How Lance Armstrong’s Wall Fell, One Rider at a Time – NYTimes.com

This isn’t a story about diplomacy or international affairs.  Its a morality tale of Shakespearean dimensions and a reminder when we discuss the ethics of states or policy among nations that one of the most complex and unknowable areas is within ourselves.  A heart wrenching tale of deception, coercion, and failure–masked by winning, success, and achievement:

“Lance Armstrong never came up,” Messick said in an interview last week. “But he did make a comment on the Mafia. He said, When you’re in the Mafia and you get caught and go to jail, you keep your mouth shut, and the organization takes care of your family. In cycling, you’re expected to keep your mouth shut when you test positive, but you become an outcast. Everyone just turns their back on you.”

Antidoping officials on multiple continents had pursued Armstrong for years, in often quixotic efforts that died at the wall of silence his loyal teammates built around him as the sport’s global king. Armstrong kept the dark side of his athletic success quiet, investigators and cyclists said, by using guile and arm-twisting tactics that put fear in those who might cross him.

via How Lance Armstrong’s Wall Fell, One Rider at a Time – NYTimes.com.

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11 thoughts on “How Lance Armstrong’s Wall Fell, One Rider at a Time – NYTimes.com

  1. Leah Copeland says:

    Lance Armstrong and his team were a corrupt set of individuals determined to win. Breaking rules and pushing the limits of deception worked for a long time. This complicated ring of doping, secrecy, and mutual trust led Armstrong and his teammates to successes seemingly unrreal. Armstrong also used his success as a platform for the Livestrong cancer charity.

    This is all unfortunate. An American icon has fallen, debatable in the largest sports scandal to date. There are many things we can learn from his mistakes, though. Firstly, we must follow the rules. As Church members we understand what is right and wrong as well as the importance of helping others make good choices. The difficulty comes when the rewards are great, the bad choice is easy to make, and support from an entire team ready to help cover up is available. In all areas of life, we must conciously work to affect those around us positively and make them want to make good choices. This is easier said then done but the payoff, although distant, is great.

    http://www.cnn.com/2012/10/22/sport/lance-armstrong-profile-cycling-usada/

  2. SS Mughal says:

    It’s very sad to think that an accomplished cyclist many people looked up to had such a dark side to his achievements. At the same time, his story reminds us that in the long run, cheaters don’t win. This sad event can be tied to many aspects of our lives, whether it’s sports, school, or even relationships. Lance Armstrong is already feeling the repercussions of his poor choices–he’s lost his seven Tour de France titles, multiple companies that once proudly sponsored him have turned away from him, and he’s lost a lot of respect internationally. To make matters even worse, he was hailed as an accomplished person not only for his cycling abilities, but for overcoming cancer. Many, many people are upset about Armstrong’s choices, but hopefully we can all remember that in the end, honesty is the best policy.

    Here’s an article about the latest challenge Armstrong is facing after his poor decision: http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Latest-News-Wires/2012/1022/Company-that-paid-Lance-Armstrong-s-winnings-wants-money-back-video

  3. kelseyclark says:

    On Lance Armstrong’s official website there is an article entitled, ” I Still Believe in Lance Armstrong.” An excerpt from the article says, “I still believe in Lance Armstrong. I believe his decision had nothing to do with fear of being found guilty in a public setting before an arbitration panel, but the emotional and mental toll of years and years of fighting charges that have never been officially substantiated—despite stemming all the way back to 1999.”

    A recent statement from Armstrong reads, “I am more at ease and at peace than I have been in 10 years, We’ve got to stop with this. For my own mental health. For my family. For the foundation. And for the sport of cycling. Cycling doesn’t need this.”

    In my opinion is is sad to see that Armstrong is trying to come off as a hero to “change” cycling. He didn’t step forward to be “honest”, he is only sorry because he got caught and knew that they had evidence against him.

    Many donors to his foundation are asking for refunds. In addition, not only is he banned and his titled have been stripped from him, but he has suffered a loss of endorsements for $35 million and the forfeiture of $12 million in past winnings. It doesn’t pay to lie and cheat–literally.

    http://www.lancearmstrong.com/news-events/newsweek-cover-story-i-still-believe-in-lance-armstrong

    http://www.thenewstribune.com/2012/10/23/2341439/lances-good-deeds-tainted.html

  4. claytonconley says:

    An american icon has died. It’s disappointing to see the consequences of cheating – Lance Armstrong inspired so many individuals and yet he didn’t play by rules. This is a sad story of the Machiavellian sort. The ends certainly didn’t and will never justify the means. Though he essentially sold his soul for seven Tour de France titles, Lance Armstrong still remains an iconic figure for reasons. He overcame cancer and was determined to ride in the Tour de France. He started the Livestrong Foundation which has helped countless individuals plagued by cancer. He has inspired a generation of cyclist to push past human limits, despite the fact that he did it dishonestly. It’s a complicated story indeed. He was dishonest, but I hope we don’t soon forget the good Lance Armstrong did.
    http://www.livestrong.org/

  5. jackie3clark says:

    Being a part of MUN I took a different perspective to this article. In some aspects this article reminds me of the Stag Hunt game theory (shout out to anyone who has taken Comparative Politics) and a single-party regime.

    “The Stag Hunt”: In the stag hunt there are a group of hunters that are all want the stag (a deer-like animal that has meat on it – my interpretation). To kill the stag they need to surround the stag and then take it down! Cool thing about a stag hunt, is that the leader has a hunter that is dispensable. if that hunter leaves, the stag circle just closes in and makes said hunter an outcast. BUT, if more than one hunter decides to leave the circle then the regime collapses and no one gets the stag. Another part of this theory is that all these hunters are REALLY hungry, and while they are hungry there is a rabbit running on the outside of their circle. If they choose the rabbit they lose their job as a hunter, they become an outcast and they don’t get any piece of the stag, but they get a rabbit.

    How it applies to Armstrong?:

    Lead Hunter: Armstrong
    The Stag: winning races and their jobs
    The hunters: Floyd, Hincapie, Vaughters…etc.
    The rabbit: a clean conscience

    Just like the stag hunt, one of the hunters left: Floyd Landis. He left because he didn’t see eye to eye with the Lead hunter and he finally wanted out. He wanted his rabbit. So he left the circle. Little did he know (and probably didn’t care) was that he was indispensable. Armstrong’s regime was large, noteworthy, and full of “respectable” bikers. One piece falling out of place, did not discredit the honor of all the other members.

    Now, Floyd with his rabbit, Cottontail, is sitting on the outside of the circle cuddling with it, feeding it carrots, and playing leap frog with it, while all the other hunters look enviously over their shoulders. They want their rabbit. They don’t want to have to deal with this mess anymore. But they know that once they choose the rabbit their careers (the stag) goes down the drain. But they do it anyway, and I am glad they did, because the doping-Armstrong-cycling regime is no longer in power.

    More than this story about a fallen hero, it also relates to politics and the complications that many countries deal with today.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stag_hunt

  6. logankeicher says:

    Though I, in no way, condone cheating, I personally still look up to Armstrong as a hero figure. It saddens me to find out that all his accomplishments came, in part, through illegal means. But to me, the main example that he set and the legacy that he left was never the 7 titles he won. People looked up to him because of the things he had to overcome to get to the level where he could even compete for a title. The trophies were just the icing on the cake. We don’t know if he would have won those titles had he not taken performance enhancing drugs, but the fact that he survived cancer, fought through the difficulties of training for the most rigorous bike race in the world after going through that physical pain, and then established a company in Livestrong whose color yellow became a symbol of fighting and overcoming cancer. He inspired so many to be better and to not let a disease control their lives. While part of his credibility was lost with the recent discoveries, what he stands for should be held much higher than what he fell for.

    http://www.rgj.com/article/20121021/COL0301/310210063/BLSC-Lance-Armstrong-s-legacy-must-teacher-by-bad-example

  7. I can remember when practically everyone had the yellow Livestrong bands around their wrists. Armstrong was a great advocate for cancer research, and was considered one of the greatest role models and iconic Americans. He was a person who was deeply affected by cancer, and overcame by sheer will. However, recent events reveal that not only Armstrong, but a majority of the US Postal team doped to improve their performance. One of the members of the team, who was encouraged to dope for the team, if not for himself, said being told to cheat was one of the hardest things he was ever put through.

    This article from the BBC describes how the team was able to avoid drug detection for so long by carefully tracking the “glowtime” or the time period in which drugs can be detected, as well as avoiding testing in general (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-19912623). Another cyclist described that drug testing was more a test of discipline and shrewdness. With new insight into the US Postal team’s elaborate drug scheme, hopefully anti-doping agencies will be able to strengthen, or at least improve, drug testing and make the sport of cycling less corrupt.

  8. Annie Ellis says:

    As disappointing as this is, I can’t say that I’m surprised. Doping occurs way more frequently in cycling than I think we realize even now. A few years ago, I was in Italy and we met an Italian man whose brother ran a hotel that was used by the cyclists during the Tour de France. He said after the cyclists left, they would go into the rooms and just find piles of needles all over the place. I wish Armstrong had chosen to be above that. However, I do still admire him for overcoming cancer and continuing to race after that. But this confirmation of his actions does cast quite a dark shadow over his reputation and my opinion of him.

    http://www.bicycling.com/news/pro-cycling/lance-armstrongs-endgame

  9. ayoungkang says:

    It is an unfortunate example of how a single wrong choice can let down not only the mass who supports you but also the closest people that you love the most. Yet I am glad that the charge never dropped out in time being and finally convicted his implicated mistakes, so much often in other countries a lot of players mange to find a way around the charge. It also a problem of fairness that can be tangibly measured, as he won a lot of winning prizes that he now has ti pay back for: http://www.cnn.com/2012/10/13/sport/armstrong-doping-sunday-times/index.html
    Consequences are great, I am interested in how international politics decision and the national interest will collide and what consequences it will bring. But I expect that , like Lance’s case, I will only be able to judge it after decades have past and all became a history.

  10. emilylheath says:

    This article says so much not only about Lance but about our world. It’s important to remember as diplomats that people don’t play fair. Undercover negotiations and activities take place everyday and are kept secret from the rest of the world. Often our intelligence uncovers pieces of the puzzle; things other governments don’t want us to know. Unfortunately diplomats then have to make tough decisions determining whether or not they will stand up against suspected activity and face ridicule, or stick with the “truth.” The result of such a dilemmas is either the unveiling of further facts, or an attempt to hide what’s really happening.
    The whole situation with Lance and trying to balance what diplomats say with what’s actually happening reminds me a lot of Iran. Iran says they’re only enriching uranium for peaceful purposes, but we really have no idea what’s going on behind the border. Are they still 20 years away from a nuclear bomb after all? Or will one be launched at Israel in a matter of months? It’s risky business trying to negotiate with people who not only hide their cards, but don’t even let you know what game they’re playing, but that’s why we have diplomats. To negotiate the un-negotiable.
    These two articles show different takes on Iran’s nucs:
    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/28/world/middleeast/netanyahu-warns-that-iran-bombmaking-ability-is-nearer.html?pagewanted=all
    http://news.antiwar.com/2012/02/25/new-york-times-us-intelligence-says-iran-not-developing-nukes/

  11. It is extremely sad how he is losing all these titles. Something that really struck me as important in this article was how all his team members continued to hide what he was doing. I think something positive out of this experience is people will be more likely to report sooner.
    http://news.yahoo.com/26-testify-against-lance-armstrong-doping-case-225754238–spt.html

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