Lance Armstrong, giving up the fight, lets us all down
I'm sorry, Lance, but you let me down. Good luck in your pro-wrestling career.
Seattle Times Editorial
Hay and oats. That's what they call the approach in horse racing. A wish by some, so far futile, that the sport abandon medication. No Lasix to stop a horse's bleeding from the lungs. No Bute to ease pain in a horse's delicate joints.
No doping. Just hay and oats, good breeding, effective training and hard work.
That's what I wanted to believe about Lance Armstrong, that he could win seven Tour de France titles, be the best in the world and do it all on the human equivalent of hay and oats.
As a ride-to-work bicyclist on Seattle's hills, I can imagine how hard it must be to climb up a pass in the Alps or the Pyrenees, to beat everyone to the finish line day after day of the tour, year after year. That just added to my admiration for Armstrong.
On hills, I'm the self-titled slowest bike rider in the world, seven times over. I get passed on the slightest uphill by everyone, including once on an Eastlake Avenue rise by an unknown one-legged bicyclist who now moves up in the standings from my second-most admired cyclist to the most-admired.
Sorry, Lance, but you let me down. I still admire the awareness you brought to cancer research with your foundation and your Livestrong campaign, and I hope you can continue that work unencumbered. But like the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, I see your dropping of the fight to defend your name as an admission of guilt. That you doped, that you took unpronounceable substances to boost your oxygen-carrying red-blood cells, that you ingested steroids and had blood transfusions. That you cheated -- all to give yourself an edge over others in the field.
You're a competitor who would ride out this fight-- unless the charges were true.
You think I'd learn. That I shouldn't hang too much on jocks. Stick to participatory sports and never cast an eye or a notion on spectator sports again. No hero-worshipping, not the least bit of admiration lest I get dealt another Lyle Alzado moment. Until that NFL lineman admitted using steroids and human-growth hormones, I couldn't get enough of his fierce play on the field and his partying ways off of it. Then he went and died of brain cancer he blamed on his illicit efforts to build the perfect football body.
Even after that 1992 letdown, and many since, what I still want out of sports -- beyond my own participation and enjoyment -- is for every competitor to step onto the pitch, sit astride a saddle or wield a baseball bat with the same hay and oats coursing through their veins. Anything more by an athlete and he or she belongs in professional wrestling, which I don't think is going to suit Lance very well.
John B. Saul, editorial writer