Tuesday, August 28, 2012


Lance Armstrong Stripped of his Titles


What is it with all of this weeping and gnashing of teeth for Lance Armstrong? He cheated, he got caught.


After years of denial, he has finally agreed to go along with the decision of the United States Anti-Doping Agency. “Today I will turn the page. I will no longer address this issue regardless of the circumstance”.


I have listened to talk show hosts on the radio. I have heard the commentators on television. I am saddened by most of their comments, and those of the people who call into their shows.


Many observers are condemning the USDA for what they refer to as a “witch hunt”. They feel that the employees at the agency went after Armstrong mercilessly, just to exonerate themselves. They have stripped Armstrong of many of his titles, and have given him a lifetime ban. He won the prestigious Tour de France seven times; those victories have been removed from his record.


Armstrong will now be considered in the same category as Ben Johnson, the Canadian sprinter who was stripped of his gold medal at the Olympics in 1988. It was the lowest point in Canadian sport history, that day when they removed his gold medal because of his use of a banned substance. A documentary entitled “9.79” is being shown for the first time at the Toronto International Film Festival this year. That was the time Johnson recorded in winning the 100 metre race.


An American female sprinter, Marion Jones also lost three gold medals following the 2000 Games in Sydney, because she confessed to taking drugs at that time.


Almost a dozen athletes were either sent home from the recent Games in London, or were stripped of their medals for taking banned substances. Once they admit their guilt, they will tell you two things: they did not think they would get caught, and they did not think they could compete without the banned substance.


Despite the best efforts of the drug detection devices and systems, it appears that the bad guys are keeping a step ahead of the good guys. Those who wish to enhance their performances through the use of prohibited drugs and blood doping systems have learned sophisticated methods to avoid detection. They use “masking agents”, and they time their cycles to appear clean.


Baseball put another player on the shelf recently, for fifty games. Bartolo Colon was having an exceptional year, compared to previous seasons. He was a key reliever in the Oakland bullpen. He is well-travelled, sometimes a sign that a particular player might have a checkered past. Throughout his career, he has averaged almost three walks per nine innings. This year, he shaved that number in half, without renewing his prescription with the optometrist! His earned run average was his best in ten years, when he climbed the mound for the Montreal Expos. How soon we forget!

There was a team in Quebec, at one time.


Lance Armstrong’s association with cancer agencies has raised significant amounts of money for the cause. For that he is to be commended. But he has lived his life with that little white lie always hovering in the background, and now he must face the music. Don’t expect to have to support a tag day for Mr. Armstrong. I am certain he is a millionaire, several times over.


But those gains were ill-gotten, says I. And I don’t like it, one damn bit. You now have what you deserve, Lance.


James Hurst


August 26, 2012.

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