I need to get a few things off of my chest. I’m conflicted. I am a fellow cancer survivor and was one of your biggest fans, supporters, and advocates. I read your two books. I continue to wear a LIVESTRONG wristband. But I’m conflicted.
Our local YMCA is a LIVESTRONG YMCA. I am a board member there, and one of the LIVESTRONG liaisons. I have spoken to LIVESTRONG CEO Doug Ulman on more than one occasion about LIVESTRONG and the legend of Lance Armstrong. We share a handful of friends in the multisport community. I am a triathlete and have followed your career where since the age of 16, you were giving some pros a run for their money prior to turning your sights to the sport of cycling.
I understand a little bit about the sport of pro cycling. Probably not as much as I think I do…..but enough to know that doping was common place among so many people for so long. I get the fact that if the top athletes in the sport were doing it, then others felt obligated to follow in their footsteps if they wanted to remain competitive. I’m not saying I agree with it… just saying I understand it. I also know how competitive you are. You do not lose well. Hell, you don’t even do second place well. So in some dark twisted sense, I would understand you feeling the need to partake. (I would try to talk you out of it, but I would understand where you were coming from).
What I don’t understand is living the lie for so many years and even playing the work ethic and the “why would I put stuff into my body after all that I’ve been through” card. That is the part that stings. I feel like you soiled sacred ground with that stance. Survivors take their ability to rebuild and comeback seriously and with a lot of pride. I raced ironman 7 months after my leukemia diagnosis and having gone through 4 rounds of both chemotherapy and monoclonal antibody infusions. I did it with a positive outlook, hard work, and good nutrition. I am not comparing my accomplishment to your Tour wins. I can’t … because in all honesty, mine means more. Mine was honest and wholesome and clean. And I continue to inspire, whereas you are in damage control mode.
So now with that off of my chest, here is where I have landed on this issue. It’s behind me. I have an unparalleled appreciation and respect for the work you have done with LIVESTRONG. And I fully acknowledge that we are imperfect beings living in an imperfect world. Lord knows, I have made my share of mistakes. I know there is a good man in you and like I said, you don’t lose well. So, my challenge to you Lance Armstrong is to find a way to make this all right for the people you have let down. My feeling is that somehow you will find a way to grow from the experience, and I urge you to do so. Find a way to reinvent the image you have tarnished. It won’t be easy. But it can be done.
People need to stick together. But people also need to take ownership for their actions and relationships.