Oprah Winfrey has interviewed everybody famous from Michael Jackson to Charice to Barack Obama. But, to the 58-year-old billionaire who is considered “the world’s most influential woman,” there is no bigger TV sit-down than the one that will air tomorrow 10 A.M. (Philippine time) over Oprah.com.
Did he or did he not? The answer is obvious. He did. He did inject drugs. He did lie. He did “pass” 500+ tests to never test positive of PEDs. He did harass and threaten anyone who questioned his “clean” life. Now we know: Lance Armstrong, once the most iconic and revered of human beings, is no chemical-free Ironman.
“It was like a world crashing on top of me,” said Oscar “Boying” Rodriguez, one LA’s biggest fans in Cebu. Boying has not only worn the yellow Livestrong band for a decade, he also wears Oakley, Giro and the Livestrong Edition Nike — Lance’s complete battle gear.
“At first, I refused to believe the allegations. Maybe because he had inspired a multitude of people, most especially cancer patients including a close relative of mine,” said Boying. Every one of Lance’s seven Tour de France wins, including his triathlon and mountain-bike triumphs, Boying followed. “I dreamt and imagined I was riding shotgun on a bike behind him! Then the USADA report came out. I was still hesitant to believe it. But when he was stripped of his titles and when Pat Mcquaid of UCI (Union Cycliste Internationale), the world governing body of which I am a member of (being an International Commissaire for MTB) confirmed the finding of USADA, it was a reality that slowly sunk in.”
Boying calls Lance’s fall a “crash.” But, ever his lifelong supporter, Boying adds, “I think he deserves a second chance!”
Chris Aldeguer, another lifelong biker and Lance fan, is less apologetic. The owner of Vellum Cycles, Chris knows the inner workings of the cycling community. He says that it’s no secret how most take PEDs.
“Maybe Lance was really the fastest guy in the Peleton but he certainly did not deserve any of the wins. It was right to strip him of his 7 Yellow Jerseys,” he says. “I believe Lance totally mismanaged this crisis. People may forgive him if he admitted and apologized using PEDS during the Tour. Not only did he constantly deny, and lie about it, he attacked and threatened those who accused him. He was very arrogant about it. I believe this case hurts the Livestrong Foundation and the Cancer community even more than it damages the Sport of Cycling. His mainstream status brought this negativity in the limelight.”
True. If we look back in history, plenty of drug cheats were caught. Ben Johnson. Marion Jones. Barry Bonds is accused by everyone. But none of them carry a higher moral stature than Lance. Only now, when he’s got no helmet to cover his face, is he confessing to Oprah.
Jonathan “Maxi” Maximo agrees with Chris Aldeguer in how excruciating the 21-day, 3,360-km. event is that’s the Tour de France.
“Multi-stage cycling is such a difficult race that if you want to contend for the podium year in year out, you have to be like Incredible Hulk!” says Maxi, whose son Igi is a national-caliber junior cyclist.
“How about for TdF organizers, who make the race extremely hard, to put up separate categories for dopers and non-dopers? That will level the playing field!” Maxi joked. “Seriously, Armstrong’s admission will be good for cycling in the long run. It has opened our eyes to the reality. In fairness to LA, I support his Livestrong Foundation. I had the opportunity to race in Seattle for the Livestrong Challenge. I believed in their cause. It has helped my mom battle and survive the big C.”
This is a sad day for sports. It’s a sad day for honesty. For with Lance, though he’s helped raise over $500 million to fight the Big C, he will be forever remembered for another Big C: Big Cheater.