Friday, January 21, 2011

Lance Armstrong Can Become Fraud or Endearing Hero: False Alarm or True?

As difficult as it seems to locate bits and pieces of the truth, whether it's because the allegations are inaccurate, whether it's because the entire news hasn't surface or whether it's because the average individual doesn't know what to believe, we can assume that Lance Armstrong never swallowed or injected himself with steroids.

Here is the problem: If he really used performance-enhancers on his remarkable journey to win seven consecutive Tour de France races, clearly as the world's greatest cyclist at the end of every stage to perpetually celebrate in ecstasy and fulfill triumph each summer in the annual event, he could tarnish his image and potentially face unlawful troubles. Amazingly, he made it all look too easy as a phenomenal cyclist who couldn't lose, conquering the sport and fighting off a malicious disease with prostate cancer to simply become one of the likable and inspirational symbols, an American icon everyone cherished greatly.

Sadly, in an age that sleazes poison the integrity of sports with their sicken motives to inanely outsmart the rules and beat the system, the focus shifted towards his accusations, not even the historical achievements he produced in recent memory. As far as people are concerned, without any doubt in our minds, all they are asking is for Armstrong to address the never-ending ordeal by telling the truth and putting a crisis to rest.

If it's true that performance-enhancers helped his cause, then he needs to be spotless and honest for protecting his reputation and credibility as an inspirational figure, someone many admire for not only his miraculous wins, but also for his battle with cancer. Throughout the years, since he established the Lance Armstrong Foundation in 1997, he has raised a mere $325 million for the fight against cancer, becoming a modest hero for many ailing with cancer.

But it still doesn't justify that he's an innocent man of his wrongdoings, particularly if gruesome news constantly comes to light of his steroid usage in the past, flashing back to the days when he was unbeatable and enticing to watch when he pedaled and rode on a long, exhausting course in France. So now he remains silent, not providing specifics in the convoluted story. Sadly enough, it's unclear if he really doped ever in his momentous career, with the exception of hearsay and assumptions that has turned the unknown issue into an irregular and ambiguous mess.

All of the sudden, he's an embattled man, ridiculed after the latest accusations were released and treated as if he's the saddest fraud in the sports world, a pariah no one has stopped dwelling on when all of this might be nothing more than just a false alarm. In this world we live in, critics are fast to bring down an athletic personality, without reserving judgment. All of which scandals these days are foreshadowed. And now, with evidence that he probably lied, fooled us and deceived us, the latest issue of Sports Illustrated released that US federal investigators had amassed enough proof in the shameful plague.

In a sense, it's not surprising to believe that the seven-time Tour de France champion Armstrong is now the center of attention for a federal grand jury inquiry in Los Angeles. It comes as no surprise in a fraudulent era when the myriad of sports figures inject or swallow performance-enhancers to reduce pain or even to disrespect purity in sports and boost their performance levels that gives athletes an advantage in competition, but unbelievably kills competitiveness.

With many feeling betrayed and hoodwinked, after the latest news broke of Armstrong having access to a blood substitute in clinical trails, he leaves me with suspicion that he's not telling the truth and mistakenly is keeping secrets. It turns out we owe his counterpart, Floyd Landis, much credit for coming clean in his emotional confession. It's easy to forgive him faster when he admitted using testosterone patches, EPO and other banned substances for nearly a decade, unlike other fraudulent athletes who haven't had the audacity to confess.

Following his admission, he claimed there was doping within Armstrong's US Postal team in the 2002-04 season. It takes guts to bring down one of your counterparts, unless the individual is very compassionate like Greg Anderson, Barry Bonds, weight trainer, when he testified to a federal grand jury that organized a perjury investigation of Bonds and spent 15 days in federal prison for refusing to testify to a prior grand jury. Not since then has someone jeopardized much to protect the life of a personal friend.

To some degree, Landis informed the world that he wasn't alone in the doping scandal, and quickly pointed his finger towards Armstrong. If you had to compare Armstrong to Landis, only to invoke a needless debate that creates headlines, you'd honestly believe that Landis is loyal while Armstrong is portrayed as a liar and cheater. In contrast, he is ashamed of the humiliation and that he was caught, merely becoming worse with the recent reports. The ugliest accusation to smudge the image of a lovable hero in our country is hatching a report that states the investigators have information.

What's even worse, upon the difficulty of finding out the truth and proving if Armstrong is innocent or liable, is that none of this is healing anytime soon, not when he allegedly gained access to HemAssist in the late 1990s but it remains unknown if he actually used the drug. By animal studies, it has proven to enhance the blood's oxygen-carrying capacity, but limited risks as EPO.

For now, maybe forever hopefully, he denies ever taking HemAssist, according to his lawyer. But one of his former teammates riding with Armstrong, ex-USPS cyclist Landis alluded to the time Armstrong flew into St. Moritz and said that he had drugs in his bag after officials requested for everyone to open their bags to search for explosive items or concealed weapons, which Armstrong denies ever happening.

"If a court finds that Armstrong won his titles while taking performance-enhancing drugs, his entourage may come to be known as the domestiques of the saddest deception in sports history," written in the story.

Because of his generous heart and soul as a person, he has lifted spirits across the world and helped save lives. Still, the lamest excuse is that steroids served as a cure to strengthen his health status, a risky situation which could have really affected his health and added to the scare of possible death. In fact, he had the courage and determination to fight after cancer almost killed Armstrong, a Livestrong advocate with a heavy heart and has raised money and donated much for hopeless, ill patients battling for their lives each day.

His Livestrong bracelets mostly describes the type of individual he is, a loving and kindhearted man, even if he's proven guilty of his sins in cycling after we clearly believed that he was one of the cleanness athletes in America. But it's hard to believe anything these days. Once again, only this time deeper than before, reporters delved through documents to unveil the specifics of the investigation's evidence in a perplexing case. But in the upcoming weeks, known as a savior, he can suddenly be known as a liar, fraud or worse a criminal.

If so, he deserves to be stripped of all his achievements, simply for enhancing his competence by taking in drugs. In fairness, he shouldn't be permitted to keep his awards when the IOC vacated three of Marion Jones' gold and two bronze metals. Surely, he's not a bad man, but a nice guy we admire in this country, and come to think of it, we need other people as useful as Armstrong. He saves lives, but this doesn't mean he gets a free ride if he used drugs.

After all, he jumped out of his deathbed and raced. As he tries to live a perfect and healthy life, we are curious to know if he doped or not.

If so, what's next?

That's an excellent question.