T Nation

Lance Armstrong: Cheater or Legend?

My blog: http://xfactorwolverine.blogspot.com

On January 17, 2013, Lance Armstrong admitted to using performance enhancing drugs on national television in an interview with Oprah Winfrey. The consequences of his openness caused public outrage as the media incorrectly labeled him as a cheater and vilified him for his martyrdom to willingly destroy his legacy as the best cyclist to ever live and strip himself from every single cycling win since August of 1988, all for the sake of honesty. Every media outlet is having a ball in their unfair portrayal of Mr. Armstrong as a man who did not deserve to win because he used illegal substances. So my question, aimed at anyone wasting their time reading this, is two-fold: Why is he being labeled a cheater for juicing, and more importantly, why is anyone even surprised?

The fact of the matter is that performance enhancing drugs such as testosterone, anabolic steroids, and human growth hormone are used by every single athlete who competes at an elite level. There is not an individual who holds a world record in any athletic endeavor who has not taken extreme amounts of steroids to make that possible. In the sport of cycling, the frequency, intensity, and volume of training that is required to compete at an elite level is impossible to recover from without chemical assistance. Lance essentially trained his balls off (or rather, ball) on his bike for 6 hours a day, each day, for decades in order to achieve the level of fitness required to win 7 consecutive Tour de France gold medals.

In the highest echelon of athletic competition, there are 3 requirements to be a champion: having the best genetics, complete and utter dedication to training, and most importantly… taking performance enhancing drugs. Most people severely underestimate the power of anabolic steroids. Even the most gifted natural athlete would not even be in the same ballpark of achievement as an average athlete with chemical assistance. I will use a personal anecdote to describe the seemingly magical effect that anabolic steroids have on the human body in order to paint an accurate picture of what is going on here.

I am a natural bodybuilder. Not to toot my own horn, but I consider myself to have above-average genetics for building muscle. Possibly even great genetics. I was introduced to lifting weights when I was 17 years old, around the time I graduated from high school. I quickly noticed that I was able to get stronger while having almost no idea what I was doing. I had poor exercise selection, I wasn’t consistent, I didn’t eat enough, and I partied a bit too hard. I had no one to guide me and thus had to learn everything that I know now about weight lifting by my own, through experience and research. Despite the aforementioned, I was still able to make noticeable gains. Nothing too major, but noticeable enough that people commented about it.

Now that I am 20 and have studied sports science down to a… well, a science, I am making the best gains of my life. To be specific, I have put on roughly 30 pounds of muscle since I started lifting 3 years ago, with 15 of those pounds being from the last 6 months. A natural male bodybuilder with above-average genetics can expect to roughly gain 2 pounds of muscle a month if he does everything right. Remember that estimate as I will now compare that to my friend who did just one cycle of steroids. As opposed to Lance, who took a bi cycle of steroids.

Heh.

Anyway, my friend, who shall remain nameless, decided that he was going to juice for 6 weeks in the summer of 2011. And he was going to juice hard. Specifically, he was going to use the most powerful oral steroid known to man: Anadrol.

Before his cycle, he stood rail thin at 150 pounds and 6’3. For just 6 weeks, he took 150 milligrams of Anadrol per day, along with a 500 milligram weekly testosterone injection. For those who are not in the know, that means his testosterone levels were elevated to 10 times the natural amount, which is around 50 milligrams per week for a healthy 19 year old male. What were the results?

I have no reason to be politically correct here. Quite frankly, he blew the fuck up. In just 6 weeks, he put on 50 pounds of muscle… Let me repeat that for dramatic effect. 50 pounds of muscle in 42 days. He literally grew more than a a pound of muscle each night. He was able to make more than a lifetime of muscle gains in 6 weeks. No disrespect to him, but that number could have been close to 70 if he bothered to train his legs. His bench press increased from a measly 135 to a manly 300+ in slightly over a month. That, ladies and gentlemen, is exactly how powerful performance enhancing drugs are.

At the top level, everyone uses steroids. There is no unfair advantage to using because everyone uses. It is a given. Steroids, along with any other performance enhancing drugs, simply raise the level of competition. Surely, one cannot expect to be a champion just by using. Champions still pour their blood, sweat, and tears into their training, steroids or not. There is no getting around the fact that these athletes still have to work hard. Given the fact that steroids allow athletes the option of training harder and longer, the argument can be made that performance enhancing drugs force athletes to put even more effort and time into their training than if they were natural. So to call Lance Armstrong a “cheater” is diametrically opposed to the reality that he is anything but a cheater. He is a champion, and, in my eyes, even more so because he had the ball to admit the truth. Err… meant the gall.

So this begs the question: Why are people even surprised? To keep the answer as simple as possible, it is because most people are stupid and are out of touch with reality. Coming from a nut like me, that’s really saying something.

I have learned from personal experience that honesty isn’t always the best policy. That being said, Lance shouldn’t have admitted his drug use. I personally have no idea why he would do such a thing. Perhaps the years of taking steroids finally gave him the strength to admit the truth. Now he has to face a huge public backlash and millions of dollars lost to sponsorships.

Looks like he really dropped the ball with this one.

He sued a very large number of people for saying something about him that we now know to be true. Fuck him.

[quote]smh23 wrote:
He sued a very large number of people for saying something about him that we now know to be true. Fuck him.[/quote]

Well, at the time they couldn’t prove it so technically it was libel.

Also, why did my post unnecessarily add all the @@!!&* randomly throughout? I can’t seem to edit it out.

[quote]WolverineRage wrote:

[quote]smh23 wrote:
He sued a very large number of people for saying something about him that we now know to be true. Fuck him.[/quote]

Well, at the time they couldn’t prove it so technically it was libel.

Also, why did my post unnecessarily add all the @@!!&* randomly throughout? I can’t seem to edit it out.
[/quote]

Probably quotation marks, they don’t paste in well.

Anyway, Armstrong may have won some libel cases, but it wasn’t libel because something that is true cannot be defamatory by definition.

And that’s not even the point: they knew it was true, he knew it was true, and he sued them anyway.

So fuck the guy.

[quote]smh23 wrote:
He sued a very large number of people for saying something about him that we now know to be true. Fuck him.[/quote]

Yep, he took people to court and ruined peoples lives. Karma, he’s getting it.

Here’s the thing that gets me… A lot of us know deep down that if we had the chance to make it huge at something like Armstrong did, we would do it, we would use the performance enhancers, we would probably be totally eaten up by the sport and that’s what would be important.

What I’m wondering is, did Lance really have any other options? I’m imagining myself in a similar situation… I’m on top of the world, haters are hating and making accusations which could ruin my career… I’m doing the same thing others are going, so I would feel justified in my cheating. Am I going to let the accusation fly and ignore it which is risky when people start making such accusations without you defending yourself, or am I going to stick up for myself the way I think someone would if they weren’t cheating? When is someone going to just come out and say that just about every cyclist is or was on epo? What’s being done for the next tour’s, and why is it only Lance that is being crucified?

Really, it’s complicated. The public doesn’t understand, and athletes are generally too concerned with saving their own skin, or taking advantage of a situation where they are set up to win if they just keep their mouth shut.

[quote]smh23 wrote:
He sued a very large number of people for saying something about him that we now know to be true. Fuck him.[/quote]

Lance just couldn’t keep this quiet no matter how hard he tried. Yet, certain people on other threads think that a far more important occurrence allegedly involving many more people can be kept quiet. How silly.

As or Lance he knew the rules and broke them should there be anyone feeling sorry for this sleaze bag? Don’t get me wrong I couldn’t care less about steroid use. However, I do care about the rules of the game. Allow everyone to use steroids or no one. Currently no one is allowed to use and he did. Therefore, he deserves the derision coming his way.

[quote]ZEB wrote:

[quote]smh23 wrote:
He sued a very large number of people for saying something about him that we now know to be true. Fuck him.[/quote]

Lance just couldn’t keep this quiet no matter how hard he tried. Yet, certain people on other threads think that a far more important occurrence allegedly involving many more people can be kept quiet. How silly.

As or Lance he knew the rules and broke them should there be anyone feeling sorry for this sleaze bag? Don’t get me wrong I couldn’t care less about steroid use. However, I do care about the rules of the game. Allow everyone to use steroids or no one. Currently no one is allowed to use and he did. Therefore, he deserves the derision coming his way.[/quote]

Completely agreed. And, like I said, he sued people for saying something that we now know to be true.

He’s a pussy. I hate it when people can’t own their own shit. He did it, he knew what he was doing, he wasn’t sorry about it, then and he isn’t sorry now. Why would he be? It made him a millionaire.
I would rather he just say, that he did it and was glad he did it because it made him successful where he would have been a failure.
That whole “I am sorry” bullshit on Oprah just makes me want to punch him in the head. It doesn’t help that he is an arrogant jerk.
And then on top of all that, he tried and succeeded at ruining other peoples lives to perpetuate a lie. This isn’t the worst thing that can happen to him. 2 years from now, nobody will even remember this shit.
I hope those people sue the shit out of him and take him for all he is worth. Let him have to work for a living. Dick.

I’ll take the opposite stance. Obviously I’ve never met Lance Armstrong, and he could be the biggest douche in the world for all I know. But in the same way that he screwed people over by suing them, weren’t they trying to screw up his life? I mean if I were Lance, I’d be thinking fuck them. Who do they think they are trying to shit all over me and my accomplishments? The doping level in cycling is near 100% at the top. He outworked them and out trained them, and here are some people choosing to fuck with him and not the rest. Why couldn’t they just let him be or go after everyone equitably?

What if I arbitrarily started going after top powerlifters or olympians who compete in drug tested competitions? I’d be a fucking dick that’s what. Because I know just like those people know that they’re all taking drugs and if you try to bring one of them down you’re not doing it out of some morally superior position, championing truth and fighting against cheating. You’re doing it out of malice, because you just don’t like the guy or you’re jealous.

So fuck them.

[quote]csulli wrote:
I’ll take the opposite stance. Obviously I’ve never met Lance Armstrong, and he could be the biggest douche in the world for all I know. But in the same way that he screwed people over by suing them, weren’t they trying to screw up his life? I mean if I were Lance, I’d be thinking fuck them. Who do they think they are trying to shit all over me and my accomplishments? The doping level in cycling is near 100% at the top. He outworked them and out trained them, and here are some people choosing to fuck with him and not the rest. Why couldn’t they just let him be or go after everyone equitably?

What if I arbitrarily started going after top powerlifters or olympians who compete in drug tested competitions? I’d be a fucking dick that’s what. Because I know just like those people know that they’re all taking drugs and if you try to bring one of them down you’re not doing it out of some morally superior position, championing truth and fighting against cheating. You’re doing it out of malice, because you just don’t like the guy or you’re jealous.

So fuck them.[/quote]

They might be assholes, but no one should be sued for saying something that is true. No one, ever. And if they are, and the person who’s doing the suing knows that the “defamatory statement” was in fact true, then he is in the wrong by definition.

[quote]smh23 wrote:

[quote]csulli wrote:
I’ll take the opposite stance. Obviously I’ve never met Lance Armstrong, and he could be the biggest douche in the world for all I know. But in the same way that he screwed people over by suing them, weren’t they trying to screw up his life? I mean if I were Lance, I’d be thinking fuck them. Who do they think they are trying to shit all over me and my accomplishments? The doping level in cycling is near 100% at the top. He outworked them and out trained them, and here are some people choosing to fuck with him and not the rest. Why couldn’t they just let him be or go after everyone equitably?

What if I arbitrarily started going after top powerlifters or olympians who compete in drug tested competitions? I’d be a fucking dick that’s what. Because I know just like those people know that they’re all taking drugs and if you try to bring one of them down you’re not doing it out of some morally superior position, championing truth and fighting against cheating. You’re doing it out of malice, because you just don’t like the guy or you’re jealous.

So fuck them.[/quote]

They might be assholes, but no one should be sued for saying something that is true. No one, ever. And if they are, and the person who’s doing the suing knows that the “defamatory statement” was in fact true, then he is in the wrong by definition.[/quote]

No you’re right. I’m presented with a dilemma. You shouldn’t be punished for telling the truth; that is absurd. I detest lying, but at the same time I also despise crucifying athletes for PED’s. I hate how athletes are pretty much forced to lie about it in order to keep doing what they love. It’s their whole life, and I know many of them would like nothing more than to just have it out in the open, but as soon as they do, they can’t compete, which is EVERYTHING to them.

[quote]csulli wrote:

[quote]smh23 wrote:

[quote]csulli wrote:
I’ll take the opposite stance. Obviously I’ve never met Lance Armstrong, and he could be the biggest douche in the world for all I know. But in the same way that he screwed people over by suing them, weren’t they trying to screw up his life? I mean if I were Lance, I’d be thinking fuck them. Who do they think they are trying to shit all over me and my accomplishments? The doping level in cycling is near 100% at the top. He outworked them and out trained them, and here are some people choosing to fuck with him and not the rest. Why couldn’t they just let him be or go after everyone equitably?

What if I arbitrarily started going after top powerlifters or olympians who compete in drug tested competitions? I’d be a fucking dick that’s what. Because I know just like those people know that they’re all taking drugs and if you try to bring one of them down you’re not doing it out of some morally superior position, championing truth and fighting against cheating. You’re doing it out of malice, because you just don’t like the guy or you’re jealous.

So fuck them.[/quote]

They might be assholes, but no one should be sued for saying something that is true. No one, ever. And if they are, and the person who’s doing the suing knows that the “defamatory statement” was in fact true, then he is in the wrong by definition.[/quote]

No you’re right. I’m presented with a dilemma. You shouldn’t be punished for telling the truth; that is absurd. I detest lying, but at the same time I also despise crucifying athletes for PED’s. I hate how athletes are pretty much forced to lie about it in order to keep doing what they love. It’s their whole life, and I know many of them would like nothing more than to just have it out in the open, but as soon as they do, they can’t compete, which is EVERYTHING to them.[/quote]

I agree with you. It is a dilemma, because on the one hand the guy’s being crucified while Donte Stallworth makes his return to the Patriots.

On the other hand, though, suing somebody over what both parties know to be truth is simply detestable.

[quote]smh23 wrote:

[quote]csulli wrote:
I’ll take the opposite stance. Obviously I’ve never met Lance Armstrong, and he could be the biggest douche in the world for all I know. But in the same way that he screwed people over by suing them, weren’t they trying to screw up his life? I mean if I were Lance, I’d be thinking fuck them. Who do they think they are trying to shit all over me and my accomplishments? The doping level in cycling is near 100% at the top. He outworked them and out trained them, and here are some people choosing to fuck with him and not the rest. Why couldn’t they just let him be or go after everyone equitably?

What if I arbitrarily started going after top powerlifters or olympians who compete in drug tested competitions? I’d be a fucking dick that’s what. Because I know just like those people know that they’re all taking drugs and if you try to bring one of them down you’re not doing it out of some morally superior position, championing truth and fighting against cheating. You’re doing it out of malice, because you just don’t like the guy or you’re jealous.

So fuck them.[/quote]

They might be assholes, but no one should be sued for saying something that is true. No one, ever. And if they are, and the person who’s doing the suing knows that the “defamatory statement” was in fact true, then he is in the wrong by definition.[/quote]

I don’t care about the drugs. My problem is the lies, deception, arrogance, and character assassination of others in order to perpetuate said lie.
I don’t care if you drug. I understand the reasoning behind trying to avoid getting caught. But once the gig is up, deal with it and be a man. The most sickening, disgraceful, and disrespectful part of this shit is the ‘apology’.
Fuck your “I’m sorry”. More lies. How stupid does he think we are? It’s just yet another cover up. If you do’em and you get caught, man up.
Say “Hell yeah I did it, I had to if I wanted to compete and hell no I am not sorry about it. You can take the trophy, but I still won.” <- That without all the attempt to destroy others would eek out a tiny molecule of respect. The assholeness is what I can’t get past. I know most pro’s have, or are doing some sort of drug.
The good news about steroids is you’ll always be stronger for having done them, then if not. So even if you did them 10 years ago and have been clean ever since, your still a step ahead of where you would have been.

[quote]pat wrote:
“Hell yeah I did it, I had to if I wanted to compete and hell no I am not sorry about it. You can take the trophy, but I still won.”[/quote]

Precisely what he should have said.

[quote]smh23 wrote:

[quote]pat wrote:
“Hell yeah I did it, I had to if I wanted to compete and hell no I am not sorry about it. You can take the trophy, but I still won.”[/quote]

Precisely what he should have said.[/quote]

Agreed!

legend

He’s a piece of shit that knowingly ruined people’s lives for telling the truth and seemingly has no remorse about it.

I’m going to be an asshole for a minute here. What happened? Armstrong had a case of cancer and then had to retrain himself. He should be telling everyone how he did it since he obviously has a system that can take someone from death’s doorstep and turn them into a world class athlete. I would have no trouble at all with him juicing as part of his recovery.

The real problem then is why he couldn’t come clean (look at the way they are treating him) and the fact that now every major cyclist is doping. If he didn’t, he’d be at a disadvantage. Sure he’s an asshole but damned near all the rest of them are peas in a pod too. The honest ones are in the back of the pack.

I still think there ought to be a special category in these competitions for the attending physician. Whoever’s patient kicks the most ass gets the medal. It would sure take the edge out of winning if Lance’s doctor got the glory and nobody mentioned Lance.

– jj

[quote]jj-dude wrote:
I’m going to be an asshole for a minute here. What happened? Armstrong had a case of cancer and then had to retrain himself. He should be telling everyone how he did it since he obviously has a system that can take someone from death’s doorstep and turn them into a world class athlete. I would have no trouble at all with him juicing as part of his recovery.
[/quote]

He wasn’t juicing ‘as part of his recovery’ because he was juicing before he got cancer. That’s a pretty important detail. I also don’t believe that he had a ‘system’ for going from cancer to Tour de France winner. Once he was cancer-free, it’s back to whatever training he was already doing. A year post-cancer, a full recovery is not exactly unheard of.

[quote]DoubleDuce wrote:
He’s a piece of shit that knowingly ruined people’s lives for telling the truth and seemingly has no remorse about it.[/quote]

That’s my problem. He was expecting others to take a bullet for him. Why? Cause he’s Lance Armstrong! He and Roger Clemens are in the same boat as far as I am concerned…The S.S. Asshole.