lance at le tour

[twitter]Pete Rose bet on baseball. Milli Vanilli lip synched. Lance Armstrong took drugs.

I’d like to play the Sesame Street game “one of these things just doesnt belong here,” but 2 more arrows have landed in Lance’s back this past few weeks and they are crushing.

George Hincapie and Tyler Hamilton were his most loyal of soldiers. Hamilton through the early days of the Blue Train and Hincapie for each of Armstrong’s 7 Tour de France wins. Now with these domestiques testifying before a grand jury looking into Armstrong’s past that they witnessed him take performance enhancing drugs, the jig is just about up.

Hamilton’s interview on 60 Minutes left me speechless. His nervousness to give answers and his embarrassment at the words he was speaking was deafening. This was the truth.

The usual denial from Armstrong came, as did a bolstering of his legal team.

I’m not one for idol worship, but I do have sports heroes. I wrote a post a few years ago (since lost in a site crash) called I Am Lance.

In it I wrote about how when I was a young goalie I would skate from board to board along the goal line at whistles like Richard Brodeur. I wrote about how I would skip and limp around the school at lunch time as if I was Terry Fox. I wrote about how, when faced with a tough training run I would mutter to myself “no gifts” and visualize Lance’s ascending L’Alpe D’Huez to complete my challenge.

Lance Armstrong was the closest thing I had to an idol.

Now this.

I can’t describe how the news hit me other than to say it would be like a 13 year old girl discovering that Justin Bieber is actually bald – the hair nothing but a wig. The one thing that gave him magical Samson-esque powers of persuasion nothing but a lie.

The thing that inspired me about Armstrong was his take no prisoners approach on the course. His huge comeback from insurmountable odds to dominate his sport and his endless commitment to give back were things I would often think about.

I took time out from a honeymoon in 2005 to watch the start of a TdF stage in Troyes, France (that’s the pic I took at the head of this article). An entire day on the train and waiting in the town for a 4 second glimpse of Armstrong leading the peleton out of town.

I wear yellow, a lot of yellow. Sure it helps that my name is Buzz and I have an affinity for wearing black and yellow as “my colours,” but I’m also a huge supporter of Armstrong’s Wear Yellow initiative.

Wristbands. Shoes, Jackets. T shirts. Hats. Gym bags. Jerseys. I have them all.

Now what do I do?

The fact that Armstrong took drugs doesn’t change the fact he faced cancer and beat it back. The fact that Armstrong took drugs doesn’t change the fact he’s the greatest advocate for the fight against cancer since Terry Fox.

Despite the tightening noose of the allegations, Armstrong’s businesses have never been stronger.

The fact that Armstrong took drugs does change the essence of his brand. The reason he’s famous. The reason I would get up in the pre-dawn hours each July to watch Le Tour. The reason I replay this video in my head when I’m hitting a wall.

It does, however, change a lot of things for people like me. The video in the middle of the article is from an Armstrong ride in Vancouver a few years ago. I raised nearly $2000 for that ride. I was contemplating joining Armstrong’s upcoming LinkPink 2011 in Calgary. Now I won’t.

I will, however, keep raising money for Team Diabetes and my push to complete the Cayman Islands Marathon. Insulin is a drug I can get behind.


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  1. Kerri. September 7, 2011 at 7:58 pm

    I, for one, am thankful that you’re supporting people with diabetes. The whole diabetes community benefits from your help, Buzz. Thank you for everything you do!

  2. JP October 17, 2012 at 9:40 am

    I have been posting quite a bit on FB about the collapse of both the Lance Armstrong and Livestrong brands. His Livestrong gear is on sale for more than 60% off, Nike has cancelled his contract, and he has stepped down from the Livestrong board. I think why it’s happening so fast is that he was so arrogant in his denials over the years. This was just another opponent he thought he could outrun like the rest, but the truth prevailed. I don’t like to build people up to the watch them fall but I do believe at my core that cheaters and liars should not come out on top. Those are the rules I apply to both my personal and professional life.

    Keep your moral compass straight and true and don’t stop your fundraising for diabetes, because the world could use more every day heroes in my opinion.

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