People have asked me about my views on doping and Lance Armstrong. The defense I have heard most often of Lance is that everybody was cheating so he was still the best when he won his Tours. I have also heard people say that USADA is too late. They should just give up because his career is over, he has given lots of money to charity and bringing him down now does more harm than good.
I have to strongly disagree with these arguments.
First let me put this out there just so we’re on the same page: I want to be the best skier in the world BUT there is much, much more I’m looking forward to doing after sports. This is not my life. It is not even remotely worth cheating for. My goals do not include making as much money or being as famous as possible. They are simply to try to be the best in the world at something. The only way to do that is by sticking to the rules. I will never take performance enhancing drugs or knowingly cheat to better my ski career.
Now that I’ve been clear, my views on Lance basically echo those feelings. Somebody, whether they got picked for a Tour de France team or not, is bike racing clean. I don’t care if you have to go 150 people deep on the list, it is the job of the governing bodies of sport to find, punish, and ban every cheater. In my opinion it boils down to why we have sport in modern culture. Is it purely for entertainment? If so, is it more entertaining to watch athletes cheat and win or win clean? Or is sport about bonding over a common cause? I don’t have answers to these questions but I have no interest in being involved in sports if the rules are not definitive. The biggest draws to my career goals are that they are fixed and quantifiable. I don’t play by loose rules.
As for Lance’s potential innocence, I believe today’s report from USADA proved beyond reasonable doubt that he cheated.
I met Lance once when I hiked half way up Aspen Mountain with him. He was friendly, but I never had another encounter with him.