chemistry is especially relevant in terms of the newer drugs (if indeed Armstrong took them), where there hasn't been a long enough study time to ascertain how they affect the body over the years. What happens in ten years, or twenty, to someone who has taken these substances on an ongoing basis? Chemo generally lasts for some months. If Armstrong did take these substances, presumably he took them regularly for at least seven years.

    I imagine there's a case to be made for some of the substances being allowed, so everyone can get to them, especially if they do help athletes to recover faster from effort or injury...but again, do we know what they do in the long term? I am reminded of American TV morning show personality Robin Roberts, who has developed a blood disorder (a kind of pre-leukemia) as a direct result of drugs she took to treat breast cancer some years ago. We have a delicate inner balance, which scientists don't yet completely understand, and barring an urgent need, why would we monkey with it? So if it becomes important for an aspiring athlete to start taking substances just to move up in his or her field, well, I'm not sure that's a choice everyone would be comfortable with. How early would they have to start taking these substances: when they're eighteen? When they're fifteen? When they're ten? If ever anything was a Pandora's box, this is.
    Last edited by Olympia; 08-27-2012 at 04:27 PM.

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    Banned janetfan's Avatar
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    Lots of interesting thoughts here about Lance and doping.

    What we know for sure is that Lance gave up the fight.
    By chance this happened one day after his appeal to have this case dismissed was turned down.

    A coincidence? Hardly.

    Time and action says alot here.

    We know that many former teammates questioned under oath testified they were doping and said that Lance was also doping.
    We know of the failed drug test that was not just overturned but hushed up.

    Sorry, but as much as I admire certain things about Lance I doubt that he would have ever given up the fight if he was clean.

    Cheating is cheating is cheating.

    It goes against all of the best sport has to offer us. It not just diminishes sport but is a strong reflection on societal values as a whole.

    The excuse "everybody else is doing it" does not fly with me.
    That just means the "science of doping" has managed to stay a step ahead of the testing.

    I no longer watch baseball and hope certain players are never let into the Hall of Fame.

    I used to watch the Tour but stopped after it became apparent that the cheating was so rampant it felt like the rider with the best chemist was winning.

    I hope Lance can get through this with some part of his reputation intact and continues to do good deeds because ultimately that is more important than being a champion racer.

    When it comes to sport, I agree with these words from Gabby Douglas:

    "Gold medals are made out of your blood, sweat and tears."

    I don't think Gaby meant blood full of performance enhancing substances.
    Last edited by janetfan; 08-27-2012 at 07:28 PM.

  14. #14
    Off the ice Buttercup's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Olympia View Post
    I imagine there's a case to be made for some of the substances being allowed, so everyone can get to them, especially if they do help athletes to recover faster from effort or injury...but again, do we know what they do in the long term? I am reminded of American TV morning show personality Robin Roberts, who has developed a blood disorder (a kind of pre-leukemia) as a direct result of drugs she took to treat breast cancer some years ago. We have a delicate inner balance, which scientists don't yet completely understand, and barring an urgent need, why would we monkey with it? So if it becomes important for an aspiring athlete to start taking substances just to move up in his or her field, well, I'm not sure that's a choice everyone would be comfortable with. How early would they have to start taking these substances: when they're eighteen? When they're fifteen? When they're ten? If ever anything was a Pandora's box, this is.
    Breast cancer chemo can be brutal. Some kinds of chemo aren't as bad (comparatively speaking) but if you're getting stuff to kill cancer cells, it will have other effects.

    Anyway, some banned substances could certainly be harmful, both short and long-term (though keep in mind that basically every medication from ibuprofen on up has potential risks and side effects), and I agree that the age question is an important one. But my impression is that many substances are banned because they are "contrary to the spirit of sport", or because they could mask other banned substances, and not so much because of potential adverse effects. And as I wrote earlier, I'm not yet persuaded that a substance that allows athletes to recover faster is a bad thing. The point is for them to train and maximize their abilities, not for them to suffer for our entertainment.

    But again, so long as a substance is banned, taking it is indeed contrary to the spirit of sport and those who do so should be punished, though I would suggest this needs to happen close to real time, not a decade or more later. Of course, there are a lot of things in sport that are contrary to the spirit of fair play and an even playing field - politikking in certain sports, unsportsmanlike conduct on the field by athletes, poor officiating, unequal funding, differences in levels of access to training conditions and other needed resources, etc. - but I guess doping is easier to address than certain disparities and unsportsmanlike behaviors, or at least a more popular cause.

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    Wicked Yankee Girl dorispulaski's Avatar
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    Not just ibuprofen!

    acetominophen (The main ingredient in Tylenol) overdose is one of the leading causes of liver failure in the US
    http://www.medpagetoday.com/Psychiatry/Depression/2233

    And aspirin, if you're one of those who is sensitive to it, can cause acute erosive gastritis
    http://www.faqs.org/health/topics/18/Gastritis.html
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16348

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