You know what the worst part of all this is? After all these years and all these battles, be it cancer, the Tour de France, whatever, Lance has always hid behind the “I’m a fighter” shtick that inspired so many of the people that supported him in the first place. He never had a problem yukking it up and tooting his own horn right in your fucking eardrum about his story. And in doing so he always connected his accomplishments to his illness and his triumphs. Almost as if he structured his image in such a way that if you said anything bad against him, you were the asshole because you weren’t just raising questions about an athlete, you were raising questions about a survivor and a fighter and a hero.
And it was all a crock of shit. Because if you’re going to craft this image of yourself that says you’ll fight through any adversity and overcome any obstacle and then you try and slink off into the shadows under the guise of “Enough is enough” then you’re as guilty as guilty gets. Nobody who’s ever been innocent of anything has ever just said “Eh fuck it I’m tired” and rolled over to take a nap on their legacy and their name and their accomplishments. If you’re innocent you do anything and everything to prove your innocence and you never stop until your name is cleared. Period. And you especially don’t quit when you’ve convinced millions of people and cancer survivors that you’re their shining beacon of hope and you use that image to rake in fame and fortune. If that’s the case you better make fucking sure that there isn’t an ounce of guilt on your record.
In the end, having less than a 50% chance at survival with all the various cancers he had and coming out alive makes him an inspiration, no question. But there’s lots of people who have beat those odds and didn’t shove steroid sticks up their ass in an attempt to convince everyone that their athletic accomplishments were intrinsically connected to the fighting spirit which lead to their initial survival. Doing that doesn’t make you a hero. It makes you a fucking asshole.
PS – Amazing that all of this essentially revolves around cycling, a sport which nobody really watches or cares about.
PPS – “It’s Not About The Bike” is the perfect name for a book about a guy who wins bike races with the help of steroids and PED’s. Can’t say he didn’t nail it with the ambiguity of that title.