For your sanity’s sake Lance, it’s time to speak the truth
This is just getting sad now. Defiant Lance has turned to Denial Lance, a man who oozes guilt like he used to ooze sweat while climbing Alpe d’Huez but who just won’t ’fess up and spit it all out.
To draw a parallel to a classic movie scene, Lance has become Monty Python’s Black Knight. He is on his knees, blood gushing from severed limbs with nothing left to fight with but his tongue. So he fights on with hollow words, even as the threat of perjury hangs over him.
If it wasn’t such a comical farce, it’d be downright pathetic. In fact, it is pathetic to see Lance now, each move now more aimless than the next. First he declines to fight USADA’s 1,000 pages worth of charges, yet still admits no guilt. Then he takes the title of Tour de France winner off his Twitter bio, yet still doesn’t ‘fess up to a thing.
It’s now gotten to the point where you’ve seriously got to wonder about the guy’s state of mind.
On the eve of Lance Armstrong’s first appearance at the Tour Down Under in early 2009, I wrote a fawning piece about how he was mad, but mad in a good way. I wrote, and please forgive me for quoting myself, that he was:
“mad enough to return to cycling and try to claim his eighth Tour de France title at the age of 37, that’s how mad. Mad enough to believe he can actually win the thing. Mad enough to be planning to wire himself up in the 2009 Tour, publish his blood tests online and freeze that same blood for the scrutiny of future generations of doubters. Mad enough to believe that your cancer journey doesn’t end when your doctor gives you the all clear. And mad enough to come all the way to a cycling backwater like Australia to get some early season race fitness into his legs - those same legs he’s kept in shape by chasing Hollywood’s starlets around. But do you know what really makes Lance Armstrong a basket case? His willingness to put everything on the line…
Lance will never be a person everyone loves. When you read his book It’s Not About the Bike, there’s an abrasive side to the bloke that emerges from between the lines and occasionally smacks you straight in the face. Lance can be prickly. Lance can be stubborn. Lance will tell people to ‘F’ off with only the slightest provocation…. But in a world where athletes talk in bland, rehearsed clichés and hollow old platitudes, Lance is out there riding his own race, telling it as he sees it, both for his own benefit and the benefit of the wider community.
We should all be so lucky to consider ourselves half as mad.
As you can see, when I called the guy mad in 2009, I meant inspirational mad, visionary mad, good mad. There’s more than a faint whiff now that the guy is bad mad, as in so deluded he has become unable to see past his own lies. I’m not alone in seeing it that way.
Yesterday I spoke to a gentleman by the name of Chris Golis, who specialises, among other things, in a condition called “corporate psychopathy”, a condition which he says is as common in sport as it is in the business world.
According to Chris Golis, the corporate psychopath is marked by their charm (Lance certainly ticks that box), their ability to deceive (another big tick) and wait for it, blaming others for their own mistakes (tick, tick, tick).
As Golis says, “the problem is that all these behaviours take time to recognise and often it is too late.” (Yet another big tick).
The corporate psychopath is often also into gambling and when you think about it, Lance is a classic gambler, even if he prefers to stake his own reputation rather than money. His attitude to drugs was a massive gamble, as was his desire to put his career on the line to make that comeback in 2009 aged 37.
Chris Golis says that around 15 per cent of the general population has a tendency towards being a bit of a psychopath. Half of that group, or around 7.5 per cent of the population “have no moral compass and are the ones who break the rules and hope they don’t get caught, bluffing their way through life”.
Tick, tick, tick, tick, tick.
Lance Armstrong has now been in such a prolonged state of denial that you wonder if he has the mental wherewithal to admit the truth.
His former team-mate Tyler Hamilton urged him to do so last week, saying it was not too late to cleanse his soul (even if his reputation will likely remain tarnished forever).
Couldn’t agree more. ‘Fess up Lance. Nobody needs a big, drawn-out explanation, they just want an admission. Suck it in, tell it straight and get on with your life with something approaching dignity before the time comes - and it’s coming fast - when even that is not an option.
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