The Fallen

What would you do if you were a hunted icon? Understandably Lance Armstrong, the seven-time Tour de France winner (1999-2005), has recently faced pressure far greater than when he was still competing and it’s all because of his doping scandal. Difficult times. Sleepless nights. But, did he really do it?

Still what made this doping allegation intriguing and the findings conclusive is due to the consecutive years Armstrong had won the Title. It’s amazingly unbelievable! Three in a row is already awesome but 7 is really suspicious, Wow!

See, corticosteroids which was said to be positively tested in Armstrong back in 1999 is prohibited in sports. Thus, the UCI has finally handed down its verdict to strip off Armstrong’s Tour Titles and ban him from all cycling-related competitions for life.

Well, if it was cocaine, it’d only make you “high”; and while it maybe bad for the user, for his body and as a role model, it’s not exactly bad for the sport. Whew! Why? Because cocaine doesn’t “really” contribute to your physical strength. Hence, he should only be suspended not banned from cycling. More so, the Titles that would be stripped off him should be those on the presumed years he did it, and not all. Still, he does not deserve the backing of sponsors and the monies he was rewarded.

But it’s corticosteroids, a forbidden drug, and so the banning and stripping of all Titles.

Now, should he go to jail then? Yes, if he bribed UCI or connived with doctors to cheat doping tests. On the other hand, officials and doctors responsible for such despicable acts should be reprimanded as well not just given simple terminations. As for others who doped, as you know, they are already under suspension.

What about LiveStrong? Well, Armstrong founded this as a cancer survivor trying to help out those in similar conditions; therefore, his doping has really nothing to do with the Foundation. Besides, he’s doing well, no reason to step down. After all, LiveStrong would not have reached 15 years hadn’t he made it work. See, generally Executives with a “sports” background has impeccable people skills being innately able to understand and impress teamwork, resiliency, focus and all. Yet as a result of his unmeritorious act, he did the right thing to step down and try to cool those burning glares.

Cycling is indeed in troubled waters now and bringing it back to respectability is the challenge their Leaders have to face.

Clean and Revive the Sport by…

• Renaming the organization. For whatever entity, a name could spell the difference of its fate. In this case, the International Cycling Union or UCI. Notice the acronym? UCI. It is actually the reverse for ICU which stands for “intensive care unit”. No wonder they reversed the acronym. Interestingly funny but then, for the sport to change its fortunes – it better change its name and not just its acronym. Otherwise, being a palindrome, scandals would just keep occurring.
• Fixing dope testing and regularly doing it specially to known cyclists. Do this on random batches all year round not just before competitions for at least 5 years. And have those lab results reviewed and published.
• Requiring doctors and officials engaged in the sport to have periodic declarations of assets and liabilities. This could be tricky, but that’s one way to sort of track people’s financial activities; thence, legal and proper paper works should be assured.
• Being low profile for a couple of years. This will lessen the people’s critical attitude towards the sport which is essential specially when rebuilding.

In time, sponsors, fans and alike would start returning once they sense the effort exerted by the governing body.

October 31 is Lance Armstrong’s last chance to save his tarnished reputation. If he is indeed clean as he claims to be, he should make an appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS); otherwise, his legacy would be forever doomed.

What’s your take?