I will leave a blog about myself till tomorrow, tonight I’m going to write about what everyone has been discussing in sport the last few days…..the interview….and give my take on things.
I learnt, when I was a child, that what my friend did, did not mean that I should do it, or even that what he did, meant that my other friends also did it. Often I would hear the phrase “so if he jumped off a cliff, would you do that too?!”
I watched the Lance Armstrong “interview” today, all the way, both episodes. I guess I was never truly convinced he was clean, having heard stories about cycling in the 90s and such, but I was also never convinced he was dirty either….I was happy being in limbo, just like ‘Schrodinger’s Cat’, saying “hey, he’s just awesome at what he does. If everyone does drugs, then he is simply the best person who does drugs in cycling, and competes”.
There is no doubt in my mind, that the hours and hours AND HOURS of training that the machine who is L.A. did, made him the winner he was, not just the drugs. In fact, how do we know how much benefit the drugs actually did for him? This is something we will never know. I know there are research papers out there (having done a lot of reading articles and journals recently) that will be able to state how much benefit people have doing drugs in sport, but every man/woman is different, and each body will react differently to what is put in them.
The fact that he was a bully, an intimidator, and as the program described “a jerk”, only made me sad. This is a fellow human who felt the need to attack others in order to defend himself. I pity him, and I pity those close to him who had to deal with that animal during his heyday, and who couldn’t stand up to him, and say NO. I know there were some who tried, but if people constantly tried from close in, more could have been found out at an earlier date.
What also came to my mind was that he was so insecure in himself, that he felt his only way to succeed was to take drugs. How often have I trained and competed, and felt sooooo bad, that I wondered what I was actually doing? Did I have a right to be on the same piece of tarmac, grass or track as these other athletes? Was I wasting my time? Was I a joke? Should I just pack it all in? I can safely say, not once have I been in the position, or state of mind, where I felt my way out was to take drugs. I had a “friend”, more like an acquaintance, who I did some training with while I stayed in America, who was done for drugs last year. It blew my mind. Here was a guy I was friendly with, and chatted to, and ran with, and now he’s a cheat! The problem that was documented with him was that he had been injured, and wasn’t getting any races, meaning his income was low, and he just needed to get fit as quick as he could to be able to survive…. I knew he had been depressed about his running, because he hadn’t been as fit as he wanted after some horrific injuries, and he had considered quitting because he just didn’t enjoy it anymore. But when running is your life, and it’s how you make a living, I guess anything in your mind can be made to look like a viable option. But the fact that I was friendly with this person, did runs with him, did a couple of sessions with him, does this mean that I too do drugs?? I’ll let you draw your own conclusions on that one.
Anyway, the point I’m putting across is, yes, L.A. did drugs, and yes, he acted like a complete jerk these last years while denying everything that people said about him, but he is one man. I have read articles from the likes of Mark Cavendish, saying how damaging this is for cycling, and that everyone should not be tarred with the same brush. The funny thing is, I don’t – and any athletes out there will say the same thing. I believe that all athletes are different, and because one does something, it doesn’t constitute my right to say “everyone does that”. The analogy I will use is ‘meet John, he’s my best mate, and we do everything together. He smokes by the way’. Do you now think that I smoke too, because smoking is a contagious thing, and peer pressure is what usually starts people on that road. I don’t, and it’s because I choose not to, and I know it’s a bad thing.
This is what you need to believe with athletes, we are not all “win at all costs”, and therefore because someone does drugs does not mean that everyone does. If you are in doubt about cycling, don’t be. All sports are cleaner than they have ever been, and the cheaters are slowly getting weeded out. It’s the same with running – the cheats are, and will be, getting caught.
But the same goes for the Cavendishs out there – the athletes who fear nobody will believe they are clean – not everybody thinks that sport is “all” drugs, so don’t tar them with the same brush either.
There are millions of people out there who love sport for what it is; a spectacle, to take our minds away from a mundane life, and give us that bit of excitement to watch, letting us marvel at how great the human body can be when it is trained to exceptional levels. So don’t fret about what has been done by others, concentrate on only what you can do, and win clean.