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Friday, November 8, 2013

The Lance Armstrong Lie

Even though his corporate sponsors and the USADA won't touch him with a barge pole, there is still a fascination with Lance Armstrong that's hard to define.  Books have been written about him, movies have been made and a documentary by Alex Gibney will open tomorrow in the US.

But the one thing people can't forget is how well, and how often he lied. One film critic wrote:   He lies with such conviction, it's terrifying and his galling hubris is there for audiences to watch, absorb and puzzle over.  Not only was the bicyclist duplicitous for years with officials, reporters and anybody who would dare to ask him if he used performance-enhancing substances to win the Tour de France seven times, but viewers can see him lie bald-faced to the director (Alex Gibney) of this chilling documentary.

Another critic wrote:  Lance Armstrong is a fantastic story - a hero, a sports phenomenon, a cancer survivor, the comeback, the fall from grace, the public confession, the American audience in particular loves this type of story, it's very biblical.

Armstrong thinks he was treated unfairly and singled out for punishment because he was the best.  He argues that he took part on a level playing field because everyone else was doing it too. "Those who were on the playing field would agree it was level. Justice, as we've seen in the last 12 months, hasn't been level" he said. "I'm not whining or complaining, I'm just observing. I'm the one who is serving life while others who made the same choices get a complete pass."  And it's true, several former team mates who testified against him only received six month bans.

Armstrong is waiting for a call from the USADA, the national anti-doping organization for the Olympic movement in the US.  He hopes to be involved  in a truth and reconciliation process. "My phone, it's on, but I've not been called" he said. "Despite everything, cycling has been great to me and I have a lot of appreciation for that, if I can do something to instigate the process, I will."