2 thoughts on “Cyclist Lance Armstrong’s downfall

  1. http://wsws.org/en/articles/2013/01/29/corr-j29.html

    26 January 2013

    On “Lance Armstrong and the world of professional sports”

    Writing as a long-time cycling fan, I enjoyed your take on the Lance Armstrong affair. I would remind you, for any similar articles in the future, that professional cycling has been associated with illegal and unauthorized substances and techniques since its beginning. I think that your attempt to position Armstrong in the broader social context is a good line of enquiry.

    Another issue that is not raised very often is the athlete as precarious worker. A number of Armstrong teammates have testified that their employment on his team would have been, or was, jeopardized if they did not follow his “program.” While Armstrong was an athlete like all other cyclists, he was a “boss” in two senses: he was the team captain with de facto power to hire and fire and he acquired an ownership stake in the team at some point.

    At the least, discussion of the work issues faced by professional athletes, and possible avenues of amelioration, could cause other workers to reflect on their own situations.

    Mark S
    27 January 2013

    ***

    Lance Armstrong and Oprah Winfrey both bent over backwards to ensure the focus stayed on him. There was no mention of external pressure to win. There was no mention of how much the UCI and sponsors benefited from his back-to back “victories”. There was mutual respect between Oprah and Lance, “there but for the grace of god go I”. Incredibly the “one-on one” style of the interview makes one forget that they both have armies of lawyers and accountants behind them.

    The interview was designed to minimize financial settlements with a show of contrition. Obviously Armstrong was directed to not name names, to minimize legal action that would, this time, be overwhelmingly suing him.

    The concept promoted that it was an “individual” matter for “individual reasons” is a farce. The entire Tour de France is built around team members, sponsors, organisers, spectators, viewers and media organisations. To say that a lead rider could “go rogue” for seven years is ridiculous.

    One must recall Armstrong only stopped fighting allegations after WADA produced comprehensive and overwhelming evidence.

    The interview was a result of, not so much an epiphany by Armstrong, but an admission that the jig was up. The interview resulted from pressure by lawyers and accountants that the best way to avoid future bankruptcy was by coming clean. It was an exercise in damage control. Armstrong showed a tiny bit of remorse at best, forced upon him by external pressures.

    Armstrong reiterated his old claim that he had never failed a drug test during the years he won the Tour. If this is true, which is possible, it calls into question the efficacy of drug tests in all sports and the Olympics. We are constantly told “ The tests have improved since then”. How long can we believe that they are effective, or that all sportspeople are treated equally in the testing? There are doubtless other Armstrongs in the Spanish Vuelta and the Italian Giro.

    Stan M
    26 January 2013

  2. Pingback: Baseball steroids scandal in the USA | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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