“Enough is enough”. Those were Lance Armstrong’s last words before the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) claimed to ban him for life and strip him of his seven Tour de France medals.
Lance Armstrong has been and will continue to be the face of cycling for a long time. He was the one who put cycling on the map in the U.S. by winning seven Tour de France’s after defeating testicular cancer. Armstrong’s remarkable journey came to an end last Friday when he gave up fighting against the allegations of illegal doping and “trafficking and administering doping products to others,” according to the USADA.
Although, the USADA has not yet made a final ruling, if found guilty, Armstrong could be stripped of his medals and banned from cycling for life. The penalty would wipe out all of Armstrong’s achievements dating back to 1998. The World Anti-Doping Agency and the International Cycling Union are still analyzing the evidence against Armstrong.
According to Armstrong, he never had a fair chance to clear his name. He was quoted saying, “I refuse to participate in a process that is so one-sided and unfair.” Coming from a man who fought and defeated cancer and then went on to win multiple titles, it’s hard to believe that he would just give up. We don’t yet know the truth about the doping charges against Armstrong.What we do know is that the result could potentially tarnish Armstrong’s astonishing legacy.
Let’s briefly look back on Armstrong’s legacy. It began when, at the age of 25, he was told by doctors that he had stage three testicular cancer that had spread to his brain and his lungs. They said he had a 40 percent chance of living. After winning his first and most important fight over cancer, Armstrong went on to win seven titles, which would make him the most decorated cyclist of all time.
To put that in perspective, the Tour de France is a 23 day event in which 21 days consist of tough competition and the other two days are for rest. The average length of the race is 2,000 miles. Each race is broken up into stages and each stage is timed. Winning the Tour de France is almost a super-human feat. But, winning it seven times in a row after surviving cancer is even harder to imagine.
But Armstrong’s legacy goes beyond cycling. His successful fight against cancer gave millions of cancer patients hope. He created the Lance Armstrong Foundation which raises millions of dollars for cancer research. He has inspired cancer patients across the world through his persistence, courage and achievements.
No matter what the final penalty is, Lance Armstrong will always be remembered for overcoming insurmountable obstacles and for the millions he has raised to find a cure for cancer. In the end, I don’t believe that these allegations will end Armstrong. They will just serve as another obstacle in his phenomenal legacy.