Hero to zero: the Lance Armstrong story 

Athlete’s image ruined by doping



Disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrongs’ Livestrong shunned by former supporters.

BRANDON WILLMAN, Multimedia editor

“Yes or no, did you ever take banned substances to enhance your cycling performance,”Oprah asked Lance Armstrong.

“Yes,” he said.

Armstrong finally admitted to cheating in his seven Tour de France wins over the course of his career. However, it was far too late to save face.

From once being one of the most feel-good stories in sports history and being a beacon for a rising sport that at one time no one truly cared about, to being one of the most disgraced athletes of the 21st century, Armstrong made all the wrong moves.

Armstrong was a beast when it came to cycling. He was a dominant figure in the sport and even had the hardware to back it up.

He was a fantastic story and one of the most respected athletes of any sport. In 1996, he was diagnosed with metastatic testicular cancer, which is potentially fatal. Having cancer did not stop him as he recovered from his cancer and became a storied cyclist.

Just three years after his diagnosis, he won his first Tour de France, the highest honor in cycling. Not only did he win just one, but he also won for seven straight years, an awe-inspiring feat in any sport, let alone one with winner turnover such as cycling.

His respect and admiration also came from Livestrong Foundation, a nonprofit Armstrong founded after his recovery that provides free resources to cancer patients.

Even with all the good he was seemingly doing and the perfect image he was keeping up, his cycling prowess and nonprofit endeavors will not be his legacy. His legacy will always be doping.

Cycling is a sport that, much like baseball, has had a history of steroid and doping problems, which have been well-documented and chronicled in the book The Secret Race: Inside the hidden world of the Tour de France.

The most telling quote in the story describes Armstrong’s role in the grand perspective of racing and the sport as a whole.

“Lance worked the system—hell, Lance was the system,” author Tyler Hamilton wrote.

Comparing the doping scandal of cycling to the MLB, the consequences are relatively similar. Individuals in both sports are banned from their respective Hall of Fame and stripped of many titles, their reputations ruined similarily.

For MLB stars, several notable individuals are barred from the Hall of Fame but still garner a certain level of respect due to the rest of the league also doping. Cycling and Armstrong are the same, as Bleacher Report has released a list detailing why he is “bulletproof” despite doping.

Although he may be bulletproof to an extent, many fans and other athletes alike have lost respect for the former cycling pro. They have vocally demonstrated gratitude for stripping Armstrong’s Tour de France titles.

“It is a disgrace to the sport that there can be an athlete like Armstrong. In his cycling career, he has deceived the sport and many people. At least the titles have been taken away. Like many others, cycling lost its credibility for me,” tennis pro Novak Djokovic said.

Armstrong knows that his legacy will always be tainted as he describes, in his own words, the difference between being loved and hated and which is more prominent.

“A boo is a lot louder than a cheer,” he said.