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January 18, 2013 8:24 AM   Subscribe

After a few weeks of well-reported rumors that Lance Armstrong was going to confess, he publicly admitted to years of doping in the first of a two-part interview with Oprah Winfrey.

The NYTimes called it "a confession without an explanation". Bicycling Magazing breaks down what he did and didn't say. And the ever well-versed Bonnie D. Ford said, "Beware the sudden conversion."

Betsy Andreu, who had been hounded and harassed by Armstrong for years for reporting that he heard him admit to PED use to a doctor in 1996, was angry at Armstrong's avoiding the topic.

Of course, his reticence could be due to significant legal problems surrounding confession, perjury, and a federal whistleblower lawsuit against him.

What do the fans say? Twitter was blazing.

Part I can be seen on Youtube links. Part II airs tonight at 9PM EST on the OWN, available streaming on the internet.
posted by entropone (209 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite

 
It's been a pretty tough week for people who are stupid enough to just believe whatever comes out of the mouths of athletes and the multi-million dollar industries that back them because SPORTS.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 8:26 AM on January 18, 2013 [17 favorites]


Also, my favorite take so far on this from Deadspin: Lance Armstrong’s Biggest Crime Was Being A Huge Asshole
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 8:29 AM on January 18, 2013 [17 favorites]


The man literally ruined lives with his lawsuits to suppress information about doping. And now he confesses, evidently as part of a scheme to salvage his career. Bastard.
posted by happyroach at 8:29 AM on January 18, 2013 [32 favorites]


Cue the lawsuits from sponsors wanting their money back and millions of dollars of prize money back... In the end, at $600/billable hour, the lawyers will win.
posted by thewalrus at 8:29 AM on January 18, 2013


Fuck this guy, fuck the boom and the bust his cheating created in an otherwise awesome sport, fuck his bullying for all the careers it destroyed, and fuck him for being so very very sorry he got caught.
posted by Blasdelb at 8:30 AM on January 18, 2013 [13 favorites]


Poor Lance Dopestrong. His career and credibilty have been shattered, and all he has to show for it is millions and millions of dollars.

I feel pretty bad for the people whose lives he destroyed with his lies and the lawsuits he brought to protect those lies. Not every sociopath is a murderer.
posted by Sternmeyer at 8:30 AM on January 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


from twitter: 'Shorter Lance Armstrong: "I'm just so very, very sorry I didn't get away with it."
posted by boo_radley at 8:31 AM on January 18, 2013 [6 favorites]


Nicole Cooke's retirement statement is worth a read. She pulls no punches.
posted by vanar sena at 8:31 AM on January 18, 2013 [30 favorites]


From the Bicycling Mag article:

He admitted using banned substance during all seven of his Tour de France victories. In his opinion, it was not possible to win the Tour without the use of banned substances. “Not in that generation.”
[...]
At the time though, he didn’t consider what he was doing to be wrong. “It was a level playing field.”
This is the true heart of the matter. Either remove all money/sponsorships/advertising from sport (all sports), or give up on this idea that we can remove performance-enhancing drugs.
posted by Xyanthilous P. Harrierstick at 8:31 AM on January 18, 2013 [15 favorites]


One of the things that pisses me off the most about Armstrong is that he, through his business relationship with Trek, forced Trek to shut down the LeMond bike brand because of his personal disputes with Greg LeMond. Why was he so pissed at LeMond? Because LeMond said that he was on drugs and corroborated pretty much everything that's in the USADA dossier more than six years before its release.
posted by thewalrus at 8:31 AM on January 18, 2013 [14 favorites]


I wonder if he can un-harass the people who spoke up?
posted by the man of twists and turns at 8:32 AM on January 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


CBC reports: ARMSTRONG USED RUGS
posted by Kabanos at 8:32 AM on January 18, 2013 [9 favorites]


from October (obviously the prediction didn't really pan out, but still interesting):
The Coming Confession of Lance Armstrong
posted by Bwithh at 8:33 AM on January 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


Cue the lawsuits from sponsors wanting their money back and millions of dollars of prize money back...

That's already started happening. The credible speculation I've heard is that this is the first step in Armstrong's contract defense - that sponsors like the USPS knew he was doping before he entered the contract.

Was this article about a petty incident of retribution on the 2004 Tour de France really written in 2004? I can't believe it's taken 8 years to go from "Lance Armstrong is a doping asshole" to "Lance Armstrong doped, is an asshole."
posted by muddgirl at 8:35 AM on January 18, 2013 [2 favorites]




I certainly understand the outrage about the lawsuits he brought against people and ruining their lives. But why exactly is there so much outrage about his cheating if the entire first couple of dozen ranked cyclists in the Tour de France were also doping? How does it affect the morality of cheating if all your notable competitors are acting similarly? Is it not like paying a bribe in a country where you simply cannot get anything done without one -- just the price of doing business?

It seems like he is getting a lot of flack for simply being better at what everyone else was also doing.
posted by shivohum at 8:37 AM on January 18, 2013 [3 favorites]


Would it be possible for all of those people Lance destroyed over the years to sue him for defamation, slander or libel? Would they have a shot?

There are so many people who he destroyed by aggressive lawyering and libeling in the press and I won't forgive him until he makes all of them whole.
posted by photoslob at 8:38 AM on January 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


But why exactly is there so much outrage about his cheating

It seems to me like most of the outrage is the fact that he's denied it, over and over and over again, for decades.
posted by muddgirl at 8:39 AM on January 18, 2013 [5 favorites]


TDF and doping.
posted by thewalrus at 8:39 AM on January 18, 2013


What am I going to do with all these Livestrong bracelets?
posted by hellojed at 8:40 AM on January 18, 2013


CBC reports: ARMSTRONG USED RUGS

Elevated testosterone is linked to baldness, after all.
posted by Sys Rq at 8:40 AM on January 18, 2013 [4 favorites]


The NYT ran a "fun" infographic making clear the absurdity and eventual ass-biting nature of denying such charges. The layout of the print version was more "interactive," resembling a curved track with various finish lines. Anyhow, at least he didn't blame it on having too much sex with his wife the night before a big race, or claimed that a jealous rival spiked his toothpaste.
posted by obscurator at 8:41 AM on January 18, 2013


CBC reports: ARMSTRONG USED RUGS

Really tied the team together.
posted by hellojed at 8:41 AM on January 18, 2013 [46 favorites]


That does it!

I'm going to unlike him on Facebook and write a strongly worded Tweet about it!
posted by mazola at 8:41 AM on January 18, 2013 [10 favorites]


I certainly understand the outrage about the lawsuits he brought against people and ruining their lives. But why exactly is there so much outrage about his cheating if the entire first couple of dozen ranked cyclists in the Tour de France were also doping?

Because he was so, so adamant that he wasn't doping, and took such drastic measures to bring the hammer down on anyone who said he was. If he'd just said, "Well, they're wrong, and I don't know why they're lying," I think the backlash against him at this point would be much less. Other dopers only ruined their own careers or lives -- Armstrong ruined other people's.
posted by Etrigan at 8:42 AM on January 18, 2013 [14 favorites]


this is not the first time that armstrong has eaten crow
posted by growabrain at 8:43 AM on January 18, 2013 [38 favorites]


So, this is pretty obviously some pre-release hype for a harrowing memoir of substance abuse and a fall from grace from one of America's most inspiring athletes, right?
posted by griphus at 8:44 AM on January 18, 2013 [3 favorites]


Livestrong donates almost nothing to scientific research. It's very nearly an outright scam.

a $320,000 a year salary CEO?

$9m headquarters?
posted by thewalrus at 8:44 AM on January 18, 2013 [14 favorites]


It seems to me like most of the outrage is the fact that he's denied it, over and over and over again, for decades.

Because he was so, so adamant that he wasn't doping, and took such drastic measures to bring the hammer down on anyone who said he was.

Gotcha. That makes sense.
posted by shivohum at 8:45 AM on January 18, 2013


Another completely unprovable question, did Lance's doping cause his cancer?
posted by KaizenSoze at 8:45 AM on January 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


Armstrong is definitely a lying, cheating bully of a person who's behaved badly and I make no apologies for him.

However, it also seems pretty clear that he became a target because he was at the top. No one appear to dispute that cheating is rampant in the sport.

Lance Armstrong, asshole though he is, is not the problem. Lance Armstrong is a symptom of the problem. The problem is the corrupting influence of the enormous amount of money in professional sports.

So long as there's money in sports, there will always be people looking for a competitive edge. I don't think there's any way to solve it.

But Armstrong is not the source of the problem.
posted by DWRoelands at 8:45 AM on January 18, 2013 [6 favorites]


Yeah, this. I've hated this guy long before the doping rumours, long before the doping confession, because he was and remains an arrogant bully. I guess I prefer my sports heroes to be more like say, Walter Johnson.
So, I'm feeling a bit of Armstrongfreude right now.

Also, this.
posted by Flashman at 8:46 AM on January 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


It seems to me like most of the outrage is the fact that he's denied it, over and over and over again, for decades.

Totally. It's always, always the cover up that really pisses people off.

I only saw the first few minutes of the interview last night, and after being shocked at his bald honesty when Oprah asked him those first few questions, I had to laugh when she asked him, "So why confess now?" and he said, "Well that's the real question, right?" What? No. That question is fucking easy. It's because you finally got caught and stripped of your titles and are suffering consequences and everyone in the whole world, even people who defended you for years, can't deny that you're a lying bastard.
posted by something something at 8:46 AM on January 18, 2013 [3 favorites]


I figure the mea culpa he's doing is some way to insulate him from so very real legal action plus possibly rehab his rep (hahaha good luck) and maybe sell some books or a movie option (Lance Armstrong: Fall from Grace).

He's a douche. Yeah beating cancer is inspiring and all but he's basically squandered all the good will I would've had for that on being a colossal dick for over a decade.
posted by vuron at 8:47 AM on January 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


The problem is the corrupting influence of the enormous amount of money in professional sports.

There is a pitifully small amount of money in professional cycling, even UCI cat1 racing, compared to the NFL, NBA, MLB, etc. US broadcasters pay $20 billion for the NFL broadcast rights.
posted by thewalrus at 8:47 AM on January 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


"I certainly understand the outrage about the lawsuits he brought against people and ruining their lives. But why exactly is there so much outrage about his cheating if the entire first couple of dozen ranked cyclists in the Tour de France were also doping? How does it affect the morality of cheating if all your notable competitors are acting similarly? Is it not like paying a bribe in a country where you simply cannot get anything done without one -- just the price of doing business?"

Yes, we should direct our outrage towards those first couple of dozen ranked cyclists in the Tour de France were also doping, of which he was one, for fucking the sport so hard that this is even a conceivable line of thought. Its also a lot more than the lawsuits, he wielded his casual arrogance and influence through fear in horrifically terrible ways.
posted by Blasdelb at 8:47 AM on January 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


Worth saying, as a counter to "Well They're All Dirty," and because I believe it:
Cycling is cleaner. All the evidence points to the 2008 implementation of the longitudinal "biological passport" program cleaning up the sport.

The bio passport monitors levels of hematocrits, reticulocytes (baby red blood cells), and other blood markers, and red flags suspicious variations in them.

Confessed dopers have pointed to it as the reason they stopped.

Average race speeds have gone down. Speeds going up major climbs, which can be compared from one year to the next, have gone down despite advances in training science and bike technology. Extrapolated power outputs from top riders have gone down to within "human" ranges, as opposed to before.

EPO has a huge effect on aerobic performance. And it became available before it could be found in a blood test. It was sort of the perfect storm. And that's over. And sure, there are probably plenty of pro (and amateur) cyclists still doping. But what they're getting are marginal gains - not the 10-15% gains of EPO.
posted by entropone at 8:49 AM on January 18, 2013 [6 favorites]


There is a pitifully small amount of money in professional cycling, even UCI cat1 racing, compared to the NFL, NBA, MLB, etc. US broadcasters pay $20 billion for the NFL broadcast rights.
posted by thewalrus at 10:47 on January 18 [+] [!]


Nothing to see here! Please move along!
posted by Xyanthilous P. Harrierstick at 8:49 AM on January 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


Lance looked Eddy Merckx in the eye, and said 'no'.

Eddy is 'disappointed'.

I wasn't really bothered by any of this, as it just confirmed the obvious. But looking Eddy Merckx in the eye and lying? Beyond my contempt, I could fucking cry.

And yes, sure, what else was Lance going to say, but still -- that's pretty fucking low.
posted by Capt. Renault at 8:51 AM on January 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


Folks in my office are wondering; was Armstrong paid for appearing on Oprah for this whole confessional shebang?
posted by redsparkler at 8:51 AM on January 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


Jesus, where can I get some EPO? It sounds incredible. Why isn't this stuff in our breakfast cereal and multivitamins?
posted by boo_radley at 8:51 AM on January 18, 2013 [6 favorites]


Were it not to have horrendous implications for society at large, I'd sort of like to see every big sports league split into two, where in one, doping is quashed without question or pity, and in the other it is allowed to go unfettered.
posted by griphus at 8:52 AM on January 18, 2013 [4 favorites]


Fuck this guy. Fuck him sideways all the way to Mars and back. If that USADA report never comes out, he's still out there suing everybody small enough to bully. Nice to see he only admitted to doping up until 2005 when looky there, that's when the World Anti-Doping Code statute of limitations kicks in. Make no mistake, there's plenty of blame to parcel out in this clusterfuck, but there he is, laughing all the way to the bank. Who says crime doesn't pay.
posted by the painkiller at 8:53 AM on January 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


Even assholes beat cancer from time to time.
posted by edgeways at 8:53 AM on January 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


To get through this, he's going to need someone who'll hold him tight, look him in the eye and remind him that every day is a winding road.
posted by davebush at 8:54 AM on January 18, 2013 [7 favorites]


Jesus, where can I get some EPO? It sounds incredible. Why isn't this stuff in our breakfast cereal and multivitamins?

Cause it can turn your blood to sludge and cause healthy young people to die in their sleep of heart attacks.
posted by entropone at 8:54 AM on January 18, 2013 [6 favorites]


So what's the likelihood of his going to jail and what would the charges likely be?
posted by peacay at 8:54 AM on January 18, 2013


Money is a factor, because it gave Armstrong access to better cheating technology, but people cheat and dope in sports where there is nothing to be gained financially by doing so. Competitors really, really want to win things, and they want to prove they're the best. That's what drives cheating.
posted by chrchr at 8:55 AM on January 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


So, uhm... These guys were right..
posted by thewalrus at 8:55 AM on January 18, 2013


So, would it be worth trying to get some EPO to shave my bike commute time?
posted by asperity at 8:55 AM on January 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


Other dopers only ruined their own careers or lives

Well...but I think part of the reason why Armstrong will continue to have supporters, despite all the backlash against him, is that this isn't quite true. When caught, some of those other dopers didn't simply let their own lives be ruined. They reached out and tried to grab hold of Armstrong, saying, "Lance did it too!"

There's a great, short lecture series from the Teaching Company titled How Conversation Works, taught by Dr. Anne Curzan of the University of Michigan. In the fourth lecture she discusses apologies, and why some work and others don't. Armstrong's interview with Oprah last night was a great example of one that doesn't.
posted by cribcage at 8:55 AM on January 18, 2013 [10 favorites]


It depends, do you commute up the Col du Galibier?
posted by thewalrus at 8:56 AM on January 18, 2013 [5 favorites]


I haven't followed this closely, but I thought I'd heard that the "everybody does it, what's the big deal" argument was shattered by the revelation that everybody was doing it because Armstrong bullied them into doing it, is that right? That he was the instigator behind the American team doping at much higher levels than before, because he wanted to win?
posted by KathrynT at 8:57 AM on January 18, 2013



It’s time we reconcile how we feel about doping and professional sports. All of them. Because we ask the impossible and then we’re upset when the fairy tale isn’t true. The truth: It’s inhumanely painful to slam your body into another man’s body at 10 miles per hour 20 times a day for 18 games a season over the course of a decade. The truth: It’s impossibly hard to ride a bike at an average speed of over 20 miles per hour for three weeks straight, over 100 miles a day.

Can people do any of this cleanly and still compete? What would you do in their shoes? If you’re not comfortable with your answer, good. That probably means you’re being honest, and that’s a much better place to be than how most Americans are today.

From Doping? We’re All a Bunch of Hypocrites.
posted by Xyanthilous P. Harrierstick at 8:57 AM on January 18, 2013 [2 favorites]




I have no doubt that PEDs were definitely present high numbers before the rise of Armstrong including at the highest level. I'd honestly be shocked if Indurain wasn't doped to the gills as well.

What does seem apparent is that during the rise of Armstrong there was a systemic inclination towards using PEDs presumably as a response to US Postal's overwhelming dominance. When the entire team is doping (as it appears they were) that creates massive overwhelming pressure to dope on other top riders and that extends downward into the amateur ranks as people struggle to find the handful of positions that actually pay a living wage to professional cyclists.

Armstrong's numbers were ridiculous, that it took this long to catch him and for him to come clean definitely seems to point to how complicit the authorities in the cycling world were in both turning a blind eye or even possibly assisting him.
posted by vuron at 8:58 AM on January 18, 2013


Armstrong et Bruyneel élus « salopards de l’année sportive » - "Rue89 Sport vous proposait de voter pour le « bad guy » de l’année : les anciens parrains du cyclisme l’emportent avec plus de 40% des suffrages."
posted by the man of twists and turns at 8:59 AM on January 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


Question: Why isn't Johan Bruyneel right now in a French, Belgian or other continental jail awaiting trial on fraud charges? He organized the whole team.
posted by thewalrus at 9:02 AM on January 18, 2013


fuck the boom and the bust his cheating created in an otherwise awesome sport

Otherwise awesome sport? Really?
posted by mcstayinskool at 9:03 AM on January 18, 2013


Now the climax of DodgeBall: A True Underdog Story is comepletely ruined.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 9:04 AM on January 18, 2013 [10 favorites]


Man, Sheryl Crowe dodged a major bullet. Armstrong's ex wife and post-Sheryl girlfriend have made the grave mistake of having had kids with a guy who seems to have narcissistic personality disorder. Scary as eff.
posted by discopolo at 9:10 AM on January 18, 2013 [3 favorites]


I feel utterly vindicated, I must say.

It's too much to hope that he's going to actually use this as a point of reflection and become a better person. He's been a jerk for so long, and he seemed to be saying in the interview that he feels like a victim, and that "everyone" was doing it. It just seemed like the confession of a busted middle-school bully, not a grown man who had knowingly defrauded and abused others.
posted by batmonkey at 9:13 AM on January 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


As for stopping at hotels and disposing of used syringes in Coke cans, Armstrong doesn’t remember specific cases.
Perhaps this is something to which I'm a bit oversensitive, but leaving used needles in bins that hotel staff will have to deal with, to end up in a landfll or recycling centre, is Very Not Cool and AFAIK illegal. Even if he's completely sure that he has nothing hazardous in his blood, and nothing nasty grows on the needle while it's sitting in the bin, any poor sod who gets stuck by a mysterious discarded needle is going to have a hell of a time waiting for their own blood tests to come back.

Maybe I'm oversensitive to this (biosafety stuff is kind of drilled into us in my job), but IMO he's showing a massive lack of either forethought or empathy.
posted by metaBugs at 9:13 AM on January 18, 2013 [19 favorites]


Livestrong donates almost nothing to scientific research. It's very nearly an outright scam.

It's true that they only funded actual research for a short time, and most people still think that's the business they are in.

I have cancer doctor friends that hate Lance and love Livestrong. They actually are a pretty cool outfit, their aim now is to help people navigate hospitals, billing, etc for treatment. With my mother's cancer, it was a full-time job to keep all her forms, appointments, medication schedules, and treatment visits straight. She used an overworked social worker for some help but it wasn't enough and I can see where a group like Livestrong could really help people's lives by smoothing out the hassles and stress of cancer treatment.
posted by mathowie at 9:14 AM on January 18, 2013 [7 favorites]


Discopolo, if I can tell that he's a narcissist (and bully, and total dick) from this far off, with no interest in cycling, we can probably assume that she went into it with eyes open.
posted by forgetful snow at 9:14 AM on January 18, 2013


Folks in my office are wondering; was Armstrong paid for appearing on Oprah for this whole confessional shebang?

Yeah, I was curious about this as well. Although, if you want to kick off a reputation rehab, Oprah's the place to start, so maybe he contacted Oprah first. But, why is he coming forward now? Is it for a book deal because he needs money since the endorsements are gone? I mean, as stated above, he may get sued by his sponsors for claiming to be clean when he wasn't, and now admitting it. So how is it to his advantage to do this interview? Were criminal charges being pursued (is he guilty of anything criminal?).

I've always thought he seemed like a smug asshole, and watching this confirmed it. Also, I thought Oprah was a pretty good interviewer.
posted by bluefly at 9:15 AM on January 18, 2013


For people, like myself, who have closely followed his career, read his books and have been on the receiving end of a lot of questions about my take on this, due to being a serious cyclist, it was a relief to see him talk like a real human being. Count me among those who aren't entirely satisfied but there is a lot to be reckoned with there and one interview session won't cut it, but on the whole I think he came clean and I never thought he would crack.

I'm not so pained by the doping. I can understand how it happens and how it is justified, but I share in some small way with those who are hurt by his defiant and destructive posture when he was called out on it. The denials and career ruining attacks are what makes it hard to reconcile.

I love the sport of cycling. I've done it most of my life and I still do it competitively but I really wish Armstrong had picked another sport to shit on.
posted by dgran at 9:16 AM on January 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


It’s time we reconcile how we feel about doping and professional sports. All of them. Because we ask the impossible and then we’re upset when the fairy tale isn’t true.

So we should blame the fans instead of the athletes, promoters, sponsors, and drug testers who conspire to ensure that everyone involved gets rich? How do fans "ask the impossible" exactly? I don't recall demanding that the athletes I like to watch use drugs. If nobody was doping, sports would still be as riveting and people would still watch.
posted by ultraviolet catastrophe at 9:17 AM on January 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


I was amazed that he is still willing to defend Ferrari.

Watching the interview, I was waiting to see if he would give up Verbruggen, or anyone else at the UCI or WADA.

I think he may be saving that in case he needs to cut a deal with the feds over the Landis suit, or possible perjury/fraud charges from the SCA/Tailwind case.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 9:17 AM on January 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


Armstrong deserves to be marooned on a small desert island with Greg Mortenson, Ollie North and whoever is responsible for producing reality television about child beauty pageants.
posted by thewalrus at 9:19 AM on January 18, 2013 [5 favorites]


redsparkler: "Folks in my office are wondering; was Armstrong paid for appearing on Oprah for this whole confessional shebang?"

Most likely not.

When Oprah was on ABC, hers was *the* show people wanted to be on. Huge ratings, a sympathetic host and a devoted audience. I had clients appear there. To the best of my knowledge, she didn't pay her guests to appear. She didn't have to. People were begging for the privilege.

Everything's dropped since she's moved to OWN, but I still doubt she's finding it so difficult to book guests that she'd need to pay them.
posted by zarq at 9:25 AM on January 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


I did not watch the interview, but I am told by those who did that he did not mention his longtime business associate Thom Weisel. Not that I expect him to give the full story on anything. This WSJ story is very interesting.

Lance Armstrong, asshole though he is, is not the problem. Lance Armstrong is a symptom of the problem. The problem is the corrupting influence of the enormous amount of money in professional sports.

He went from beyond a symptom to being a disease vector. He took the framework of doping to a higher level from what it had been previously. He was not just a dupe, but a willing and enthusiastic and ruthless organizer of doping. He has slandered people time and time again.

TL;DR, fuck that guy.
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 9:25 AM on January 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


But, why is he coming forward now?

Most speculation is the entire reason he's doing this is twofold. One, it helps him get out of a lawsuit against the old USPS team. The second is he hates his lifetime ban. He wanted to move into doing triathalons and being the king of that sport (at the top, there are a few stars making a good living at it) and wanted to cop some sort of plea bargain so he could spend his 40s winning the Ironman races and making millions again. I've heard he might have his sentence reduced to 8 years of banning from competition, but I think he wants to get back into triathlon racing immediately.

It was a disappointing interview, he sounded clearly coached on every answer.
posted by mathowie at 9:27 AM on January 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


Congratulations to all who have cursed Lance Armstrong. He is now and for the foreseeable future and perhaps for the rest of his productive years on earth working full time for the American law industry. It seems to me his situation is identical to Michael Jackson's at the time of the child molesting prosecution. He has to do what his lawyers say while he pays them huge money while his earning power has been squashed. Not a bad scenario for damnation if you are the devil with free reign to conjure shit like this up. I don't care really. I don't know him. He is a celebrity godling alpha+ guy who would never deign to return my phone calls or acknowledge my existence. I suppose I will attend to his downward tumbling on the news, on the tabloid covers, on the talk shows and websites and opinion machines. For awhile. Eventually the system will find others to turn upon when he is as chewed up as a six-month old dog chewy toy.
posted by bukvich at 9:29 AM on January 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


Lance Armstrong: Most obvious gay porn name ever.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 9:30 AM on January 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


No, that would be Dick Pound.
posted by thewalrus at 9:32 AM on January 18, 2013 [3 favorites]


> if you are the devil with free reign to conjure shit like this up

He is his own devil who conjured this shit up.
posted by gilrain at 9:32 AM on January 18, 2013


I wasn't really bothered by any of this, as it just confirmed the obvious. But looking Eddy Merckx in the eye and lying? Beyond my contempt, I could fucking cry.

Was this sarcastic? Because Merckx failed tests and had results taken off him. He wasn't a supporter of testing being brought in.

Like Armstrong he has a lot to lose if his reputation goes bad, he owns a bike business and does a lot of media work. So his on-going denials need to be taken with a pinch of salt.

Those from the Merckx era who have nothing to lose are more open and pretty much agree that everyone was doped and that drug abuse (amphetamines etc) have been endemic since the very first race.

This did not begin with Lance and it would be very naive to think it has ended with his public shaming.
posted by samworm at 9:38 AM on January 18, 2013 [3 favorites]


One of the articles linked to, from one of the articles linked above says 'would it be better if he'd been a middling cyclist and Livestrong didn't exist', which misses out the point that he stole from everyone he beat. Every cyclist trying to make a career out of it, every time he beat them he stole their earnings! Let alone the sponsorship money that disappeared when he was caught, and as a British Olympic medalist woman cyclist said in her retirement the other day, it reduced massively the amount of sponsorship for women cycling when the men got caught doping.

Now he gets to sell books and do interviews to make the money he needs to either pay off his new debts or to keep a fairly tidy livelihood going, and no one he beat gets to do that. They're essentially nobodies.

As Lyne Bessette said "I can't help but think the cheaters win on the way up and the way down."

So, fuck Lance Armstrong.
posted by opsin at 9:38 AM on January 18, 2013 [28 favorites]


Congratulations to all who have cursed Lance Armstrong.

Lance Armstrong cursed Lance Armstrong. It's actually quite surprising that he was able to get away with doping so much and making so many enemies for so long.
posted by jaduncan at 9:39 AM on January 18, 2013


Other dopers only ruined their own careers or lives

Well...but I think part of the reason why Armstrong will continue to have supporters, despite all the backlash against him, is that this isn't quite true. When caught, some of those other dopers didn't simply let their own lives be ruined. They reached out and tried to grab hold of Armstrong, saying, "Lance did it too!"


I can see a "Snitches get stitches" ethic playing out, but Armstrong also smacked down people who weren't trying to get out from under anything. He told Greg LeMond flat out that he would round up ten people to claim that LeMond had used PEDs if LeMond didn't back off him.
posted by Etrigan at 9:41 AM on January 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


I've got a feeling that this might not go well for Armstrong.
posted by blue_beetle at 9:43 AM on January 18, 2013


Other dopers only ruined their own careers or lives

I'll say again in response to this point - no! Every time a cyclist who is doping beats a cyclist who isn't they are stealing the honest cyclists earnings. They are ruining honest people's careers who finish behind them. Then can make money for the rest of their lives by being honest about the terrible things they did and how sorry they are. They still kept people who were competing honestly from the titles they deserved the earnings that come with them.
posted by opsin at 9:45 AM on January 18, 2013


But I'm clean now!
posted by seanmpuckett at 9:47 AM on January 18, 2013


How do fans "ask the impossible" exactly?

Why do you know the names: Babe Ruth. Mickey Mantle. Michael Jordan. Lance Armstrong.

and you (probably) do not know the names: James Harrison "Truck" Hannah, Marshall Carleson, Scott Williams, or Geert Van Bondt ?

Because fans only give a shit about winners.
posted by Xyanthilous P. Harrierstick at 9:47 AM on January 18, 2013


mathowie: " Most speculation is the entire reason he's doing this is twofold. One, it helps him get out of a lawsuit against the old USPS team.

By going on national television, isn't he essentially admitting his guilt?

The second is he hates his lifetime ban. He wanted to move into doing triathalons and being the king of that sport (at the top, there are a few stars making a good living at it) and wanted to cop some sort of plea bargain so he could spend his 40s winning the Ironman races and making millions again. I've heard he might have his sentence reduced to 8 years of banning from competition, but I think he wants to get back into triathlon racing immediately."

Screw him. He should be stripped of his victories and banned for life -- certainly he should never allowed to compete professionally again. Nicola Cooke's essay is worth studying. By cheating and winning, Armstrong and everyone else who doped stole titles and money from legitimately talented and honest athletes who took a moral stand and refused to violate the rules. Worse, he used his money, power, authority and stature to bully everyone who dared to try to reveal the truth over the years.

Now he's finally "coming clean" in a limited way, because he feels backed into a corner. Because the evidence against him is overwhelming.
posted by zarq at 9:47 AM on January 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


Never bought into his Livestrong band/I beat cancer and won numerous medals. People who beat cancer every day aren't asking for fame, medals, or money. They just want another day to live well.

Arrogant ass.
posted by stormpooper at 9:48 AM on January 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


Nicola Cooke's essay is worth studying.

That's the one. Can be found here on the Guardian's site.
posted by opsin at 9:59 AM on January 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


I knew he was a dick when he dumped his wife, then dumped Cheryl Crow, and then went out with women half his age years ago, ass hole.
posted by waving at 10:02 AM on January 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


How do fans "ask the impossible" exactly?

Because fans only give a shit about winners.


It's not impossible to have a winner without PEDs. As entropone points out, "Average race speeds have gone down." People are still watching the Tour de France. When we talk about the really great moments of sports history, none of them was physically impossible without PEDs, because they're about competition against other people. If the other people aren't doping, then the winners don't need to either.
posted by Etrigan at 10:07 AM on January 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


When Oprah was on ABC, hers was *the* show people wanted to be on.

The Oprah Winfrey Show was syndicated, not on ABC.
posted by grouse at 10:07 AM on January 18, 2013


Either remove all money/sponsorships/advertising from sport (all sports), or give up on this idea that we can remove performance-enhancing drugs.

Not going to happen, of course, any more than colleges are going to drop sports programs, and pity the kids who partake just to get an edge on admissions or even a scholarship.

People who beat cancer every day aren't asking for fame, medals, or money. They just want another day to live well.

Surely the cancer foundation thing was his one mitigating factor in an otherwise totally sorry mess?
posted by IndigoJones at 10:08 AM on January 18, 2013


Surely the cancer foundation thing was his one mitigating factor in an otherwise totally sorry mess?

See above.
posted by griphus at 10:10 AM on January 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


Gotcha, thanks. (Mind you, I don't give much credence to most charities, more's the pity.)
posted by IndigoJones at 10:11 AM on January 18, 2013


grouse: " The Oprah Winfrey Show was syndicated, not on ABC."

True!
posted by zarq at 10:12 AM on January 18, 2013


Cycling is DOPE!
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:14 AM on January 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


Discopolo, if I can tell that he's a narcissist (and bully, and total dick) from this far off, with no interest in cycling, we can probably assume that she went into it with eyes open.

No way. She probably fell in love with him. Narcissists are insanely charismatic, and skilled at making you feel crazy and wrong, especially if you're a normal person who is empathetic and loving. You fall in love and boom, game over. You end up pregnant and then you're trapped, and at his mercy. Hope she figures out how to get out. Being involved with someone who doesn't feel bad when telling lies and is a bully is being in crazy land.
posted by discopolo at 10:19 AM on January 18, 2013 [3 favorites]


I couldn't care less about the doping, though I think this "fans are complicit" thing is nonsense. Armstrong's claim to my hatred is what a petty jerk he was to anyone who crossed him. You're welcome to buy the narrative that everyone was doing it and it was what you had to do to remain competitive if you like. I don't see how you get from there to the lawsuits, intimidation, and just plain petty nonsense like messing unnecessarily with other's non-threatening wins.
posted by phearlez at 10:20 AM on January 18, 2013


Heh...Why should we believe him now?
posted by mygoditsbob at 10:31 AM on January 18, 2013


phearlez: "I don't see how you get from there to the lawsuits, intimidation, and just plain petty nonsense like messing unnecessarily with other's non-threatening wins."

Sunday Times says Lance Armstrong TV confession helps case to recoup £1m. I think I heard this journalist on NPR this week. He walked an unusual line of being happy at having his assertion validated while still being a disinterested 3rd party.
posted by boo_radley at 10:32 AM on January 18, 2013


What everyone is missing is the epilogue to the interview where he just looks at the camera for ten seconds and the exclaims: "NOT!"
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 10:38 AM on January 18, 2013


Was this sarcastic? Because Merckx failed tests and had results taken off him.

Yes, I am aware of Merckx' own history, and no, it was not sarcastic. I simply hold Eddy in the highest possible esteem.

If anything, Eddy's own history should have made it possible for Lance to give a wink-wink-nudge-nudge, and not another word would be spoken.

But Lance didn't do that. He lied to the god.
posted by Capt. Renault at 10:46 AM on January 18, 2013


So what's the likelihood of his going to jail and what would the charges likely be?

He's open to a bevy of civil lawsuits for libel at the very least. Criminally he appears to have committed fraud.

It's kind of a weird situation that way in that if he ever sets foot on French soil again he'll likely be arrested, tried and convicted of something, even if it's just the "If your name is Lance Armstrong and you set foot in our country we will fucking arrest you" law currently being speedtracked through the National Assembly.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 10:51 AM on January 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


thewalrus: "One of the things that pisses me off the most about Armstrong is that he, through his business relationship with Trek, forced Trek to shut down the LeMond bike brand because of his personal disputes with Greg LeMond. Why was he so pissed at LeMond? Because LeMond said that he was on drugs and corroborated pretty much everything that's in the USADA dossier more than six years before its release"

Man, that's the real crime to recreational cyclists out there. Raising the bar for disc brakes becoming standard on even entry-level road bikes...
posted by wcfields at 10:52 AM on January 18, 2013


I don't understand what this post's title, "I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Ms. Poe" is referencing. Can someone fill me in (I get the Bill Clinton reference, but who's Ms. Poe? Oprah? As in Harpo or something?)?
posted by Perko at 11:03 AM on January 18, 2013


EPO
posted by JeffL at 11:03 AM on January 18, 2013


I think this is a downright suitable admonishment of a downright "American" way of life.

Our founders could say out of one side of their mouth "all men created equal," and still have slaves. Our leaders can say "I did not have sex with that woman" or "We have indisputable proof Saddam has pursued uranium enrichment," and people will still consider them admirable human beings. Our atheletes can claim they're clean, and when caught, will continue to fight and lie as if they were wrongly accused, only until the queen of all thighs moral puts then on the couch. And look at that "Million Little Pieces" author...

He STILL HAS A PUBLISHING CONTRACT.

All the while, those that toil and live by some sort of code are merely told to pull their bootstraps harder, yet they are consistently knocked down by those that adhere to the Machiavellian code.

Fuck him and the lot of 'em. Go ahead and take money out of the equation, it won't do anything to deter the ducks who merely want to be on the top of the hill.
posted by Bathtub Bobsled at 11:08 AM on January 18, 2013 [5 favorites]


When speaking of consequences and negative impact and the moral fabric of whatever the hell context they're in, I feel like the connection between Armstrong et. al. -- basically all the individuals who have personally profited from their lies at the serious expense of others -- and Bill Clinton is a little tenuous once you get past the "they lied to a lot of people and then admitted they lied" point.
posted by griphus at 11:20 AM on January 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


Capt. Renault: " But Lance didn't do that. He lied to the god."

I get what you're saying, but am convinced that viewing athletes in that light is actually part of the problem. It helps create this mythos around them where they become impossible to criticize effectively.

Merckx isn't a god. He's a racer who took banned substances, including pemoline, and failed three drug tests as a result. When it happened, he blamed the doctors, the rules and alleged faulty tests. He said at least one of the drugs he took wasn't a big deal. In other words, he covered his ass as best he could.

He seems like a good guy who had a good career and has had a nice, productive and profitable post-sports retirement. He's done good things. But as a pro athlete he wasn't a perfect role model.
posted by zarq at 11:25 AM on January 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


Armstrong is a grade-A douchebag, but just to be clear:

Lance Armstrong: Most obvious gay porn name ever.

No, that would be Dick Pound.


The most obvious gay porn name ever is Clint Eatswood.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 11:27 AM on January 18, 2013 [9 favorites]


I've heard he might have his sentence reduced to 8 years of banning from competition, but I think he wants to get back into triathlon racing immediately.

It was a disappointing interview, he sounded clearly coached on every answer.


Huh, I would have thought he might be too old to do triathlon competitively, but I just looked it up, and some of the past ironman winners have been almost 40, and Lance is 41. Though, if you don't dope, age becomes more of a factor...

His answers did sound rehearsed. But I doubt anyone coached him to say, "but at least I didn't call her fat" about Betty Andreu to OPRAH WINFREY, of all people. What a ridiculous thing to say -- and I think shows a tiny bit of his true character.
posted by bluefly at 11:27 AM on January 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


One of the subtle insinuations that Lance Armstrong's story made was that you could not only survive cancer but then go on to win the Tour d'France if you were determined and work hard enough. The average person who did not follow cycling or know a whole lot about Armstrong could easily believe that it was luck and sheer determination that allowed him to defeat a frightening illness and then go on to be an amazing athelete.

It was a given that he took advantage of every medical and pharmaceutical advancement to beat his cancer, but that he could then go on to be such a successful athlete was founded on the idea of working hard and living strong. That he was using performance enhancing drugs while doing so not only taints his accomplishments, it tarnishes those who believed that hard work and sheer determination could lead to success. That if you were strong enough and worked hard enough you would find success.

This is the equivilent of discovering that not only are there no bootstraps, but there are no boots either.
posted by teleri025 at 11:30 AM on January 18, 2013 [3 favorites]


Why do you know the names: Babe Ruth. Mickey Mantle. Michael Jordan. Lance Armstrong.

and you (probably) do not know the names: James Harrison "Truck" Hannah, Marshall Carleson, Scott Williams, or Geert Van Bondt ?

Because fans only give a shit about winners.


Sure, but even if no one dopes, there are still going to be winners. Doping lets winners be awesome and beat the winners of yesterday, but you still get winners.

I think it's widely believed that on a totally level playing field with no doping, Lance Armstrong would have won the Tour de France. Not seven times in a row, but he would have won, and more than once. He genuinely was good (ditto Marion Jones. She wouldn't have won five medals at the 2000 Olympics if she hadn't doped, but she wouldn't have walked away empty handed either).
posted by It's Never Lurgi at 11:34 AM on January 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


I think this is sort of a PR long-game for Lance, even if it does screw him legally in the short term. I think he's still trying for some sort of redemption in the public eye- otherwise he would have just shut up and disappeared from view. I don't think he wants that, though. I don't think he could stand to be a nobody, or a loser.

Besides, I don't think there's anything he can really do about his current legal issues. He's kind of screwed any way you look at it. He's definitely opened himself up to fraud or perjury charges, but those may have been a possibility anyway. Long-term damage limitation may be his only option. Besides, his current legal problems may only be the tip of a much larger iceberg. Apparently, Thomas Weisel may have managed some of Hein Verbruggen's personal finances.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 11:36 AM on January 18, 2013


I think it's widely believed that on a totally level playing field with no doping, Lance Armstrong would have won the Tour de France.

Actually, many people who saw him ride before his cancer diagnosis were unimpressed with his climbing and time trialing. David Walsh for one.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 11:38 AM on January 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


If Lance Armstrong is ever allowed to compete professionally again, that competition will forever be a joke. He should have a lifetime ban, return everything he won, and be treated with as much respect as Ben Johnson. End of story.
posted by aspo at 11:39 AM on January 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


I'm not much of one for "think of the chilluns!", but one of the things that doping at a professional level does (in any sport) is essentially mandate its use much further down the chain. I'm sure there are high school athletes who do it, and it's almost certainly de rigeur in college. In a world where everyone dopes, even an extraordinary non-doping talent becomes a middle-of-the-pack athlete...and it's only the 1% who make any real money in any sport. If you have professional ambitions, I can't see how you'd be able to not dope.
posted by maxwelton at 11:42 AM on January 18, 2013 [5 favorites]


Couple links I haven't seen yet in this thread that I found interesting:

SI/ESPN's Rick Reilly shares Armstrong's personal apology, is still very pissed he got played for years

Lance Armstrong as Study in Corruption by Richard Poplak in Hazlitt

From the Poplak essay:
[Armstrong] describes exactly how corruption works—how it takes shape, how it poisons a social system, how it sickens everyone it touches, and how it is cocooned by ideological purity (in this case, a superbly branded cancer charity.) No one rode and doped with Armstrong is any less guilty of cheating than he is. But they are not guilty of creating the mechanism behind the cheating. And that mechanism is what elevates him from a mere cheat to a mastermind
That cocoon of ideological purity is particularly maddening. I was at a big sporting goods store a couple weeks ago and I overheard a clerk halfheartedly defending their continued sales of Livestrong merchandise. His defense boiled down to "It's still a good cause." But is it? Not even getting into this Times piece about how Livestrong spent next to none of its millions on actually fighting cancer, did the organization serve primarily as a cancer awareness organization or as a cocoon of ideological purity for the Lance brand? If its main purpose was to forge Lance a halo, wouldn't all that well-intentioned money do more good elsewhere?
posted by gompa at 11:43 AM on January 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


Personally, I don't care what he does with the rest of life. I don't care if he manages to somehow work his way back into competitive events. I don't care if he remains a wealthy man. His legacy will forever be lying and cheating. That's good enough for me.
posted by davebush at 11:51 AM on January 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


I refuse to believe that Louis Armstrong used performance-enhancing drugs.
posted by COBRA! at 12:01 PM on January 18, 2013 [7 favorites]


I disagree with the other commenter that Lance should be banned for life from gay porn.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:04 PM on January 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


A couple of points about the level playing field myth..

Not everybody responds to drugs at all, some people are hyper responders. To me, Lance is Amgen's favourite hyper responder:
Given this, there is a move to conduct trials specifically in true responders. At first blush, this seems to stack the deck for Pharma. But if you think about it, if you know that there will always be a significant portion of nonresponders, it makes no sense to include them. What you really want to know is how well a drug works in responders. Enter the enriched enrollment, randomized withdrawal trial. You have a run-in period with active drug, those who do not respond are excluded. Those who do respond are then randomized to either: 1) continue active drug; or 2) taper off active drug. This is, perhaps, a truer test of efficacy.
After Festina in 1998, there was a move to clean up the sport about equivalent to the one that started in 2008 with the biological passport system. Read the infamous Frankie Andreu / Jonathan Vaughters IM conversation for details of the non-level playing field during Lances victories.

Lance often tipped off the UCI to look closely at the doping of his competitors. See the section titled "Lance called the UCI on you" for details.

Finally, nobody knowledgeable says that cycling is clean now. People say it is cleaner. The Biological Passport is a great thing, it keeps the rampant abuse in strong check, and that is at very least good for the health of competitors. It probably also means that winning clean is possible; not likely mind, just possible.
posted by Chuckles at 12:05 PM on January 18, 2013 [5 favorites]


I would be surprised if the answers weren't rehearsed. If you're scheduling a high-profile nationally-viewed interview about personal or hot-button issues, you should get coaching and practice until you can do that interview in your sleep. It's only the best public speakers who can speak well extemporaneously. Most of us who are non natural raconteurs need all the help they can get, and it's pretty much an obligation to practice.

So I don't hold it against him if he sounded kind of rote; it helped him stay on message.

With that said, Armstrong's message was mostly "I'm sorry I got caught". That's a non-apology, and he deserves no forgiveness for it.

I recall hearsay from the early 2000s that UCI was complicit in coverups involving Armstrong's and Team Discovery's drug tests. And now it looks like Verbruggen was in a compromising position regarding Armstrong and was in a position of authority to make things favorable for him. It'll be interesting to see the historical perspective in a few years, and see how many of the rumors flying around at the time were true after all.
posted by ardgedee at 12:06 PM on January 18, 2013


The other issue with the "level playing field" is that some doctors have better techniques and access to better drugs than other. As we now know, Michele Ferrari was much better than Carlos Fuentes. Only USPS/Discovery had access to Ferrari (and Lance may have continued to have contact with him, even after Ferrari was banned from any involvement in sport). Cycling shouldn't be about how good your doctor is.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 12:20 PM on January 18, 2013


Sure, but even if no one dopes, there are still going to be winners.

Yep. But everyone wants to be a winner, and there's financial incentive to win. So there's financial incentive to cheat. Thus, cheaters will be better than the unenhanced, yet otherwise superior athletes; who now have a financial incentive to cheat.

Or do you just not understand what motivates professional sports?
posted by Xyanthilous P. Harrierstick at 12:24 PM on January 18, 2013


Cycling shouldn't be about how good your doctor is.

Why not? Formula 1 racing is about how good your manufacturer is.
posted by Xyanthilous P. Harrierstick at 12:25 PM on January 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


Cycling shouldn't be about how good your doctor is.

Why not? Formula 1 racing is about how good your manufacturer is.


I've long thought that auto racing would be much more interesting if the drivers randomly drew which car they were going to get about ten minutes before the race.
posted by Etrigan at 12:30 PM on January 18, 2013 [12 favorites]


Isn't that how Olympic horse-racing works?
posted by griphus at 12:31 PM on January 18, 2013


Yep. But everyone wants to be a winner, and there's financial incentive to win. So there's financial incentive to cheat. Thus, cheaters will be better than the unenhanced, yet otherwise superior athletes; who now have a financial incentive to cheat.

Yep, and if there are people doping, and you're not doping, you have have basically no chance to win. If you don't win you can't make money. If you can't make money you can't continue to compete. So everyone is going to dope. Unless maybe the consequences are so serious that no one dopes. Like a lifetime ban, for first offenders.
posted by czytm at 12:32 PM on January 18, 2013


Why didn't he go to the Betty Ford clinic like all other celebrity dopers? Blame it on an addiction and stress and then after 30 days claim you"re cured.
posted by three blind mice at 12:33 PM on January 18, 2013


An Outside article from 2003 in which a talented amateur cyclist goes on an EPO and HGH treatment regimen.
posted by thewalrus at 11:58 AM on 1/18 [+] [!]


This was a great article. Fun fact: Hilariously, its author, Stuart Stevens, later became the mastermind strategist behind the 2012 Romney campaign.
posted by chinston at 12:35 PM on January 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


I refuse to believe that Louis Armstrong used performance-enhancing drugs.

Louie was a pretty avid pot smoker. Don't know if you'd call that performance enhancing, or performance restricting, but "clean" he was not.
posted by edgeways at 12:36 PM on January 18, 2013


So everyone is going to dope. Unless maybe the consequences are so serious that no one dopes. Like a lifetime ban, for first offenders.

Won't help. People will still try. If you don't think there's someone, at this very moment, working very very hard at defeating cycling's "biological passport", you are very naive indeed.
posted by Xyanthilous P. Harrierstick at 12:36 PM on January 18, 2013


I think it does help. Sports may never be completely clean, just as we will never be completely crime free, but to throw up your hands and say it makes no difference and it doesn't help seems silly.
posted by edgeways at 12:50 PM on January 18, 2013 [3 favorites]


Sports may never be completely clean, just as we will never be completely crime free.

Perhaps, but crime is more of a social problem than a technology problem. Doping is, primarily, a technology problem. I think of it more like hackers. Some people are just going to game whatever system there is, and cheating technology will always outpace anti-cheating technology.

But, I guess we can just agree to disagree.
posted by Xyanthilous P. Harrierstick at 12:57 PM on January 18, 2013


Sports coverage should focus more heavily on the agony of defeat rather than the joy of victory. Like Boston in the curse years, or the Cubs. Losing perfects the soul.
posted by humanfont at 12:57 PM on January 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm a little disappointed that the title of this post wasn't "But I didn't call you fat".
posted by Chuckles at 1:02 PM on January 18, 2013 [3 favorites]


"Livestrong" - the "V" is silent

(shamelessly stolen from Keith Knight)
posted by edgeways at 1:25 PM on January 18, 2013 [3 favorites]


None of this will have any effect on Armstrong’s long term plans to run for Governor of Texas on the Republican ticket unless, of course, it comes out that he was doing his doping with reptile blood.
posted by Huplescat at 1:35 PM on January 18, 2013


Louie was a pretty avid pot smoker

Confirmed. My dad actually witnessed this - and some serious beer chugging - at an after gig party.
posted by davebush at 2:06 PM on January 18, 2013


Bulgaraktonos linked this article in the Barry Bonds / Hall Fame thread which I thought made great points. I have followed baseball much more closely than cycling. It wasn't until I read this article in derspiegel that I learned Armstrong's undoing was a recent re-testing of samples from years ago that were kept from a test that he had passed but which they have since developed better detection chemistry for and now he has failed. That is just Kafkaesque, if true. Just imagine you give blood or urine to your employer. You pass the drug test. And they keep the samples perpetually in case they want to do another test on them.

I'll bet Lance is actually angry about this on top of all else if that reporting is straight.

(I'm not defending Lance. I am not a cycling fan and I don't at all care plus or minus, just finding the issues quite interesting.)
posted by bukvich at 2:19 PM on January 18, 2013


Louie was a pretty avid pot smoker. Don't know if you'd call that performance enhancing, or performance restricting, but "clean" he was not.

I'm not sure what would constitute an illegal performance enhancing drug for a jazz musician. Aspirin?
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 2:39 PM on January 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


Albuterol?
posted by Pantengliopoli at 2:50 PM on January 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


Ativan is a hell of a drug
posted by edgeways at 2:51 PM on January 18, 2013


The most obvious gay porn name ever is Clint Eatswood.

[Squints] I know what you're thinking. "Did he blow six guys or only five?" Well, to tell you the truth, in all this excitement I kind of lost track myself.

posted by 2bucksplus at 3:14 PM on January 18, 2013 [8 favorites]


Also this link, the top google search result for (Armstrong, doping, site:marksdailyapple.com) is a good one.
posted by bukvich at 3:20 PM on January 18, 2013


If you haven't already, I strongly recommend you read Nicole Cooke's retirement statement linked to by vanar sena.

Anyone who says "he doped, so what" doesn't get that it's not cheating, it's stealing from all the non-doping competitors.
posted by arcticseal at 3:22 PM on January 18, 2013


It wasn't until I read this article in derspiegel that I learned Armstrong's undoing was a recent re-testing of samples from years ago that were kept from a test that he had passed but which they have since developed better detection chemistry for and now he has failed.

Ya, I really really don't know how you get there from that article. Armstrong's undoing was his comeback and/or Floyd Landis. Tyler Hamilton was the final nail in the coffin. That retesting was years and years ago, and it was easily swept under the carpet by the UCI.
posted by Chuckles at 3:24 PM on January 18, 2013


Why haven't Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens received the same treatment? They deserve it!
posted by Vibrissae at 3:25 PM on January 18, 2013


Why limit it to those two though? How about that guy who just won the MVP? Here it is, Ryan Braun.

Apparently Dennis Eckersley twitted some things about the Hall of Fame decision this year, and I thought that was kind of hilarious. I mean, Eckersley doesn't get in the Hall if he isn't part of baseball's original steroid team.
posted by Chuckles at 3:39 PM on January 18, 2013


I don't understand the controversy over doping, but I don't understand sports. Drugs are just another enhancement of human capability, like Armstrong's fancy bike and diet. We should encourage performance enhancing drugs and publicize them so that physical contests also become contests of science. Then maybe I'd watch the Olympics. And even with the doping he still did all that with cancer.

But then most of my heroes are people who have more drugs in their body than blood.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 4:08 PM on January 18, 2013


He was not just another cyclist who used performance enhancing drugs...he is likened more to the kingpin , someone who runs the whole ring.
posted by asra at 4:40 PM on January 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


We like Keith Richards too, CiS, but sports are already contests of science in part and the difference is that a fancy bike doesn't mess up with your health.
posted by ersatz at 4:45 PM on January 18, 2013


It's kinda cool having a Futurist on the site though.
posted by ersatz at 4:46 PM on January 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


This is getting a lot of press. More people have an opinion about Lance Armstrong's lies than about the Bush-Cheney lies that got us into a war in Iraq where hundreds of thousands died, and trillions of dollars were spent.

1. Armstrong beats advanced testicular cancer, is a badass cyclist, is beloved.
2. Armstrong creates cancer charity, Livestrong.
3. Armstrong is accused of doping, denies accusations extremely vigorously.
4. Armstrong seems to be a serious asshole.
5. Armstrong admits to doping with EPO, HGH, testosterone, etc., pretty much consistently.
6. Profit????

Question: Did possible use of steroids and testosterone play a role in his developing cancer? Isn't it kind of stupid to abuse steroids after having testicular & brain cancer? Winning at all costs really fucks things up.
posted by theora55 at 4:46 PM on January 18, 2013


We should encourage performance enhancing drugs and publicize them so that physical contests also become contests of science.

No, we shouldn't. We don't want female athletes have to choose between being good and being able to live life as a woman. We don't want athletes to have to choose between being good and living a long life or not getting cancer. We don't want the ubiquity of these drugs to lead college and high school athletes to assume that they are safe and that they can take them to get that edge.
posted by It's Never Lurgi at 5:01 PM on January 18, 2013 [7 favorites]


Steroid abuse is linked to liver cancer, but there hasn't been much research into the link to testicular cancer. Hyperbole aside, I think this is getting a lot of press because Lance was such a beloved sports figure. There was a time when those yellow wristbands were EVERYWHERE (I think his charity may have started that trend). He was sort of the sports hero a lot of people could get behind -- he had a compelling comeback story, and his sport, cycling, is something that a lot of non sports fans are into as well (unlike other individual sports like tennis). And he so vehemently denied the doping. Plus, you know, Oprah .
posted by bluefly at 5:07 PM on January 18, 2013


No, we shouldn't. We don't want female athletes have to choose between being good and being able to live life as a woman. We don't want athletes to have to choose between being good and living a long life or not getting cancer. We don't want the ubiquity of these drugs to lead college and high school athletes to assume that they are safe and that they can take them to get that edge.

They're already basically shortening their lives for other people's amusement. We should make it part of the show - develop drugs that give a huge short term boost, call them 'power ups', and let athletes inject then with giant glowing green Re:Animator style syringes.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 5:23 PM on January 18, 2013


Why not? Formula 1 racing is about how good your manufacturer is.


I've written this before, because this always comes up:

I'm an elite cyclist. And I'll be damned if I want to hear people telling me that my sport should be dirty because there's no other way, because what I hear is, "You should do awful, dangerous shit to your body." I don't want to show up to the National Championships and realize that I can only be competitive the way I should be if I spend my money and health on drugs.

Quite frankly, I hate that every time this conversation comes up somebody thinks they're clever and brings up the "there should just be a doping league" nonsense or one of its derivatives.
posted by entropone at 5:36 PM on January 18, 2013 [11 favorites]


-Cycling shouldn't be about how good your doctor is.

-Why not? Formula 1 racing is about how good your manufacturer is.

-I've long thought that auto racing would be much more interesting if the drivers randomly drew which car they were going to get about ten minutes before the race.


See, I think the cool thing about Formula 1 is that there is simultaneously a driver's and constructor's championship to attempt to solve this problem. The better drivers end up on the better teams, but you also know that it's not purely a function of the car, because otherwise the results would go Team A, car 1, Team A, car 2, Team B, car 1, etc.
posted by hoyland at 5:48 PM on January 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


A few parting words from St. George
posted by growabrain at 5:52 PM on January 18, 2013


They're already basically shortening their lives for other people's amusement. We should make it part of the show

That's sadistic. "Hey, would you like to be a great athlete? Want kids? Well, pick". "See that guy over there from North Korea? You think he gives a damn what Kim Jong Un told him to take? No, no he doesn't. So, if you want to beat him, shut up and take this".

Really nice. I'll pass.
posted by It's Never Lurgi at 6:29 PM on January 18, 2013 [5 favorites]


Betsy Andreu is my new hero. That woman is, wow.

I know a LOT of competitive amateur cyclists, crit and Ironman and so on. I know some who decided not to go pro because of the doping. The people who use the 'level playing field' argument do not remotely understand how cycling works.
posted by unSane at 7:40 PM on January 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


it tarnishes those who believed that hard work and sheer determination could lead to success. That if you were strong enough and worked hard enough you would find success.

I'm not sure that we should worry about adults who are naive enough to believe that.
posted by winna at 8:16 PM on January 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


There is a pitifully small amount of money in professional cycling, even UCI cat1 racing, compared to the NFL, NBA, MLB, etc. US broadcasters pay $20 billion for the NFL broadcast rights.

A quick Google search suggests that Lance Armstrong is worth 125 million dollars. There seems to be enough money in professional cycling to reward cheating.
posted by ActingTheGoat at 8:29 PM on January 18, 2013


This guy is the perfect face of the clinton/bush era in america - bully, sociopath, narcissistic.

I wonder if he violated any of his own nondisclosure agreements.
posted by lowest east side at 9:28 PM on January 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


Read this from Graeme Obree a while back as this all rumbled on, how his pro cycling career only lasted 12 hours because he wouldn't dope, which does add to the evidence skewering the 'everyone did it' defence.
posted by Abiezer at 9:50 PM on January 18, 2013 [3 favorites]


Lance Armstrong gets 24 Pinnochio noses from Wapo's fact checker, more even that the people who lied us into the Iraq War (you may remember that one as the war that killed a lot of people). I'm waiting for Factcheck.org to call his confession the lie of the year.
posted by dirigibleman at 10:40 PM on January 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


Lance Talk: $1 per Minute.
posted by unSane at 10:45 PM on January 18, 2013


The people who use the 'level playing field' argument do not remotely understand how cycling works.

I'm not sure the people involved with world-class cycling (or any world-class sport) really understand how it works, or are prepared to be honest about it if they do. Basketball players maybe, because there's no way to lie to yourself about how your determination and long years of dedication made you 6'7".

The simple truth is that people who can compete in that class were born to it. You and your competitors can do exactly the same workouts, eat exactly the same food, bring exactly equal determinations to win ... and what's left will be decided by the fact that your anterior vagal trunk is .01mm shorter than theirs.

There are a lot of ways to lose competitions at the world-class level -- you can not work out, not eat right, not care enough, whatever. But the only way to win consistently is to have had a happy genetic accident the day you were born.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 12:08 AM on January 19, 2013


28 Pinnochio noses. I can math.
posted by dirigibleman at 12:11 AM on January 19, 2013


Er, conceived.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 12:14 AM on January 19, 2013


"Of his desire to return to sport, Armstrong said he wasn't looking to take part in the Tour de France again, but added: "If you're asking me if I want to compete again, the answer is 'hell yeah, I'm a competitor'. It's what I've done all my life. I want to race, want to toe the line.

There are lots of things I can't do because of the ban. If there is a window of opportunity would I like to run the Chicago Marathon when I'm 50? Yes.

"When you see the punishment... I got a death penalty meaning I can't compete. I'm not saying that is unfair but it is different."

Armstrong said he "selfishly" wanted his life ban to be lifted. "Realistically, I don't think that will happen and I've got to live with that," he added.
"

Via BBC.

whaaa whaaa lance armstrong. Go cry somewhere else you lying cheating bullying cunt.
posted by marienbad at 3:20 AM on January 19, 2013


I really don't give a shit if an athlete uses some medication which allows them to train/perform better, longer, etc.


I think it is hypocritical to look at someone using medication as an Evil Cheater who is looked on with disgust but look at the athlete using multi-million dollar equipment, clothing, and other technological advances to improve their training and performance.

At least with drugs, you have a very inexpensive method to improve yourself. Any athlete competeing at that level can afford them. Obviously the cost of the high-tech advantages is only avail to the very wealthy people/countries
posted by 2manyusernames at 4:54 AM on January 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


Outside Magazine has published a follow up to It's Not About The Lab Rats, their piece on Livestrong (previously).

Our Fight With Lance And Livestrong
Burke, Outside’s founder and owner, was understandably concerned about all this, especially in light of Livestrong’s known litigiousness. We assured him the story would be fair, which it was. As we mentioned in the article, we were aware that two other magazines had abandoned in-progress Livestrong reporting because of similar threats. He supported us, the story ran as scheduled, and Livestrong followed up with a lot of loud squawling about how unfair we’d been.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 6:05 AM on January 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


Also, looking back, there's a few very ... vocal ... commenters in previous threads that have somehow managed to avoid the whole "Lance Armstrong & Doping" "conversation" this time around.

Actually, essentially nobody who's commented in support of Armstrong has popped in to say what they think now. I wonder why that is? Of course, nobody is ever obligated to comment on any given thing.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 6:49 AM on January 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


2manyusernames: "Obviously the cost of the high-tech advantages is only avail to the very wealthy people/countries"

This _is_ the dominant school of thought amongst many third world teams across many sports, ie wealthy nations have had access to better (more expensive, more effective, less harmful, less detectable) performance enhancing substances often years before they're noticed by testing agencies and subsequently banned.

But to use that to rationalize an anything-goes system is not fair, because many of them are actively harmful for athletes. Compare a highly paid team of nutritionists who monitor and scientifically plan an athlete's food intake to improve their health and performance vs a cheap injection that allows an athlete to train a little harder, but also significantly increases risk of heart or liver failure. Does the availability and lower price of the latter make it okay for teams to dictate that athletes take them to remain competitive?
posted by vanar sena at 6:54 AM on January 19, 2013


At least with drugs, you have a very inexpensive method to improve yourself. Any athlete competeing at that level can afford them. Obviously the cost of the high-tech advantages is only avail to the very wealthy people/countries.

It's not as simple as "inject steroid, get stronger," especially in sports where it's not about purely one-dimensional physical strength (like cycling). Doctors were calculating precise regimens and dosages for Armstrong and his teammates based on precise measurements of many things, down to their biological time of day vs. the actual time of day if they were in a new time zone. It's really not that cheap or easy.
posted by Etrigan at 7:36 AM on January 19, 2013


the man of twists and turns, I don't think John Cole posts here, but will this do?
Oh, BTW

Everything [1] I ever said [2] about Lance Armstrong I would like to retract. I watched that interview last night, and the only thing I saw was a complete and total sociopath. Not one bit of remorse. I kept waiting for him to admit that he used to eat body parts with Jeffrey Dahmer. He said the words, but he just didn’t give a fuck. Now I know why the investigators never stopped when it came to him. He was infuriating and crazy.

In this uncertain world with everything changing so rapidly, it is refreshing that I can be counted on to be wrong about everything. Always.
posted by maudlin at 7:50 AM on January 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


I knew that David Walsh had been on Armstrong's tail for ages, but I didn't know about this:
Among other things, Walsh speaks about the two times his efforts to uncover the truth about Armstrong got personal. Both instances reference the tragic death of Walsh’s 12-year-old son John.

1) when following the death of John Walsh in a bike accident, Armstrong accused Walsh of having a ‘vendetta against cycling’ and told his team about it. Walsh thought that was ‘sick’.
2) when author Daniel Coyle showed Armstrong the manuscript of his book ‘Lance Armstrong’s War’, which features Walsh talking about his relationship with John and stating that there was no one else that he’ll love as much as John, ‘sport’s greatest cheat’ went on a foul-mouthed rant about Walsh and his grief over John’s death.
However, Walsh said a few hours ago that he accepts the (perfunctory, pressured) apology Armstrong has said he would offer him. No reference to what he said about Walsh and his son: I guess it just applies to the general level of shit Armstrong gave the journalist over his writing.
posted by maudlin at 8:16 AM on January 19, 2013


I don't think John Cole posts here, but will this do?

Frankly, no. I want reactions from the members of this site who vehemently defended Lance Armstrong against any and all doping allegations, who claimed for years that anyone who thought he was doping were deluded, anti-American, conspiracy-theorists, looking to get out from their own record of cheating, how sure they were that Lance was clean, that there was nothing other than "hearsay" and "innuendo" against him.

I want to hear what they think now.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 8:55 AM on January 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


At least with drugs, you have a very inexpensive method to improve yourself. Any athlete competeing at that level can afford them. Obviously the cost of the high-tech advantages is only avail to the very wealthy people/countries.

That's incorrect. One person's worth of racing bikes costs, oh, say, maybe $15,000/year to the sponsoring company or companies.

A drug regimen will easily cost tens of thousands of dollars per year. A decent doctor to oversee it so that you don't die? Well, Armstrong allegedly paid Dr. Ferrari $100,000/year for more than ten years. And then there was use of a private jet to fly him and teammates to secret locations for blood-removal, part of blood doping.

The whole point of the allegations against Armstrong is not that he doped the same way everybody else did, but that he had access to far more resources than anybody else did, and so ran the most organized, sophisticated doping ring that sport has ever seen [paraphrased from USADA].
posted by entropone at 9:07 AM on January 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


Frankly, no. I want reactions from the members of this site who vehemently defended Lance Armstrong... I want to hear what they think now.

Why? What good would it do you or them? They didn't harm you or anyone else. They didn't enable Armstrong to wage his war on his detractors in any substantive way (it was his money and lawyers and UCI that did that). They didn't advance the cause of doping or harm the sport of cycling. They just believed a person who had a lot of evidence and testimony in his favor until it became apparent that he was no longer defensible. It's not a character flaw to just stop defending a person rather than posting a huge public I'M SO SORRY on MetaFilter.

Take the win. Be a better person.
posted by Etrigan at 9:26 AM on January 19, 2013 [3 favorites]


Ah. The non-apology apology. Jackass.
posted by 8-bit floozy at 9:42 AM on January 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


To those who just think that doping should be allowed and fuck it, that means that every child who dreams of being a pro athlete will need to accept that they will have to dope, and probably will need to be doping by the time they are in their early to mid teens.

Many of the drugs used are harmful, you get that, right?

My own view, which I know I repeat in every thread, but hey, is that there should be doping and non-doping leagues and a bust to the dopers is permanent.

Lance could probably head up the doping league. That'd give the asshole something to do, anyway.
posted by unSane at 9:50 AM on January 19, 2013


(By the way, I suspect the biggest surprise from the Oprah interview to people who haven't followed this closely is not that Lance doped, but that he is a colossal, narcissistic, prick)
posted by unSane at 9:52 AM on January 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


Frankly, no. I want reactions from the members of this site who vehemently defended Lance Armstrong... I want to hear what they think now.
Why? What good would it do you or them? They didn't harm you or anyone else.


People who simply defended Armstrong did no harm by being wrong. People who vehemently defended him often provided scorn and ridicule as is part and parcel for impassioned Internet discussion. An apology now that the facts are known wouldn't be amiss.

<cheapshot>
Under the circumstances, an apology for just getting caught would do fine.
</cheapshot>
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 10:02 AM on January 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


So, in all of this, what's the scenario where Lance spends max time in prison? that's the one i'm rooting for.
posted by OHenryPacey at 10:36 AM on January 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


I had no interest in this at all - always thought he probably did cheat but really didn't care - but the interesting thing to emerge for me has been just how much of a horrible human being he is and how he has treated people appallingly for such a long time (with the threats and bullying and lawsuits) and how he feels no remorse whatsoever for that.

It's one thing to pump a whole heap of crap into your body; it's another thing to do that and to actively engage a whole bunch of other people in it in order to cover it up; it's another thing altogether to actively try to destroy other people who know you're lying and cheating and then to demonstrate a sense of justification and entitlement about just how much pain you've caused them because you didn't feel it was wrong/you had a tough childhood.
posted by heyjude at 2:31 PM on January 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


"Livestrong" - the "V" is silent

The alphabet is not their friend.
posted by fuse theorem at 3:31 PM on January 19, 2013


They're already basically shortening their lives for other people's amusement. We should make it part of the show

That's sadistic. "Hey, would you like to be a great athlete? Want kids? Well, pick". "See that guy over there from North Korea? You think he gives a damn what Kim Jong Un told him to take? No, no he doesn't. So, if you want to beat him, shut up and take this".

Really nice.


Sports are boring, cycling even more so. So my proposal either means more exciting sports or less athletes - either way I win.

I suppose their should be Wacky Racers style souped up bikes with weapons and stuff. That'll be cool too.

Again, I literally don't understand any of this - why people care, why people are so angry, why people had anything invested in Lance. Hell even with doping coming back from cancer to do that is pretty cool.

I do like the Sydney Morning Herald's headline: 'The Needle and the Damage Done'.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 3:45 PM on January 19, 2013


If the government wants to go after Armstrong, they might be able to get him on income tax evasion.

A mutual friend of Anderson and Armstrong (who landscaped some of Armstrong's properties) was paid in cash. The implication, here and elsewhere, is that Armstrong came home from European tours with boatloads of income that went unreported:
posted by drezdn at 5:32 PM on January 19, 2013


the man of twists and turns: Frankly, no. I want reactions from the members of this site who vehemently defended Lance Armstrong against any and all doping allegations, who claimed for years that anyone who thought he was doping were deluded, anti-American, conspiracy-theorists, looking to get out from their own record of cheating, how sure they were that Lance was clean, that there was nothing other than "hearsay" and "innuendo" against him.

Well, hey, come at me, then. I've watched cycling for years, my Dad's a cyclist, and to us Lance was the most thrilling participant that cycling had ever seen. Back when he was winning the Tour de France, Lance brought higher ratings, more sponsors and better funding to a sport badly in need of the attention. You couldn't even watch the Tour de France in my old hometown before Lance and his teams started winning; not even the cable sports channels covered it there. I remember how they used to change the scoring rules almost every Tour, just to try to handicap Lance, but he just kept winning. And through it all, we kept hearing how all of his drug tests came back negative. He didn't just say he didn't dope, he challenged them to randomly test him for drugs, all day ev'ry day as my kids would say. And when they did test him, they got nothing.

So when Lance contended he was drug-free, yes, I believed him. And, you know, after a while the French organizers of the Tour came to hold a grudging respect for him, too, and even thanked him for bringing so much attention to the sport, the Tour, and their country every year. And then Armstrong retired, made a half-ass comeback (stupidly, I agree), and when it didn't go so well, it seemed like he was done with the sport. I remember wondering why they kept going after him once he was done, saying he must have been doping, keeping up this witch hunt. I mean, Christ, he was out of the game. Meanwhile, Contador was riding and doping, taking the Tour win (and potential sponsors) away from Schleck, and getting a slap on the wrist for it!

Yeah, I really thought Armstrong was clean.

That makes me worthy of your ridicule? Thinking Lance Armstrong was the drug-free professional cyclist all the evidence indicated he was? That makes me a bad person?

And now you want some kind of apology, because I didn't assume he was guilty rather than innocent.

What can I say to that?

'I'm sorry I didn't believe it even though some random guy on the Internet told me Lance was lying'? 'Forget the negative drug tests, the _man_of_twists_and_turns knows it in his gut! Lance must be dirty!'

You sure showed me, all right.

If that makes you feel better, hey, good for you. I'm glad someone's getting some enjoyment out of this whole debacle. I'm just sad, disgusted and pissed to find out definitively after all this time that Armstrong is just a lying, cheating bully.
posted by misha at 8:49 PM on January 19, 2013 [9 favorites]


I never said I wanted an apology. I never said I wanted to ridicule people, and I never said that the people who believed Lance Armstrong when he said he didn't dope were bad people.

If it came off that way to you, I apologize for miscommunicating my intentions.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 1:02 AM on January 20, 2013 [2 favorites]


Again, I literally don't understand any of this - why people care, why people are so angry, why people had anything invested in Lance. Hell even with doping coming back from cancer to do that is pretty cool.

I think the reasons why are pretty clear if you do any reading at all on this, but I'll repeat them. It's not because he doped (everyone doped at that time). It's not because he lied about it (everyone lied about it too). It's because he went out of his way to destroy the careers and livelihoods and to slander the names of those who said that he was doping. He arranged for them to lose endorsements. He called them cheats, liars, and whores. Greg LeMond (the first American to win the Tour) has said that he's almost embarassed to be a Tour winner now. People assume that he doped and that's largely thanks to Lance Armstrong. Thanks, big guy.

That's why Lance has to burn. Not because he cheated, but because he was (and is, it would appear) a horrible person who used his power to hurt people.

People invested in Lance because he was an amazing story and he got the USA caring about the Tour de France. You bet the Tour liked that. Just as Usain Bolt is amazing for sprinting, Lance was fantastic publicity for the Tour (and I am not implying that I believe that Bolt dopes). That's why people followed him and believed in him. He was an amazing story and he accomplished staggering things. Then he turned out to be a lying bastard.
posted by It's Never Lurgi at 12:08 PM on January 20, 2013 [4 favorites]


Of all people, Paul Krugman sad something in his blog that caught my eye about this:
Innocent that I am, I never heard the term “affinity fraud” until the Bernie Madoff affair hit the news. But once you hear it, the concept is obvious: people are most easily conned when they’re getting their disinformation from someone who seems to be part of their tribe, one way or another.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 1:41 AM on January 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


Re the question about Ms. Poe. In Tyler Hamilton's book they said that they would refer to EPO as Edgar (as in edgar allan poe). Assuming it's a play on that.
posted by Spumante at 3:21 AM on January 21, 2013


LRB - In Defence of Lance Armstrong.
posted by unliteral at 5:31 PM on January 21, 2013


And through it all, we kept hearing how all of his drug tests came back negative. He didn't just say he didn't dope, he challenged them to randomly test him for drugs, all day ev'ry day as my kids would say. And when they did test him, they got nothing.

Except of course that we now know that he said that, then turned around and ran like a scared rabbit any time he might actually get tested. Or dropped out of races if he couldn't avoid it. Out of a desire/need/requirement to treat the racers like mature human beings with some right to have a life outside of their cycling, the testing organization stopped short of a requirement that someone present themselves on an hour's notice. Armstrong took every bit of that and used it to his advantage, then lied about it. Now every time someone who comes after has to suffer under onerous requirements and have their every action scrutinized under a microscope they can thank Armstrong for that. One person Can't Have Nice Things and now nobody can.

That isn't a slam against you in any way misha - I feel bad for people who were deceived, on whatever level. But I think we can't say often and loud enough how much advantage Armstrong took of every opportunity to cheat and then lie and slander everyone who got in the way of his doing it. As is said over and over above by others, why I loathe him isn't for the doping - though I disagree with the assessment that it's inevitable - it's for the way he slashed and burned his way through the world and all the lives he harmed along the way.
posted by phearlez at 12:19 PM on January 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


he challenged them to randomly test him for drugs, all day ev'ry day as my kids would say

How Did Lance Armstrong Beat Cycling's Drug Tests?
The simplest was pretending not to be home when the testers arrived. As long as they were in the city they had reported as their locations, the riders found they would not receive a warning for not answering the door.

The agency compared the whereabouts information it received from Armstrong over the years with messages between Armstrong and Michele Ferrari, a sports medicine doctor who is also a target of the doping investigation. There were revealing discrepancies, the report said.

And when they did test him, they got nothing.
also:
Usada contends in the report that the prescription and its explanation were both shams. In his affidavit to Usada, Tyler Hamilton, the disgraced former Olympic champion and Armstrong teammate, said the positive test prompted “a great deal of swearing from Lance and Johan.” A backdated prescription, a former team employee told Usada, was created to resolve the problem.
misha:and he's been tested over 500 times.
Armstrong’s account of how often he has been tested has varied. His lawyers, according to the report, have indicated that he provided samples 500 to 600 times over 14 years.

Usada said it tested Armstrong only 60 times, and it cited reports indicating that the International Cycling Union had tested him about 200 times, although Usada said many of the cycling union’s tests were for a health program rather than for prohibited substances.

“The number of actual controls on Mr. Armstrong over the years appears to have been considerably fewer than the number claimed by Armstrong and his lawyers,” Usada said.
misha:Don't f*ck with Lance. He's my hero.

misha, I really hate how you've characterized me as running on my "gut" and presented yourself as critically evaluating available evidence.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 11:25 PM on January 23, 2013


All of this stuff is just coming out now, though. Lance just confessed. You have pulled up comments I made in earlier threads, at a time when a grand jury had looked at all the accusations and completely exonerated Lance of all charges, AND the Federal Attorney's office dropped their case. Lance was officially an innocent man. Additionally, the person accusing Lance in the USADA report, Tyler Hamilton, had no credibility himself--he'd been banned for two years, then eight years, and then forced to give back his Olympic gold medal because of repeated positive drug tests throughout his career.

I've made no secret of having championed Lance in the past, but I was critically evaluating the available evidence. The fact that Lance was lying and there was a massive coverup meant I was basing my argument on specious evidence, yes, but I had no way of knowing that.
posted by misha at 12:35 AM on January 24, 2013






Yes, so here's the timeline:

2000-2002 There're allegations of doping by the USPS cycling team, and a probe into the allegations. Shortcut to the end: After 2 years, the case is dropped with no evidence of any doping.

2004 Lance Armstrong: Confidential was published only in France because Armstrong won the defamation case and got an apology from the Sunday Times for alleging he was doping.

2005-2006--French lab tests 1999 Beta samples and claim 12 samples test positive for EPO.
"The samples, which had been taken before the EPO test had been developed, allegedly showed evidence of EPO use but the lab personnel had no knowledge of the identities of riders behind positive samples.

A journalist from L'Equipe managed to acquire documentation from the UCI with sample numbers and match positives to those of Armstrong. However, the UCI's independent analyst ruled the data was unreliable and could not be used for doping punishment because the samples were tested strictly for research purposes. The World Anti-Doping Agency objected".
I remember when that happened, and that I thought it sounded bad for Armstrong. So I start researching, questioning cyclists, trying to get all the details.

You probably know all this, but the way testing works is that cyclists give two blood samples, an Alpha and a Beta. The Beta is intended as a backup confirmation in the event of a positive test. It's serves as a control so that if a cyclist disputes it, there's a way to replicate the test to make sure the positive wasn't a fluke. It also serves as proof for WADA to level a suspension against a rider or disqualify him from a Tour, etc.

But what if the Alpha test is negative? That's significant, because the agreed upon procedure (by cyclists, WADA, UCI, etc.) for riders who have negative Alpha tests is that any identifying paperwork linking the Beta samples to specific riders gets disposed of. Once the rider has tested clean, the samples are anonymized.

But in the "leaked" case,
"Not only were the "B" samples retained at LNDD, but the documents linking the samples, including Armstrong's, were not destroyed and were subsequently leaked to L'Equipe by either the LNDD lab or sources inside the French Cycling Federation."
So the protocol was broken and confidentiality breeched. We have no idea if the chain of possession protocol has been followed, either, so there's reason to doubt the leak right there. But even discounting that possibility, the leak had to come from either the Lab itself or the French Cycling Federation--a group that had already spent 2 years going after Armstrong and coming up empty.

So a lot of journalists, cyclists, and fans were suspicious about Armstrong being singled out here. 12 Beta samples supposedly tested positive, and 6 were Armstrong's. Why only name Armstrong, and not the other cyclist(s) associated with the remaining 6 positives?

Marie-Georges Buffet, who was Minister of Youth and Sport in 1999 explained that "I was a little bothered by the way L'Equipe used these old drug tests... to just publish one name (Armstrong's)... they need to watch out to not single out one individual over another in these cases.

Bernard Thevenet, the 1975 and 1977 Tour de France winner, was also perplexed by the L'Equipe article, explaining that "What bothers me is that these accusations come right when Armstrong has retired, and they come right before the UCI elections. I see two effects; a whack on the head for cycling and a question about the struggle against doping. EPO has been detectable since 2001, so why were these samples not tested since then?"
Looking back, we now know that Armstrong had been an asshole and a bully with the defamation suits, because everyone saying he had doped was telling the truth. That might explain why WADA and the French Cycling Federation might want to go after him specifically.

But at the time, factually, we have a cyclist who has already been investigated and cleared vs. the group that went after him in that investigation. They're coming up 5 years after the fact--and remember, Lance has retired at this point in time--to claim they have evidence that even though he tested negative back then in 1999, they have a Beta sample of blood they shouldn't even be able to identify as his and it is testing positive for EPO.

It sounds fishy. Concerns about privacy, medical confidentiality and ethics come into play. The UCI brings in an independent investigator, and the investigator says Armstrong should be cleared.

On the one hand, you feel like where there's smoke, maybe there's fire. On the other hand, you have Armstrong saying it's a witch hunt, and all the evidence lines up in his favor. And so it goes. Lance gets accused, Lance gets cleared.

This is getting LONG, so I'll just stop here, but that's how I was critically evaluating the evidence all along.

Oh, and all the blockquotes come from sources within your "Index of Lance Armstrong Doping Allegations" link.
posted by misha at 9:27 PM on January 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


It was a classic case where Occam's Razor should have applied. There were two alternatives, one which multiplied entities, and one which didn't.

-- lance was telling the truth, so physically unique he could win seven TDFs without doping, and all the people who claimed he was doping were lying and motivated by being crazy bitches, jealousy, revenge and so on, plus the lab test correlation was bunk.

-- lance was lying and had everything to lose.
posted by unSane at 11:25 PM on January 25, 2013


Humans love superheroes, tho.
posted by seanmpuckett at 4:12 AM on January 26, 2013


It was a classic case where Occam's Razor should have applied.

Looking at it from the perspective of 2013, yes. But look at it from the perspective of people who actually followed the sport, like misha said, one thing at a time. It took the compilation of the weight of evidence to show, "Yeah, there's a ton of proof here." That's why we have trials all at once -- because it's easy to apply Occam's Razor to Allegation One in 2002 and dismiss it, then Allegation Two in 2004 (and remember, you already dismissed Allegation One, so you're not applying Occam's Razor to Allegations One And Two), then Allegation Three in 2005, and so on and so forth. But when you get to 2012 and you have Allegations One through Seventeen all laid out in front of you at once, now the Razor says "Yeah, he's probably lying."
posted by Etrigan at 6:26 AM on January 26, 2013 [3 favorites]


look at it from the perspective of people who actually followed the sport,

Look at it from the perspective of anybody watching the 18th stage of the 2004 edition of the Tour de France--Armstrong's first confession.
posted by Chuckles at 8:56 AM on January 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


And his final confession.
posted by maudlin at 8:56 PM on January 27, 2013


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