In light of recent events I’m wondering if I am now supposed to rescind all of my blog entries that mention Lance Armstrong — of which there are quite a few, clustered around my “coverage” of the Tour de France in 2005 and 2010. After starting off as a Lance skeptic I eventually drank the Kool-Aid and started pulling for him, partly because I loved the way he pissed off the French, and partly because I just liked his style. I am only slightly embarrassed now to admit that these words are my own:
[Lance Armstrong] is supremely self-confident without crossing the line into arrogance. He believes in himself more than anyone I’ve ever seen with the possible exception of Muhammad Ali and Michael Jordan (for those of you keeping score at home, that’s the third Jordan reference in my Tour coverage). But he never talks trash about his opponents, never disparages them, just crushes their will by outperforming them.
So if Lance inspired me to turn a phrase I rather liked, and Lance turns out to be a fraud, does that make my writing fraudulent as well? This now is the central question. If Lance’s accomplishments are tainted, does that make them not accomplishments at all, or just something we need to view in a different light? I would kind of like to say the latter, though I’m hard-pressed to marshal any arguments on that side.
Quite frankly the whole thing just makes me sad and tired. As I said later in that same post,
We have precious few heroes and precious few reasons to celebrate these days.
And now we have one less. Sigh.