Thanks a lot, Lance Armstrong.
You’ve made our job as parents even tougher.
Only a week ago, many of us still considered you a hero – a gritty competitor from the United States who had won an unprecedented seven consecutive Tour de France bicycle races. To add to your legend, you’d accomplished the feat after courageously defeating cancer.
You seemed like the perfect role model for our kids, Lance. You epitomized hard work, determination and goal-setting.
Or so we thought. Now, Lance, you’ve been exposed as a liar, a fraud, a con man, a scumbag – I could go on.
The final chapter in his sorry saga occurred today when the International Cycling Union stripped him of his Tour de France titles from 1999 to 2005 and banned him from competition for life.
My only complaint: The death penalty didn’t come sooner.
Armstrong “has no place in cycling,” the cycling union president said.
Lance, you’ve duped an entire country — even world — who wanted to love you. I know, as parents, we shouldn’t make jocks role models. They inevitably let us down.
Think of Tiger Woods and his serial philandering that cost him his marriage and his reputation.
When the Woods scandal broke a few years ago, I thought he was the lowest of the low. He had a beautiful wife and beautiful kids – and he subjected them to humiliation by sleeping with an untold number of women.
But Tiger, for all his indiscretions, didn’t cheat in his sport to gain an unfair advantage.
Lance Armstrong did. Now we know that, without question, he routinely took performance-enhancing drugs to help him defeat other cyclists. And he pressured teammates to do the same. Plus, Lance orchestrated perhaps the greatest cover-up in sports history to hide the doping.
Armstrong deserves to be forgotten
My 12-year-old son, Connor, isn’t a cycling fan but he’s definitely aware of Armstrong.
When I picked him up at school the other day, this was his first statement:
“Did you hear about Lance Armstrong? Wow.”
“Yes,” I said, “it’s sickening. Some people will do anything to win.”
What else can we say as parents?
We want to teach our kids that good people exist – that it’s possible to get ahead by following the rules, not cheating. We’d rather them study hard and make an A than copy off someone else’s paper.
Lance Armstrong’s cheating – and then lying about it for years – undermines a central message we’re trying to teach our kids: That honesty matters.
Thanks a lot, Lance.