Long ago, whenever I was in trouble for whatever hardheaded mischief I had done as a child, my mother used to say to me, ĎďIím not upset or angry, rather Iím disappointed because I thought you knew better.íĒ
That statement stuck with me as a child and holds true today as an adult. In most of lifeís ups-and-downs, when anger is the emotion at surface, itís usually the hurt thatís just underneath it thatís really the issue.
On Jan. 17, Lance Armstrongís admission of doping to Oprah wasnít a shock. It was a betrayal.
This story took me a long time to write because I was angered by the admission and I didnít want to put pen to paper coming from that place.
I, like many fans or observers, have had a long relationship with Armstrong and his life.
In the beginning of the Lance Armstrong story, admittedly I wasnít an avid Armstrong or cycling fan. The brief glimpses of the Tour de France, was the most access that I ever had or really cared about. The sport didnít do a lot to garner fans outside of those who were already into the cycling culture.
It wasnít until Armstrong won his second straight Tour de France that his story catapulted cycling into the national sports spotlight. Armstrongís battle and defeat of cancer was on almost every national media outlet and he was the cycling golden boy and the face of cancer survival.
Make no mistake. I love all the things that Armstrong has done and the people he has helped in the name of cancer fundraising and awareness. The money he raised and the people he has inspired (myself included) is beyond measurement.
Because Armstrong has done so much and given back tenfold during his career is the exact reason his final admission hurts so much ó because most of his fame and privilege he has was built on stolen goods. Every single win, accolade, endorsement Armstrong won was built on the back of a crime.
Like my mother did for me so often as a child by walking away just so anger wouldnít be a part of the punishment she was about to inflict on me, Iím going to do the same for Armstrong.
Itís not like Armstrongís ascension to the top wasnít paved with good intentions, but those intentions were all built on the backs of stolen dreams. Every race he won during his dominance over the sport was cheated. Every racer who competed fairly and lost to him even if they are to be retroactively proclaimed the winner can never recoup the time, wealth or notoriety they might have earned from their win.
This admission makes me question every thing I ever thought about Armstrong. He took those awards and lived comfortably giving back not because he isnít a great person (or that was the persona he wanted to come across,) but somewhere deep inside of Armstrong, I want to believe he was doing a penance for what he knew was wrong.
Iím not angry with him for coming clean now. Nor, am I upset that Armstrong is finally clearing the record, but I fall into the same category as so many who believed ó Iím disappointed because Lance Armstrong, cyclist and cancer survivor knew better and chose to cheat.