Lance Edward Armstrong was an American hero: In October of 1996, he was diagnosed with testicular cancer that had spread to his brain and lungs. Near death, he battled back and beat cancer, then went on to win a world-record seven straight Tour de France cycling championships.
Yes, Lance we loved you. Not so much for winning all those championships, but for what you represented — the hope to beat the odds, and at the same time reaching athletic glory.
As for the rumors of Lance using performance-enhancing drugs? No way — not Lance. He assured us thousands of times, and test after test nothing was found. Certainly, it was more easy to believe in some witch hunt by the Union Cycliste Internationale.
Last week, we found out the truth as Lance confessed his sins to Oprah Winfrey. He not only cheated for years and years, he squashed anyone who dared to taint his name.
It’s sad really, and one can only speculate why he would lie and deceive for years. I do have a theory, though: Lance Armstrong is a product of American society’s message to win, and to win at all costs. It’s especially true in sports.
Do you remember the No Fear T-shirt that read “Second place is the first loser”? I do — Lenny Dykstra gave it to me back in the ’90s. Once a famous baseball player, Lenny — who has admitted to using steroids — is now in prison for his “win at all costs” philosophy in life.
Barry Bonds, Alex Rodriguez, Mark McGwire, Roger Clemens — all of these potential Hall of Famers cheated with drugs to win. Why? Because second place is the first loser — and nobody pays to see a loser.