Friday, July 1, 2011

Lance and Livestrong.

I was recently considering signing up for one of the Livestrong Challenge events. These events are held are various locations throughout the country and involve running and/or cycling. This event would be a supported ride that could act as a long training day for my Ironman training. (Note it is getting difficult to get folks to join me for long rides as some of my training pals are starting their Placid taper). Last Sunday I rode 47 miles before I met a friend for an additional 30. This was after riding a few hours of hills the day before solo. This weekend has 7 hours in the saddle, an OWS and some "running" for me but lets get back on topic.

An added benefit of these Livestrong events (or drawback whichever way you look at it) is that in addition to the registration fee, an additional $250 is required to be raised or donated to Livestrong. For those who are unaware (yes, there may be some), Livestrong is a charity that, per their web site, "looks at the experiences of the cancer community, find problems and develop solutions. Then roll them out to help more people in more situations." A great mission. It was founded by Lance Armstrong and he is still closely associated with this charity. Therein lies the rub.

Lance comes to mind through another vector as this weekend marks the beginning of Tour de France. I don't think there is any denying that Lance Armstrong was/is a historic athlete. His accomplishments speak for themselves. But was he clean? Are any of them? Should we care? And does this potentially stain the charity or these charity events?
The evidence around Lance continues to become public. The Sports Illustrated report, Tyler Hamilton on 60 minutes, Floyd Landis' claims, and others seemingly every day. On the Lance side of the equation he has denied doping and points to the gazillion tests that have not found him guilty. Could it be that Lance is only guilty of associated with the wrong people? Is not being caught the same as not being guilty?

I own a lot of Livestrong/Nike branded clothing and a few of the yellow bracelets. I keep believing that at some point Lance will be "stated" as guilty. I say "stated" as proof at this point is going to have to be interpreted in some manner.

What will that do to the charity? Their mission is still great. Will that impact fundraising? Absolutely.

I think I need to separate Lance the athlete from Lance the person from Livestrong the charity. I doubt we'll get to closure on the first two but I think the charity has merit. Even so, I've decided to not buy the Livestrong cycling jersey now and I doubt I'm signing up for this event. However, I may do it in the future and I may donate to this charity if my philanthropy goals point me in that direction.

Did Lance cheat? I don't know but I wouldn't be surprised if it comes out that he did at some point in time. Will that matter to the people that the charity has already helped? I think not so much.


Patrick Mahoney said...

I used to care about whether or not Lance doped - a lot. Now I don't care at all. It is what it is. And you are 100% correct, this inquisition (if successful) will put a big dent in Livestrong, which will be tragic.

They are chasing after a truth that is arguably just, but in the wrong way. The Lance thing is now all about the public's thirst for justice through a media circus proxy - Diluted and sensational.

And by the way, if you want to clean up cycling, the last place to look to for guidance is the UCI and the various national governing bodies. We need to wait for a generation of Director Sportifs who will take full zero tolerance responsibility for clean riding at the team level. I believe Jonathan Vaughters was the first. Who's next? Probably there is an argument that says the US teams will continue to lead this charge.

Sorry for the rant but I've been thinking about this a lot lately and I think this is the way the land lies IMHO.

Have a good Holiday. I think I'm pretty much in the saddle just as long this weekend.

Patrick Mahoney said...


"Full zero tolerance responsibility AGAINST DIRTY RIDING" makes more sense. My bad.

Anne said...

For some reason, I fully believe that every single cyclist who rides at Lance's level, including Lance, dopes! It doesn't personally change my perception of him, as that is just the way it is in his sport and he still had to train hard to achieve what he did. It's just sad that a whole sport is so corrupt...not that it's the only corrupt sport of course. My two cents :)

Caroline said...

I think he did. I dont really care all that much. Most people could never do what he did, dope or no dope. I think the worst part of all this IF he did is the lie. I agree it would only do damage to his charity and is it worth it? I think no.
It is not looking good for him. I read the SI report. I would be worried if it was me and I would come clean IF I did it. If he did not do it, this is situation sucks big time.

Michael said...

You bring up such good points. I still don't know how I feel about the subject. Sometimes I just want to say I don't care about this crap, but at the same time, to say you were the best of the best...but it was because you had a little extra help well that's is cheating plain and simple. I do think unfortunately it will have an impact on the charity which is really too bad.

jillieb2 said...

I totally feel the same as Anne and Patrick. This doping thing is sooo out of hand all across the sporting field! Shame on the coaches too, who know it's going on!
On another note,I wear my yellow bracelet as a reminder to my friends and family who died of cancer, not because of Lance. I lost two young cousins to cancer. Life can be so unfair;( And that's why we're all out there pushing our limits....because WE can.

Jason said...

Go with your gut on this and if it still bothers you then donate to the American Cancer Society. Donate to the Leukemia Society. Livestrong is not the only cancer charity in the game.

I don't know the answer to your questions but I know that you will figure it out and do what's right by you.

Big Daddy Diesel said...

Personally, I dont care. He is the only reason America even knows what the Tour De France is and he a huge reason why alot of people are biking. I guess I look at it from the baseball viewpoint. McGwire and Sosa saved the sport of baseball after the lockout, it was fun and interesting to watch. Everyone was glued to the TV when those 2 played. I remember exactly the 63rd home run that Mark hit.

Did Lance dope, I dunno, do I think he doped, probably at some point in his career. Do I care, no. (being a total hypocrite, I think cheatador shouldnt be in the tour this year)

We have a ride like yours, but yours is alot cheaper, ours is $1000+