Doubts about Lance, even in Austin

Here’s an update to the item about Lance Armstrong posted earlier today: Folks in Armstrong’s hometown, Austin, Texas, are beginning to doubt his adamant insistence that he never doped during his stellar bicycle racing career, according to a report by NPR.

AP photo by Thao Nguyen

The NPR story by John Burnett quoted Kirk Bohls, a sports columnist for the Austin American-Statesman, as saying that the latest allegations by teammates that the legendary cyclist used performance-enhancing drugs may have pushed local opinions to a tipping point.
“Most of the email and response I’ve received has been very negative toward Lance Armstrong,” Bohls said, “and I wonder if some of the tide may have turned against him.”
And there’s this about Austin’s favorite son from Steve Godfrey, a 39-year-old cyclist from Louisiana, who stopped to chat with Burnett:
“I would just say it’s a difficult situation; he’s become such an iconic hero to so many people. It’s almost like a 21st century Shakespearean tragedy maybe in a way.”
Burnett’s story, headlined “Et Tu, Austin? Locals Start To Doubt Lance Armstrong,” was prepared for NPR’s “All Things Considered” program for broadcast Friday afternoon.


1 Comment

Filed under Americana, Texana

One response to “Doubts about Lance, even in Austin

  1. John Vandevelde

    One thing I have learned in life is that nobody is perfect, not presidents who have affairs with interns, not born-again preachers who teach purity but secretly buy drugs and sex, not IMF heads who–consensually or not–have sex with hotel maids, not home-run hitters who use steroids and lie about it, not professional bicycle racers who may have used drugs because everyone in contention may have been doing the same, and certainly not me.
    We all have the capacity to make mistakes and exhibit our weaknesses. But everyone also has the capacity to do good and exhibit strengths. To me, Lance Armstrong has done the latter in a way that is unique in the world of sports and beyond–probably doing more to fight cancer than any one person in the world. And he did that when he was not under attack and didn’t have to give away any of his time, effort, money and fame.
    Whether Lance used performance enhancing drugs in France many years ago does not seem to me to be important enough for our U.S. courts and prosecutors to spend any time and money on that effort, when we have other social issues and needs that are so real and pressing. If prosecutors want to tear Lance down for whatever reasons, they will probably eventually figure out a way to do so. If the general public wants to see Lance fall, it will probably happen–and maybe Lance already has started to topple.
    But the destroyers and those cheering should not deceive themselves or others–everyone can be torn down. That part is easy, because none of us are perfect. What would be hard would be to preserve or replicate the positive that Lance has done. It will a great shame that so much remarkable and genuine good may be derailed and perhaps destroyed because of what I think is a much belated and misguided zeal to tear down someone based on events that are not even a U.S. concern.
    It seems to me that what is going on has more to do with the bloody sport of the Colloseum in ancient Rome than with the sport of cycling. Perhaps people who want “blood” should look back beyond even Roman times and ask whether they are pure enough that they are entitled to cast a stone. Perhaps those same people should ask themselves whether they are capable of building something with those stones, rather than just destroying something or someone.
    I think we would all be better off with more Lance Armstrongs, with whatever weaknesses may someday be proven, and with the strengths he has already proven.

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