Thursday, June 14, 2012

Eyes on the Tri's

 I'm already cringing before I even post this.  But, since I suck at putting a lid on things, you guys know I'm gonna speak my mind.  Disclaimers:
My opinions are solely my own.
All of them have to do with PROCESS, not the situation.
I am only expressing my thoughts as an outsider.  Everything I know about the situation I have read, seen on television, or heard through such reputable (note the pink font) sites such as slowtwitch.
Oh yeah.  I'm going there.
For any triathletes living under a rock or for the "normal" people who could give a crap less about cycling or tri's, Lance Armstrong was banned by WTC yesterday from entering any of their races pending a USADA (United States Anti-Doping Agency) doping allegation from when Lance rode the Tour De France in 2001-2010.  (It looks like the allegations are centered around some unclear test results in 2009-2010, but, like much of the rest of the story, it's clear as mud).
What does that mean?  Well, he can't race IM France next week.  Or, possibly, Kona this year.  It's all up in the air, depending on how this investigation shakes out and how long it takes.  If he's found guilty, he could be banned from the sport, titles from Tour De France stripped.  If he's innocent...well, sadly, he doesn't have alot of recourse.  According to him, he's had 500 clean drug tests, so this, in essence, he calls a "witch hunt".
Of course, everyone in the tri community is up in arms about it.
And everyone has an opinion.  (we're triathletes, come on).'s mine. 
I have no idea if Lance ever "doped".  Part of me would not be surprised, but I am very much in favor of innocent until proven guilty.  USADA needs to prove their case, and I hope they have a damn good reason for dragging it out like this (some sources say they were waiting pending a previous investigation...sounds like the US to drag it out).
That said...I also agree with WTC.  If it is their policy to ban a pro "pending investigation" then they should do it.  I don't care who you are.  If we, as age groupers, sign up for Ironman Lake Placid and there's a freak tornado that cancels the race, do we get a refund?  No.  Do we get to race?  No.  It truly sucks, but Lance knew that was the deal when he signed on as pro.  With that said, I hope they can figure this out quickly, because if he is innocent, he deserves a shot at Kona just as much as everyone else.
Now, for the things that are flummoxing me with this uproar.  (Again, slowtwitch fodder.)  Even though there's nothing amusing about this, it's like a bad train just can't turn away....Anyways.  I do not understand:
1.  Why people are in such an uproar about taxpayer dollars and USADA.  Yes, they are grant funded, which technically means some of our tax payer dollars pay for them.  Are they doing exactly what they are supposed to do in terms of anti doping?  Um, yes.  I do wonder how long they can prolong it, but that's what they are funded to do.  Lance pretty much started this nonsense in his statement of response with tax payer dollars....the way I look at it is similar to where I work (Catholic Family Center).  We are grant funded.  However, our agency serves clients based on our mission.  Is it legal to get an abortion in the US?  Yup.  Can I help you do it as a social worker?  Nope.  It's against our company policy.  So do we make crack babies?  No.  We simply abide by our laws as an agency.
2.  The whole "Livestrong" Lance is a hero thing. Yes.  Livestrong is a great thing.  Lance has really made a name with the fight against cancer, and that's admirable.  But....that does not mean he is a saint in all areas.  He could be innocent.  But helping the greater good does not a saint make.  Otherwise, everyone that works in non profit helping the people can do no wrong, right?  Ummm, no.  I'm no angel.  And I know plenty of others who aren't.  And many other examples I could use.  Bottom line?  Unless you were in lance's back pocket for 15 years, you have no idea if he doped or not.  Simple as that.
3.  People that are billing Lance as the "greatest triathlete ever" and saying that Kona is f&^ed without him.  Guys, triathlon was just fine before Lance.  If it comes to that, it'll be fine without him, too.
4.  People that are attacking WTC's decision to ban and calling it a "slap in the face".  Are their by laws fair?  I'm not sure.  But they do exist, and they're following them.  If they weren't, everyone would be pissed that Lance got a free pass.
Phew.  i think that's it for now.  If you're interested, check out the Washington Post Story, Lance's response, the letter he was served with (which, if I'm not mistaken, he has known was coming since February....hardly a surprise).
If you want to be entertained, check out Slowtwitches 743 threads on the subject, where, truly, opinions are a dime a dozen.  But it's damn entertaining.
With that said, I do hope that if lance never doped, the system finds him not guilty and closes the door on this mess.  If he did dope,  I hope he has to pay for what he did.
End of story.
Don't hurt me, please :-)
What are your thoughts on this whole mess?  or could you care less?

1 comment:

  1. The whole thing seems fishy to me - on both sides.

    As you mentioned, he (presumably) knew this was coming, but the timing seems a bit suspicious. Why wait until he's made a big name for himself on the 70.3 circuit and is a week and a half away from his first 140.6? It does sort of seem as though USADA timed this for maximum impact.

    Personally, I think 500+ clean tests over the course of his pro cycling and triathlon careers, plus the US DOJ closing its investigation without charging him speak volumes on their own. It also seems that his accusers are guys who have been caught doping and have everything to gain by spreading the guilt around. To me, it does sort of smack of a witch hunt.

    As to his reputation as a great philanthropist, I don't really buy it. There's a rather interesting article that follows the money trail of the Livestrong Foundation and it seems that most of it goes to branding, advertising, and marketing.

    Greatest triathlete ever? I think Mark Allen, Dave Scott, and Craig Alexander have more claim to that title than Lance!