Please Lance, Man Up & Live Strong!

Lance Armstrong doesn’t believe he should be part of any ‘witch-hunt’ type investigation of illegal doping because, “I have done too many good things”. Wow! Though a witch-hunt is not a valuable use of time and money, his argument suggests that he is somehow above being investigated.

As I read on in the USA Today article, there were concerns from others that if Lance is found guilty this could cause deep distress and possible setbacks for cancer survivors who have been inspired by Lance. This is the most ridiculous defense, in my opinion. First, if Lance was illegally doping to win bike races, he should be identified as such. Illegal doping has nothing to do with overcoming cancer. The two are not related. It is as though he and his legal team are using surviving cancer and doing good deeds as a reason to let him off the hook.

Lance Armstrong used his story and his image to inspire people. That’s great. Of course I will be sad if the evidence against Lance indicates illegal doping in months ahead. But I would not be surprised. Let’s face it, the world of sports is filled with heroes that have fallen because of these type of charges.

Still, the Livestrong campaign is not about winning bike races. It is successful because Lance Armstrong put his face on the program. And Lance’s cancer story makes the news because of his bike racing. But anyone who survives cancer, I believe, is inspired by the story not because of winning bike races, but because someone else lived, battled and engaged in life after cancer. That part of the story will not change even if Lance is found guilty of illegal doping.

The people who invested either their money, their time, or their story into the Livestrong campaign were not supporting bike racing or Lance—they were fighting cancer. That has nothing to do with these doping charges. The fact he has bought that into the picture is what makes me angry and less confident in Lance.

The odd part about doping is that we are the ones who make winning so important. We pay tons of money to put athletes up on high pedestals and then wonder why someone takes an illegal substance to stay on top. When we make Superheroes out of mortal men and women, and we are setting them and ourselves up for a fall.

I don’t want to make excuses for Lance Armstrong. I don’t even care if he is investigated or not. However, I don’t like that he is playing the cancer card and his few good deeds to get out of the spotlight. Lance, man up. If you are innocent, great, and if you are not, well, it just proves you’re not any different than other human beings—you make mistakes.

I still believe in Livestrong, no matter what happens to Lance Armstrong. I simply wish he would live up to his own tagline—Live Strong. Don’t hide behind a few good deeds and drop the cancer card in order to get out of being investigated. That is not Living Strong!