Lance Armstrong: Cycling Star Stripped of Tour de France Titles

Forgivable Infraction vs. Inexcusable Act

Forgivable Infraction
By Carly Banner
Directors of the Tour de France will strip Lance Armstrong of the victories he earned during the years 1999 to 2005. Instead of acknowledging the fact that people who achieve great things often make large mistakes, the directors plan to misguidedly destroy the record that Lance Armstrong ever won the prestigious race.
Keeping records of important and historical events is about having a complete summary of what came before for generations to come. It is about acknowledging great deeds accomplished and mistakes made, and Lance Armstrong certainly did both. Pretending that the man did not rise from adversity, achieve something revolutionary, and ultimately bring about his own destruction is not a positive way to handle a story that could be used to teach valuable lessons.
Armstrong has used his public platform to work towards cancer awareness and research. Due to negative publicity, Armstrong has stepped down from the position of chairman of his charity organization, Livestrong. This sends an even less productive and encouraging message than stripping Armstrong of his titles. There is no reason he shouldn’t be allowed to contribute something positive to the world even though he took actions that were negative.

The media made him a target, giving him no option but to distance himself from the organization so that he wouldn’t bring it down. If Armstrong was given the given the option to remain the head of Livestrong by the media, it would have instilled the idea that anything can be overcome, even one’s own mistakes. It would have given people struggling with cancer hope to see that even when Armstrong’s successful and luxurious career was over, he still cared about the fight against cancer.

Make no doubt about it, Lance Armstrong should be punished for cheating and illegal behavior. He has been banned from the sport for life, as he should be. Big name sponsors such as Nike and 24 Hour Fitness have dropped Armstrong because they no longer want to be linked to Armstrong’s tainted reputation. As a result, Armstrong faces both professional and financial consequences.

As the old saying goes, people who ignore history are bound to repeat it. So perhaps Lance Armstrong is no longer an ideal role model, but that should be up to fully informed future generations to decide.

His story should be used to show that celebrities given hero status are not always perfect or even honorable, and that one’s actions do catch up with them. But attempting to erase him from the history of racing does not accomplish any of this. It denies that it was his body and mind that were pushed to the limit and crossed those seven finish lines before anyone else, regardless of whether or not it was on an even footing with other competitors.

Inexcusable Act
By Joana Moreno
Lance Armstrong was once a name associated with the fight against cancer and what seemed to be endless Tour de France titles. Now his name is associated with doping, cheating and scandal. After accusations that he has been taking prohibited performance enhancing drugs for a large portion of his athletic career are becoming confirmed, Armstrong now faces the removal of his seven Tour de France titles. While it is tragic to see such an inspiring and well acclaimed man fall, he must reap the consequences of his lack of moral integrity.

The loss of Armstrong’s titles follows naturally due to the fact that his performance was not his alone. Armstrong’s Tour de France titles from 1999 to 2005 were not won with his own effort but with the aide of performance-enhancing drugs. Allowing Armstrong to continue claiming those victories is not only against the rules of the International Cycling Union, it is also unfair to the thousands of professional cyclists around the world who raced against Lance Armstrong aided by only their own blood, sweat and tears.

It is also important to consider this was no small lapse of judgment on his part. Armstrong systematically violated the integrity of the system for years. A United States Anti-Doping Agency, or USADA, report goes as far to consider Armstrong the ringleader of a network meant to cheat through performance enhancing drugs. Supporting that claim, eleven members of Armstrong’s team have admitted to being pressured by Armstrong into taking performance enhancing drugs.

But that is not even the totality of the evidence. There are over two dozen sworn statements by witnesses who claim to know that Armstrong took performance enhancing drugs. In addition, the USADA report cites emails and financial transactions between Armstrong and Dr. Ferrari, whom the USADA believe supplied Armstrong with his drugs.

According to Pat McQuaid, President of the International Cycling Union, Armstrong’s actions were consequences of his ‘win at all costs’ mindset which led him to use performance enhancing drugs. Such a mindset is inappropriate in a man who claimed the title of chairman of Livestrong. Losing all that acknowledgment is only fair because he did not prove himself to be great, at least without the use of drugs. Armstrong, like Tiger Woods, only proved that he was a smart man with questionable morals.
Such a situation goes to show that cheating will only get you so far. In Lance Armstrong’s case, it can get the trophy, title and glory, but also provides the shame of confronting a world that he lied to.

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