Former cycling champion Lance Armstrong. (Associated Press)
Last Modified: Monday, July 16, 2012 7:58 PM
Did he or didn’t he? Perhaps only his pharmacist knows for sure.
The strange and twisted story of Lance Armstrong has more peaks and valleys than the Tour de France course itself.
The seven-time champion is either a great American hero as has been portrayed in the past, or the ugly American, which is how the French media looks at him.
Either way, his is the story that just won’t end.
Everybody, that is everybody who really cares about cycling, seems to want to know if Armstrong’s feats were real or improved by selected medicines.
Some have even suggested his bouts with cancer were caused by the very same drugs he consumed to win those championships.
So much over a yellow jersey. Enough already.
Once again Armstrong went to Europe and became public enemy No. 1. Or maybe he just remained that way.
For some reason people in France are obsessed with this guy and this sport. While the rest of the world seems to have moved on, every year at about this time Armstrong’s name gets tagged in some doping story.
Over the years I can’t think of another athlete who has been tested more, or been watched so closely.
If Armstrong did take some type of steroid or blood thinner, then he should have shown Mark McGwire and Barry Bonds how to get away with it.
Instead, with every test he passes, more questions seem to arise about his past.
With all of Europe’s fingers seemingly either pointed at him, or turned up to him, Armstrong has kept his faith and composure. And he continues to deny any and all accusations.
Even now, more and more Americans, including some officials, say he is guilty. Armstrong, unable to quiet those critics in the general public, is turning to the courts.
He has even been tagged by his own teammates, some of whom have even been caught doing what they claim Armstrong did.
It seems like we could move on from this, after all, we are talking cycling here. I mean, we all had bikes as kids and have since moved on.
You would think the French would have bigger things to worry about besides what took place during their precious tours more than a decade ago.
That Euro thing hasn’t exactly worked out great and still they are caught up in what Armstrong did or did not do. It seems silly.
Yet here we are, years later still having to decide on the fate of Armstrong’s public image.
And that is where the damage continues to be done.
Part of this might be jealousy. While others in cycling struggle to get attention, Armstrong has been able to break out into the general public and become an icon to many. Especially with his work in the fight against cancer, he is somebody we can look up to no matter what took place before.
You also have to wonder at what cost would bringing him down do and would it be worth the effort.
No matter what Armstrong’s past issues, he has gone on to do solid work in his community and throughout the nation. He has become somebody we hope our athletes become after their competitive days are behind them.
Still, he has to fight to keep his reputation clean.
I really don’t care if Armstrong took anything or not. Anything he did in the past has been more than made up for with the good he has accomplished.
So while his official record remains clean, I would be willing to overlook any bad when it comes to Armstrong and focus on the good.
And if that angers the French, even better. While they worry about the past, we will concentrate on the present and work toward the future.
Jim Gazzolo is managing sports editor. Email him at email@example.com
Posted By: Eddie On: 7/17/2012
Title: lack of facts
The french have nothing to do with anything. Im pretty sure USADA isnt french and yes...he needs to get brought down like Marion jones was long after she won those medals.It wd be a great deterrent now wouldnt it
Posted By: Floyd On: 7/17/2012
Title: Please get your facts straight
Jim, you might want to make at least a cursory attempt at some fact finding. Your clearly slanted and factually void summary of, and repeating of the exact lies and falsehoods perpetrated by LA and his PR machine only further makes you look inept as a person and writer. He's not anywhere near the most tested athlete ever. He's not even anywhere in the top 200 of the most tested athletes of the last decade. Please get your facts straight before spewing your opinions.