I admit that I may be one of the last on the Armstrong bandwagon, but I still remain unsure what, if anything, he did. Not because I take his word for it or because I don’t believe any of the people who have said he cheated.
It’s because I’m left with the facts: Armstrong never once failed a drug test. He didn’t take a couple or a few: he took and passed several hundred. So if he does sit down to tell Oprah that he took steroids or HGH or whatever it is, I still have to question the I.O.C. for never catching him. If rumors ran rampant (as they did) and he was given as many unannounced and unexpected tests as he was, where are the positive tests? Where’s the proof?
I can’t wrap my head around the fact that one man was able to flick off the system for as long as he was alleged to do without trapping himself or getting caught in at least one lie.
But even without irrefutable proof, he has still been declared guilty. He has been stripped of his Tour de France titles; he’s lost his position at the foundation he and his cancer battle founded and lost his endorsement deals. He suffers a similar fate as some of baseball players from the late 1990s: never failed a test but still seen as tainted because of what others did.
So is Lance Armstrong guilty? Maybe he is and he’ll describe at length every single thing he did while talking to Oprah. I’ll stop seeing him as an incredible human being who was able to come back from insurmountable odds to be one of the best at what he did and see him as a fraud and someone unworthy of admiring.
Maybe everything others said about him was true after all, but the I.O.C. had chance after chance to gather the necessary evidence it needed to prove that Armstrong was a dirty cyclist. They never did. They blew it and must take responsibility for enabling a testing system that allowed for such incompetence to exist when Armstrong and many others accused of doping were still active cyclists.
(Also posted on woodypaige.com)