I've never met or talked to the man, but I have a long relationship with Lance Armstrong. It started in 1989, when I did my first triathlon in Miami. Lance was a 16 year old upstart who came in second in that race. I came in around 1,654th. I used to love telling people that "I raced against Lance Armstrong." Now, not so much.
My relationship with Lance Armstrong evolved over the years. My office used to be a shrine to him with posters and prints and framed op-ed pieces that I wrote for various newspapers, talking about what a great athlete, husband, father and role model he was. This was before the divorce, the parade of celebrity girlfriends and break-ups and the downward spiral of doping allegations and suspensions that engulfed cycling and just about everyone associated with and close to Lance Armstrong.
The Lance Armstrong paraphernalia has long since been removed as it became increasingly obvious that cycling was and probably still is a filthy sport, filled with cheaters, liars and scoundrels.
Is Lance Armstrong one of them? We may never know. We do know, however, that in addition to being an accused doper, he is also now a quitter. It makes me sad that someone who was an inspiration to so many, including me, is going to be a tragic footnote, like Shoeless Joe Jackson, Pete Rose and the pathetic Joe Paterno.
These are my cycling related posts, dating back to 2006, on this blog. They hold up pretty well, I think. Too bad. They point to a house of cards that Lance Armstrong and pro cycling built and which we all knew one day had to collapse.