Armstrong’s reputation tarnished, legacy lives strong

The Southerner

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By Matt Wood

On August 24, 2012, Lance Armstrong was banned from all sports that follow the World Anti-Doping Agency code and on October 22 the same year, he was stripped of all seven of his Tour de France titles.  Armstrong had long been the world’s most renowned cyclists, and an inspiration to millions across the world with his dramatic return to cycling from being diagnosed with testicular cancer that had spread to his brain.  Although Armstrong is now widely considered a hero-turned-villain, I believe he is still one of the most inspirational athletes of all time.

During his cycling career, Armstrong created Livestrong, a nonprofit organization designed to support cancer patients.  Until Armstrong admitted to doping, the organization generated almost 500 million dollars.  This shows that Armstrong was a good person with good intentions, just using a controversial method to generate funds for the greater good.

Armstrong was not alone in his effort to cheat.  On multiple occasions, entire teams would be disqualified for doping.  Armstrong just happened to be the best cheater.  With doping so abundant in cycling, it almost creates an even playing field for the athletes.  If all of them do it, and only the best is penalized for it, I think the point of the sport itself is ruined.  At this point, doping is part of the sport.  If the rules are not strictly enforced enough to catch the cheaters, then cheating is almost acceptable.  The fact of the matter is, Armstrong did incredible things by excelling at his sport.

Until the sport of cycling cracks down with enforcement of the anti-doping rules, the cyclists will still cheat, and some will win with illicit substances making their legs pedal faster.  Armstrong simply took advantage of a loophole in a faulty system and did spectacular things with the money he made.

When he was still on tour, his humbleness, cheerful smile, and sheer performance inspired hundreds of millions of people.  Not only did he inspire with his personality and performance, but also with his comeback from cancer.  When he was diagnosed, no one was even sure if the world famous athlete would live, when two years later, he was crossing the finish line in first place on the Tour de France.  This not only gained publicity for himself, but also made a big name for the sport of cycling.  He was such a big deal that all other sporting events within a week of his confession were barely featured on ESPN’s SportsCenter.

Within his time on tour, Armstrong warmed the hearts of millions, and pedaled through the finish line victoriously many times.  Although many will argue that he tarnished the sports reputation and is an awful human being, Armstrong should forever be remembered as a champion.


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