Awhile back I had a brainstorm. Because I have been asked countless times about Lance Armstrong, I placed him a sacred category. It’s the category of “topics-to-never-talk-about-at-a-bar.”There are only three other banned topics — abortion, politics and religion.
Armstrong is now in the group because like abortion, politics and religion, few people who ask about Lance Armstrong, other than friends and relatives, are interested in what I have to say. They really want to tell me their opinions.
Discussions on the Internet are different. In short, there’s little chance of a bar fight.
I’ve spoken and written a lot about Armstrong on the Internet and with numerous mainstream television and radio outlets. But the Internet, the virtual version of sitting at a bar, is a largely safe place to hear what others are saying about the now former seven-time Tour de France winner:
Here’s a good cross-section of opinions, mine excluded:
“Lance Armstrong is the luckiest man on earth. He is alive when, by all reason, he should not be. That he has not realized what a gift he was given when so many other worthy people died of cancer is, perhaps, the greatest tragedy here. By behaving the way that he has, he has squandered his gift and become known as the world’s most selfish athlete. He is Scrooge to Floyd Landis’ Marley.”
—- Partial comment from a New York Times (online edition) reader.
“I know what truth is. I know my past. Not telling or selling my tales to the press is my choice – one that I made primarily for my children. And there are many things that I am not free to discuss because I am constrained by legal principles like marital privilege, confidentiality and non-disclosure agreements.
And frankly, I am thankful for that, because my energy and focus need to be directed towards my children. To the world, Lance may be a source of admiration or suspicion, but to me he is simply my wasband and the father of my children. His choices were, and are, his. And mine are mine. And they haven’t always been pretty.”
-— Kristin Armstrong, Lance Armstrong’s former wife, via her “running” column on Runner’sWorld.com.
“In the Hall of Shame, Armstrong’s hubris ranks as more rancid than that of Barry Bonds, a mean, paranoid jerk. Armstrong can be a jerk, too, albeit a charismatic one. But the Armstrong myth was not just fostered by dishonesty but by the deep emotions of his fans. Bonds produced disgust. Armstrong broke hearts.”
—- Linda Robertson, columnist Miami Herald.
“It’s a hugely unenviable position. He has lied, almost pathologically, for years. If he admits the truth now, he opens himself up to enormous civil and potentially criminal liability. His fortune could be wiped out. He could be convicted of perjury. He could lose everything he has.
“But he will likely lose some of that no matter what he does. And almost everything he has is built on a lie. If he continues, ultimately the only person who will still be deluded by those lies is Armstrong himself.
—- Joe Lindsey, Boulder Report, Bicycling Magazine Online.
“I shit you not, my wife has just sent me to the supermarket to get bread and water.”
—- Confessed Doper, Tour de France stage winner, current Garmin-Sharp team member David Millar on Twitter.
“I was inclined (to think) surely he doesn’t dope, but now I look a fool, to be quite frank. Quite clearly he has had a program going, with all the other guys. I am like everybody else. I had no idea such an in-depth drug scheme was taking place.
“I spent many hours with Armstrong over the years, but only at functions, doing things for him like MC-ing his cancer events. I wouldn’t call Lance a friend because you can’t get that close to him. But I really thought he was clean, and in 2003, he actually told me to my face, in his own room. So obviously I am devastated.”
—- Phil Liggett, long-time television cycling commentator Phil Liggett in an interview in the Daily Telegraph newspaper.