Lance Armstrong: The positive spin

2013-01-21 23:07

Yes, Lance Armstrong is a despicable liar who bullied anyone who questioned his wins and fooled us all.

Like relentless peasants carrying clubs and pitchforks, Armstrong tirades have called for Lance to

A. Go to jail

B. Have all his bikes destroyed in a bonfire created from his books

C. Commit suicide

D. Lose his legs

E. Pay.

Roars that the *insert unending expletive here* can never be forgiven and that his apology is too late, too contrived, and too incomplete to believe are no doubt  demolishing the Lance Argument pie chart. He took the whole world for a ride and then pulled out the pedals.

Yes. Yes. He bruised a global ego. Sob sob.You didn't get a personal apology.

Here's the thing, the rights of the resulting novel following the despise of Lance Armstrong (in which he is not the author) has already been sold to be made into a film and no doubt the tearjerkers will be exploited -

Enter Lance. His son sits in his miniature yellow cycling gear watching competitive cycling on television.

Son: Dad, some day I want to be just like you.

Lance (looking down while touching his son’s shoulder): Don’t defend me anymore.

Whether a winner or not, he will forever be a infamous.

Lance could be a sociopath, he could be a pathological liar and he didn’t trick us once or twice but a gazillion times... The fact that he even brought up not calling Betsy Andreu fat makes us wonder whether  if he really grapples with the magnitude of his actions and whether there was any humility in his confession.

However, in every million or so angry/disappointed/hurt status updates/columns/tweets, there is one person who continues to ride alongside Lance, without a saddle, saying "Lance Armstrong is still my hero".

The truth is that, as much as he lied, ruined lives to hide his flaws and repetitively defeated a system and pretended to be worthy of the prize, Lance Armstrong still changed many lives. His books may be heading towards the fiction section of libraries (if not the recycling bin) but they had still changed people’s lives. People had read ‘It’s Not About the Bike’ and been inspired to reach their own dreams, to fight their own obstacles and never waste a moment not living their best possible lives. His Livestrong foundation helped billions, even if just people reading the website who felt motivated to make a positive change to their daily habits. Of all anti-heroes, Armstrong was more of the Robin Hood variety with a touch of the Hulk and maybe a pinch of Severus Snape.

You can almost imagine him, in a somewhat Julia Roberts voice, saying "I was just a man, standing in front of a trophy, and I really wanted it to be mine... over and over."

The proximity to death may have pushed “the disgraced cyclist” to new and unimaginable extremes but that desire to win at all costs... That's every sports hero. They push themselves, their principles and their beliefs, whether honestly or not, to inconceivable extremities and are first class candidates for the Al Pacino vanity joyride. They are born to defeat and conquer at all costs and they are not the only ones.

Where Lance Armstrong went wrong is that he got caught. There are politicians, businessmen, those self-help writers and many other people turning or trying to turn their off shore bank accounts into nine-digit balances while running those below them dry. We verbally stone Lance because he represents every other salesmen and ex-lover that duped us... even though, what he did, was more of an Earth-shattering on the Richter scale it still follows the basic concept of betrayal.

He could have continued his seven year lie and died a hero if he had just remembered to apply rule number one (and two) of the Despicable People’s Guide to Deceiving the World 101: remember to play human. His biggest downfall was portraying a life and an ability that was too perfect and, naturally, there were those who preferred so see him tumbling off his bike then signing another photo of himself.

Alas, Lance now lies in shattered bubbles but the change that he had put in motion will forever remain unchanged, as will his books on my shelf.

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