Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Lance Armstrong Investigation: I can't believe it's come to this....

Here we are, nearly three and a half years after Floyd Landis's first confession came out and I posted that I was 99.9% confident that pro cyclists had been doping for the past 15-20 years. I ended that first post by saying "Sadly, what would be surprising to me is if someone who is dominating pro cycling such as Alberto Contador was actually not doping!" Of course, soon after that, Alberto failed a doping test in the Tour de France and was suspended from racing.

Since that first post, there have been many posts to follow (this makes number 150 with the label of Lance Armstrong Investigation) and
I've heard from many people who thought I was either attacking an innocent hero or who thought Lance was likely guilty but would never face any consequences. I must admit that I was one who doubted he would have serious consequences. I certainly never dreamed it would come to this! However, here we are and Lance no longer has even one title as a Tour de France winner and is currently battling at least five lawsuits including one by the US federal government.

In addition, I believe at least three separate films are coming out on Lance including a documentary produced by one of the most acclaimed documentary filmmakers, Alex Gibney. In this short article about the documentary, Gibney compares the upcoming film on Lance with his documentary on what is probably the most famous corporate fraud in history: Enron. Gibney produced and directed "The Smartest Guys in the Room" which is a powerful expose' on Enron. (I have a cleanflicks version of the film because it contains a few raunchy scenes that I'd rather not watch.)

Here are a few quotes from the article mentioned above where Gibney describes his documentary:

  In comparing the Enron case to Lance's fraud:
Gibney says there isn’t much sympathy for the Enron folk, nor for Armstrong at this stage, but that only makes the cautionary tale element of his saga more pressing.
“Like Enron, Armstrong was ruthless in attacking his accusers. And the whistleblowers were poorly treated. Even the woman who blew the whistle on Enron was attacked. I remember going on tour with the film and there was more anger about the whistleblower than the people who lost everyone’s money.” 
  As for the picture he paints of Lance, Gibney comments:
“I think what you get is a revealing portrait of who Lance Armstrong is. You see glimpses of his cruelty and that sense of self-pity that comes from people who feel alienated by success, “ he says.
“But it’s a matter of truth and lies, and when someone lies to you a bunch of times, it’s hard to trust them again. And I think people will watch this film and think, ‘Well, why should I trust him?’ … And that’s for them to answer.”
Again, I admit, I never dreamed Lance would fall this far. What an amazing three and a half years it has been. Even so, the story isn't over yet. Lance likely has another five years of battling lawsuits to hold on to his estimated $100-200 million in net worth while the federal government and Floyd Landis (as a whistleblower) are almost surely going to get a decent chunk of it.

While I pity Lance, I am happy that the truth has prevailed as much as it has in revealing his frauds. Even so, I'm (again) 99.9% sure there are still some big secrets about corruption in pro cycling that are yet to be revealed. Hopefully, more of them will come to light in the upcoming court cases against Lance. In any case, at least some of the victims of Lance's psychopathy are being seen as the heroic whistleblowers that they were and not the bitter and sick people that Lance asserted in his relentless attacks. Heroes like Betsy and Frankie Andreu, Greg and Kathy LeMond, Travis Tygart and others (see this post for more) are finally starting to receive the respect they deserve. Even Greg LeMond's bikes are attempting to make a comeback after Lance destroyed his bike business. I never thought we would get this far...

A lot can happen in three and a half years so it will be interesting to look back again around the beginning of 2017. I personally doubt that pro cycling will ever be anywhere close to being completely clean but I'm hopeful that more progress to clean up the sport can be made by 2017. When we hear the truth about the UCI and other top officials, executives and organizations in cycling then I may start to believe this sport could reach its potential to inspire the dedication, sacrifice and suffering that is endured by the true champions who compete within the rules.

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