The Last Finish Line
Disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong recently stated in an interview that his life was still a mess in some ways. He was recently prevented by USA Cycling for participating in a non-race even, and it seems highly unlikely he’ll ever have his lifetime ban lifted. For the guy who was once lauded a hero, it seems everyone wants him to go away. Me included. So why am I writing about him the?
For me Lance is the greatest fraud in sporting history. More than Alex Rodriguez, more than Marion Jones (who went to prison even). Lance often says he was the best of a bunch of dopers. Maybe that’s true, but probably not - the US Anti-Doping Association (USADA) stated the team he was on had the most sophisticated doping regimen in the world. Lance was also an extremely determined and driven competitor. But Lance is at the bottom to me because not only did he cheat and lie about it, he also bullied and shouted down not only those who questioned him, but those who tried to compete clean and advocated doing so. However, he even went a step further. For Lance, who was indeed a cancer survivor, to look at cancer patients in the eye and tell them he survived and became a great champion, so there is hope for them too, only to know he was winning by cheating, is truly sinister. So it’s no wonder his life is still a mess, and there’s no hope of him ever competing again.
But I do have a suggestion for him that I think could help.
When Mahatma Gandhi was confronted by a Hindu man named Nahri who insisted he was going to hell - for he had killed a Muslim child in a rage of after the Muslims had killed his son. Gandhi told him this:
“I know a way out of hell. Find a child, a child whose mother and father have been killed, and raise him as your own. Only be sure he is a Muslim, and you raise him as one.”
Nauru walked away dumbfounded, but realizing that likely was the only way.
I am certainly no Mahatma, but for Lance, I may know a way out of hell for him.
First, the large SCA lawsuit filed against him is likely to be settled soon. Sometime after that, the other lawsuits will start to settle. But that won’t do it for him. Lance needs to do a right that is greater than his past wrong, regardless of these suits and their dollar amounts.
Lance is currently reportedly still worth over $100m. He owns a lavish home in Austin, and another very nice home in Aspen. In recent years he also owned homes in New York, Hawaii and Spain as well. He is also the owner of Mellow Johnny’s bike shop in Austin and Juan Pelota Café in Austin as well. According to one article I could find, some experts believe he’s socked away millions more in hidden trusts.
The way for Lance to get out of his own personal hell, is to give virtually all of that up to charity. Yes, nearly all of it. Like, close to 99% of it. He needs to live a lifestyle akin to those who he cheated, those he bullied and threatened for speaking out against doping. And specifically, the bike racers who during his winning years refused to dope, and thus had no chance at glory, and no opportunity for riches from their efforts.
By giving virtually everything away, perhaps down to one modest home, some money saved for his children’s education, a small emergency fund, and perhaps keeping the bike shop where he can stay on as a working owner, the rest of it should go to those who are truly in need. He could keep a bike or two also I suppose.
Doing this will insure that the nightmares will stop, and the hounds will back off. The lawsuits will end, for he’ll have nothing left, and his chances at perhaps being reinstated to one day race in sporting events may return. And perhaps he may again be admired by many people, this time as someone who truly did care, and did an amazing thing in his life that took a great deal of heart.
I’m afraid to say though that I’m not so sure it’s in him. Not to even do half of this. Not for the fear of living in poverty, but because it appears he’s lost all objectivity on what the value of life truly is. That it isn’t accolades and hero worship, it isn’t nice houses, lavish vacations and private jets. It isn’t crossing the finish line first. It’s much more than that at this point in his life. It’s understanding that the world doesn’t think you’re someone who could do anything of value to the human race.
And for Lance being a cancer survivor to not see any of this, I find to be the most tragic aspect of his entire story.