Thou shalt not worship false idols. The problem being, of course, that we only ever learn too late that they were false; that they were cheats or curs or degenerates.

I categorically reject your enormous portfolio of evidence. Pic: News.com.au

Lance Armstrong, who has been stripped of his seven Tour de France titles and banned from the sport for life, maintains his innocence in the face of doping charges.

It’s potentially the biggest sporting scandal of all time. The biggest downfall, the biggest disgrace.

The US Anti-Doping Agency says he orchestrated the most sophisticated doping program ever seen.

Here is where I have to admit to a bit of schadenfreude. I never liked the guy. It was part instinctive distrust of this cocky self-appointed guru that people seemed to mindlessly worship. The self promotion without a soupcon of self deprecation. The smarming up with celebrities, politicians, smearing their mutual appreciation around like honey.

The adoration hit fever pitch in Adelaide in 2009, when Armstrong hit town for the Tour Down Under. We, including then-Premier Mike Rann, collectively swooned.

Then, impossibly, the excitement ratcheted up one more notch when Armstrong chose to launch the Livestrong Global Cancer Campaign right here (in little old Adelaide!). His friend ‘Ranny’ was so overcome he named the research wing of the new Flinders Centre for Innovation in Cancer after Armstrong’s cancer foundation, Livestrong. It’s not clear whether the centre actually got any money from the foundation, or just reflected glory. 

But even asking the question – how much will he give to the centre we named after him? – was apparently a breach of some code. He lent us his name, and that was enough.

Ugh. See what I mean about schadenfreude? It’s an ugly emotion, a gloating smugness. I seem to have completely ignored the fact he was still an extraordinary athlete, and responsible for raising hundreds of millions of dollars for cancer research, not to mention awareness.

Sorry.

I’m trying to make a less self-satisfied point, which is that there is danger in being blinded by our idols. We raise our ‘heroes’ up so high, then we’re crushed when they can’t meet our expectations.

We deify winners. Then throw tantrums if anyone dares question their greatness, or we suffer eternal disappointment when we are forced to admit that they are not gods after all.

When Cadel Evans won the Tour de France last year, columnist Mia Freedman had the temerity to suggest that maybe sportspeople aren’t really heroes. That maybe we don’t need to revere them quite so much.

Oh, the maelstrom of hate that ensued. The tired old cry of ‘un-Australian’ was just the beginning. Ms Freedman was subjected to vile, sustained abuse. She ended up in tears. For mildly suggesting that a sporting ‘hero’ should not be so readily worshipped.

It’s as though people suffer a form of collective brainwashing. My colleague Ant Sharwood describes Lance Armstrong as having a dangerous level of charm:

“Lance Armstrong was capable of making half the sports fans in the world believe anything. Like a cult leader, the man is dripping in charisma. You don’t just want to like him, you want to believe him,” he wrote.

It is unhealthy to have this level of belief in someone, to discard scepticism entirely.

Look at what has happened with other untouchables; the clergy and the soldiers.

These, too, are people you were not meant to question, not meant to rattle their pedestals. They too, let us down. The ongoing church child sex scandals, the repulsive behaviour of some people at war. There is a clear danger in being dazzled by anyone.

Our blindness lets them break the rules, unseen.

Comments on this post will close at 8pm AEST.

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101 comments

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    • Don says:

      06:15am | 16/10/12

      All young people come to this realisation eventually Tory. Welcome to the team! The trick is to find the least flawed hero, they are out there - you just need to keep looking.

    • Anti-hero says:

      05:57pm | 16/10/12

      Uh, no. The problem is looking for heroes.

      Especially within the sporting realm.

    • Gregg says:

      06:16am | 16/10/12

      Has he actually had the tour titles already stripped for latest I heard yesterday is that it would be up to the ICU to be considering as the next step.

      Lance is either guilty as charged or the even bigger scandal would be that there is a conspiracy of people who have been close but like the Flinders Centre have not got much more than being close and therefore just do not like Lance very much, maybe a bit like you Tory but I’m not saying you would ever be a conspirorist though you could I suppose be tempted with Ant!.

      I say this for it seems the case against him has been more hearsay testimony with one solitary test sample from way back in 1999 was it retested for BPO or whatever.
      One way or another it is sure some scandal.

      One way or another an interesting comment made by someone on 4corners was that it’s all driven by the public in that they want faster and faster, stronger and stronger etc.

    • marley says:

      07:30am | 16/10/12

      @Gregg - the case against Lance isn’t “hearsay,” it’s “eyewitness.”  There’s quite a big difference. 

      Furthermore, there are plenty of financial transactions on record showing Lance was paying a dubious doctor long after he swore in a court case that he’d broken off ties with him. 

      And there are several failed drug tests swept under the carpet at the time.  Not to mention Lance’s supposed unavailability for random drug testing.  I recall a British athlete being banned for two years for lying about his whereabouts when he was due to be tested; Lance never had to answer for lying about where he was, though.

      Lance has questions to answer, but so does the ICU.

    • wolf says:

      08:29am | 16/10/12

      Since he’s taken the “Slobodan Milosevic defence” (“I refuse to recognise the authority of this court”) some people will still have some doubt.  What always struck me was the way he treated whistleblowers such as Christophe Bassons:
      Armstrong rode up alongside on the Alpe d’Huez stage to tell him “it was a mistake to speak out the way I do and he asked why I was doing it. I told him that I’m thinking of the next generation of riders. Then he said ‘Why don’t you leave, then?’” Armstrong confirmed the story. On the main evening news on TF1, a national television station, Armstrong said: “His accusations aren’t good for cycling, for his team, for me, for anybody. If he thinks cycling works like that, he’s wrong and he would be better off going home.”

    • Gregg says:

      09:43am | 16/10/12

      @marley
      All I’m saying is that the eye witnesses are saying this is what I heard, hear and say and hearsay enough for me.
      One guy says he kept his BPO or whatever in his fridge door and you really have to wonder on that alone.
      Payments to a dubious doctor are of course another aspect and it is more factual data that needs to be used in any case.

    • marley says:

      11:03am | 16/10/12

      @Gregg - sorry, I don’t agree with your take.  When Hincapie says that Lance gave him two vials of EPO, that’s not hearsay.  When he says that he phoned Lance to warn him the drug testers were on their way, and Lance dropped out of the race, that’s not hearsay either.  When several of the cyclists describe stopping the team bus and getting off to bury drugs and needles in the countryside, that’s not hearsay either.  That’s eye witness testimony.

    • Tim says:

      12:57pm | 16/10/12

      Marley,
      and they say that eyewitness testimony is the weakest kind of all.

      Honestly, Lance probably is the biggest drug cheat ever but it still looks to me like there is a large element of people out to “get” him. Not for the truth to be revealed but for their own egos and careers.

    • paul says:

      12:57pm | 16/10/12

      The guy has server testicle and brain cancer, beat the odds big time and someone I will never trash. Even if he did after such severe cancer he still win while the majority of other people doping still couldn’t come close.
      If a woman had overcome those odds Tory you would be writing about what a poor little angel this darling is. You have always hates armstrong because he is a man.
      For the record Tory I have never help a secret “dislike” for someone who so riddles with cancer he should be dead.
      You obviously have known no one close to you with severe cancer.

    • St. Michael says:

      01:50pm | 16/10/12

      “Marley,
      and they say that eyewitness testimony is the weakest kind of all.”

      Um, no.  Actually they don’t.  For identifying a particular person that you are not familiar with and only caught a glimpse of, courts rightly give a Domican warning.  For someone you’re familiar with—i.e. a teammate or a face that you’ve associated with for years—no, there’s no such weakness.

    • Zed says:

      01:57pm | 16/10/12

      @Paul
      Has it occured to you that LA may have developed cancer as a result of the drugs he was taking, eg Testosterone, Steroids, Epo ?
      There are a few from his inner circle who are of that opinion.

    • Max Redlands says:

      02:14pm | 16/10/12

      @ Tim -  “they say that eyewitness testimony is the weakest kind of all”

      Who is “they”? Obviously not anyone who knows anything about evidence.

      Eye witness or “direct” evidence is certainly not the weakest evidence. The opposite in fact, it is usually, on the basis it stands up against cross - examination given the most weight.

      e.g. A says “I saw B shoot C”. That is direct evidence that B did in fact shoot C.

      Next is circumstantial evidence e.g. where A says ” I heard a shot inside a building and 30 seconds later I saw B leave the building holding a smoking gun.” A minute later C.s dead body is found with a gun shot wound. Circumstantial evidence that B shot C.

      The weakest is heresay : A. says “D told me that B shot C.”

      Heresay evidence is so weak in fact that it is generally speaking and apart from some exceptions inadmissable.

      @ paul - the ironic thing about Armstrongs cancer is it may well have been caused by the all the chemicals he pumped into himself.

    • Tim says:

      02:59pm | 16/10/12

      Max Redlands,
      I probably shouldn’t have said eyewitness evidence is the weakest of all but it’s not as reliable in this case as positive drug tests, getting caught with drugs or video or tape recordings would have been.

      There’s plenty of reasons why eyewitnesses may lie in these circumstances, first of all being their own self interest.

    • Max Redlands says:

      03:24pm | 16/10/12

      @ Tim “There’s plenty of reasons why eyewitnesses may lie in these circumstances, first of all being their own self interest.”

      And that’s where cross-examination serves as “the greatest engine for ascertaining truth”

    • dweezy2176 says:

      06:27am | 16/10/12

      Should have played rugby league ... he would now be an IMMORTAL and inducted into the Sporting Hall Of Fame ..

    • Rolls Canardly says:

      06:47am | 16/10/12

      Another whining Queenslander… Having another sook about Big Mal being overlooked for a NSWelshman.
       
      Joey Johns NEVER took performance enhancing drugs. He outclassed Meninga in almost every facet of the game, and never at any stage had to resort to belting opponents around the head with a plaster cast.
       
      The dopey Queenslanders aren’t happy with winning however many Origin series on the trot with the help of turncoat NSW players like Inglis, they want other stuff they’re not entitled to as well.
      No wonder normal folk treat ‘em with disdain.

    • Tim says:

      07:01am | 16/10/12

      Yes,
      Taking ecstasy tablets is exactly the same as systematic doping of performance enhancing drugs.
      Imbecile.

    • Nathan says:

      07:11am | 16/10/12

      Has it ever been suggested that Andrew Johns took performance enhancing drugs? No, they are completely different situation. John’s did not become an immortal because of a few disco biscuits

    • dweezy2176 says:

      07:28am | 16/10/12

      Apologies to @Rolls Canardly $ Tim .. I hadn’t realised that the type of dope you take carries different degrees of guilt. Dope is dope in my world & a drug-user of any type in sport deserves no accolades.. Great excuse though ... I only took ecstasy so I’m clean, your honour can I have my titles back! Of course my son, after all you didn’t enhance your performance or detracted in the eyes of your devoted fans…. got a spare tab bro…!

    • Rolls Canardly says:

      07:46am | 16/10/12

      Given that being a Queenslander makes it possible to overlook important facts like Greg Inglis being from NSW, I’m not surprised that you can’t tell the difference between someone taking drugs to give themselves a competitive advantage over their opponents in say, strength, or endurance; and taking a pill to make you feel happy at the pub.

    • Lucky says:

      07:51am | 16/10/12

      @ross cowardly

      Way to stereotype a whole state with your narrow minded stereotypical bitter viewpoint. In Queensland, we sometimes even have differing opinions about stuff!! I won’t bother informing one as ignorant as yourself though. I also won’t judge the entire population of NSW as I do a very brave keyboard warrior such as yourself. You should catch up for a beer with Ant sometime!!

    • Jamie says:

      08:24am | 16/10/12

      As a Queenslander, i felt Norm Provans achievements far outclassed either Meninga and Johns.

    • Rolls Canardly says:

      08:24am | 16/10/12

      Clucky
       
      Did I mention how thin-skinned they are, as well?
      Lighten up, champion. Of course I’m not saying ALL Queenslanders are afraid of daylight savings, or ignorant of many other 20th century social developments, but a considerable number of them are.
       
      How do I know? I live there. BTW, I love beer, just not that ghastly rubbish Fourex Gold that every second Queenslander thinks is the nectar of the gods.

    • glenm says:

      08:46am | 16/10/12

      @Rolls Canardly, The fact that Johns admitted to taking any form of illegal drug wether performance enhancing or not should have immediately ruled him out of selection as an immortal. These are supposed to be the cream of the crop ,role models to the younger generations, just what does selecting an admitted drug abuser say to the younger generation? Surely an intelligent New South Welshman like yourself should be able to answer that .

    • Rose says:

      10:17am | 16/10/12

      I absolutely agree that any drug use or alcohol abuse for that matter should make a person ineligible for the Hall of Fame. The Hall of Fame is supposed to recognize the best of the best and drug and alcohol abuse clearly means you aren’t the best of the best.
      You devalue a notable achievement when you allow it to be bestowed on those who have done something which is illegal and/or is likely to negatively impact on the sport. Johns is entitled to keep all of his awards from when he was playing, but he definitely should not have received the honour of being inducted into the Hall of Fame!

    • Rolls Canardly says:

      10:20am | 16/10/12

      You might have to contact the immortals selection panel for that one, glenm.
       
      They obviously knew about Johns’ drug use and deemed that his outstanding contribution to, and influence on the game as it is played on the field, was significant enough not only for it to take precedent over his private drug use, but also over the sizable contribution of Mal Meninga.
      I reckon Wally Lewis was a well deserved inductee, but didn’t think the same of Meninga, and only the perpetually ignorant could deny Joey’s genius on the paddock. The whining about him being given the nod over Meninga just smacks of sour grapes, to me. And Queenslanders are renowned for sooking about anything that doesn’t go their way.
      Geothermal nuclear princesses!
       
      As with all decisions that cover varied interests, there will be those crying in their beer. Says more about them than it ever could about Johns.

    • Ando says:

      10:46am | 16/10/12

      Anyone who compares Johns to Armstrong knows they are being inconsistent. It just suits their dislike of Johns.
      My view he is an immature man child who should be let nowhere near a commentary box but there is no doubt he should be an immortal. He competed on an even playing field and was the greatest halfback of all time . Just a whisker in front of Langer .(yes I’m a Qlder)

    • Tim says:

      11:10am | 16/10/12

      dweezy2176,
      LOL I thought you were a garden variety imbecile but seems like you’re a representative class one.

      ” I hadn’t realised that the type of dope you take carries different degrees of guilt.”

      Alcohol is a drug too, so is nicotine.

      If it doesn’t matter what type of dope you take then I’m assuming you also believe that anyone who’s imbibed these drugs should receive no recognition for their sporting achievements as well?

    • Rocky says:

      11:13am | 16/10/12

      So just because Johns says he didn’t take performance enhancing drugs, we’re to believe him? Some people are too bloody naive.

    • TheRealDave says:

      11:17am | 16/10/12

      Long story shor t- Mal was an ordinary centre.

      I’d a rate, from his era alone: Gene Miles, Steve Rogers and Steve Ella as better than Meninga. I’d put Meninga on par with Mick Cronin.

      None of these blokes would ever be considered as an ‘Immortal’ despite their outstanding careers.

      Meninga is for two reasons alone, he’s a Qlder (apparently thats the main criteria needed if you read the Courier Mail) and he’s coached the Qld STate of Origin side for a few series wins.

      Goodplayer - yes. Great Player - yeah he’s up there with some great players. Immortal - no, sorry.

    • Lucky says:

      11:47am | 16/10/12

      @rolls

      I also love a good beer & also can’t stand xxxx gold.
      It’s a tally now brewed by a New Zealand company now, you know, where James Tamou comes from!!! Great NSW prop is Jim.
      As for us sooking about things that don’t go our way…..Whoa!
      You can’t stop moaning about Inglis, have whined about every ref decision throughout the QLD dynasty ( dynasty, has a nice ring to it doesn’t it?) as if it would have made a difference…..hypocrisy is staggering. Anyhow, best not start you sookin again.

    • toast says:

      12:20pm | 16/10/12

      I don’t give a toss what joey did on the field. He is/was an illegal drug user and if being an immortal has any credibility he should have been ruled out of contention. It does not matter what he did on the field his off field antics were not acceptable for someone in his position.

      The award could go to anybody from Qld or NSW, I don’t care. I do care about the next generation looking up to known drug users and thinking that taking drugs has no consequences because you might be good at throwing a ball around a paddock (or whatever sport you choose to play).

    • Tim says:

      01:03pm | 16/10/12

      toast,
      I suggest you read the criteria for becoming an immortal.

      On field actions are all that matters and that’s the way it should be. I personally am sick of awards for someone being a “good bloke” or having a big career outside of and after they stop playing.

    • toast says:

      02:00pm | 16/10/12

      No Tim, despite the criteria that is not the way it should be, it is wrong.

      Glad to see you endorse illegal drug use being overlooked. Glad to see you endorse junior rugby legaue kids looking up to illegal drug users.  Glad to see, based on your own response, that a great player could potentially be a rapist, woman basher, drug user, abusive alcoholic or any other degenerate of society but still gets an award for being great on the field but a total f*&kin; Ar&*hole off it. Such a person is not, and never should be deserving, of such acolades. It’s a farce for the players who act with integrity not only on but off the field.

    • Two Sugars says:

      02:25pm | 16/10/12

      @ Lucky. You like beer and cheer for Queensland. You want a medal?
      Also, when it comes to having Islanders of any description in your team, Queensland wins that one, too. Who’d have guessed it?
      The whole state of Queensland has a giant inferiority complex, and at no time is it more obvious than she it comes to football. A Queenslander accusing anyone from any other state of “sookin” only shows just how much of a Queenslander you actually are.
      @Toast. Have you ever met Andrew Johns? Or do you just suffer the same geographical affliction as old Lucky?

    • toast says:

      03:33pm | 16/10/12

      @Two Sugars, have a lay down mate, or better yet, read my posts again. I don’t care who wins, Qld or NSW I don’t barrack for either. I guess that leaves you as the only one with a geographical affliction.

      What’s meeting Andrew Johns got to do with my argument?? Sure, he might be a good bloke, who cares. What I do know is that he used illegal drugs. Kids (and adults) look up to him and no matter which way you want to spin it his choice as an immortal conveniently overlooks this which is as good as endorsing his behaviour.

    • Ando says:

      03:33pm | 16/10/12

      Toast,
      “I dont give a toss what he did on the field”. Thats an interesting criteria to ignore.

      Well I dont give a toss what he did off the field if he didnt hurt anyone. Someone might be offended if a future immortal cheated on his wife, or was caught drink driving or any number of things. That is why we keep it to on field achievements and why it is decided by past legends and not voted Big Brother style.

    • toast says:

      03:50pm | 16/10/12

      Exactly Ando, and that’s why his choice as an immortal has little credibility, little to no scrutiny.

    • Two Sugars says:

      04:18pm | 16/10/12

      Toast
      How do you know any of the previous immortals are squeaky clean?
      I understand your point, but agree with Ando that being an immortal inductee is not a personality contest, but recognition of what a bloke brings to the game as it is played. It’s a bit churlish to harp on about Johns’ drug use, especially in light of the fact that he’s made numerous public apologies for his transgressions.
      Out.

    • gobsmack says:

      06:38am | 16/10/12

      Makes you wonder about those who don’t get caught.  I’m not just talking about cycling.

      When every top competitor in a given sport is using performance enhancing drugs, the pressure on other athletes to do the same increases.  It becomes an excuse for every athlete.

      The sad thing is that if the entire field were drug-free, people like Armstrong would still be among the best.

    • Beverley Diplock says:

      08:17am | 16/10/12

      Is there any way of knowing just what the advantage of performance enhancing drugs is on the athlete/horse/dog ? Some of our greatest swimmers are or have been asthma suffers and regularly use “puffers”...these are really “enhancers” as the swimmer needs breath and is lacking that until using this “medication.” A pain killer,  be it a simple asprin type tablet is a “enhancer” as it stops pain and allows movement. . I would really like to be able to tell an aspiring champion that taking drugs will only improve “X” ( and really know what x is) and that no drug will make a person, animal GREAT.Those attributes are in their genes.

    • Greg says:

      08:25am | 16/10/12

      Problem is if he were drug free it would of taken a lot longer to recover from his cancer.  So even if everyone was free from drugs he never would of reached the heights he did.

      There was a chart I saw of Armstrong’s ‘wins’ and some years you need to go back to 8th place to find someone free from drugs.
      At what point do you decide it’s easier to just let everyone get on the juice and see what happens.

    • Lie Lover? says:

      09:45am | 16/10/12

      @ gobsmack The sad thing is that if the entire field were drug-free, people like Armstrong would still be among the best.”

      This is one of the most stupid statements that I’ve ever heard! Phil Anderson admitted that Lance wasn’t any good. Then suddenly he’s the best ever. He took far more drugs and risks than other cyclist, which is the sole reason he ever won anything. The fact is without drugs Lance would be a garden variety bully. That is all.

    • gobsmack says:

      10:28am | 16/10/12

      @Lie Lover

      “This is one of the most stupid statements that I’ve ever heard!”

      Gee, I sort of feel honoured.  If, amongst all the nonsense that people regularly post on this site, my comment is singled out as particularly stupid, then I must have really excelled.

      And, may I say, in reaching the summit of stupdity I did NOT take any peformance enhancing substances.  If you don’t believe me, I can provide you with a sample of my urine.

    • freethrow says:

      06:42am | 16/10/12

      Agreed, dunno why people follow these false idols, there is only 1, Michael Jeffrey Jordan! Who doesnt wanna be like Mike?

    • acotrel says:

      06:59am | 16/10/12

      You have to hand it to the Americans, they are go-getters !
      ‘Whatever it takes’ ?  Our politicians could learn from them. Would that be dopes taking dope ? They could all grow bigger egos !

    • nihonin says:

      07:16am | 16/10/12

      Unbeknown to acotrel, he had just described the current members of the Labor party to a tee.

    • simonfromlakemba says:

      07:39am | 16/10/12

      Or Tony Abbott

    • acotrel says:

      09:26am | 16/10/12

      I would never be cruel to a misogynist !

    • Eskimo says:

      07:10am | 16/10/12

      My understanding is that he retained his World Championship.

    • Eskimo says:

      07:10am | 16/10/12

      My understanding is that he retained his World Championship.

    • James Mathews says:

      07:48am | 16/10/12

      If the UCI agree’s with the USADA report then what will happen to, thou salt have to pay the South Australian Government and other governments and tours back a lot of money.
      However the way the sport of cycling can get back on track is if Cadel and Bradely get out on an advertsign blitz.

      Twitter: @BigJamesMathews

    • Lie Lover? says:

      09:48am | 16/10/12

      I think that you’ll find that Bradley Wiggins and Sky are just as guilty as Lance. There is very serious doubt about their rapid advances in form and their outrageous devastation of the best climbers in world cycling. You don’t do that on bread and water.

    • ibast says:

      07:48am | 16/10/12

      “I never liked the guy. It was part instinctive distrust of this cocky self-appointed guru that people seemed to mindlessly worship. The self promotion without a soupcon of self deprecation. The smarming up with celebrities, politicians, smearing their mutual appreciation around like honey. “

      Have to say I was exactly the same.  I was a big follower of the sport during this period and I was always going for he other guy.  Seems my distrust was justified.

      What I don’t get about drug cheats is, how can they have any sense of achievement?  I suppose this is professional sport and these guys get money, but cheating in amateur of semi-professional sports just doesn’t make sense.

    • Squirrel ! says:

      12:23pm | 16/10/12

      @ibast

      There comes a point where “win at any cost” trumps sense of achievement. I’m just waiting for that straw-clutching moment when Lance announces his cancer treatment drugs were to blame for his actions.

    • Craig says:

      07:50am | 16/10/12

      Real heroes don’t need pedestals. And they don’t ‘walk away’ - unlike the misguided News campaign.

      They are at work every day in our laboratories, in our emergency services, in our armed services, our public service and in not-for-profits.

      They don’t need to seek adulation or demonstrate great mental or physical feats. They do their jobs, then go home to their families.

      Sports people, celebrities, actors, are no heroes, they are icons and false gods.

      Unfortunately humans appear designed to worship the least useful members of society, and these people are happy to take advantage of this - whether honestly (so they can do some good) or dishonestly (to line their own pockets and for adulation).

      No wonder the most successful businesses in the world are religion & entertainment (inc sport).

    • Lie Lover? says:

      09:50am | 16/10/12

      +1 and bravo!

    • Budz says:

      07:56am | 16/10/12

      Federer is still my deity.

    • stephen says:

      08:13am | 16/10/12

      Try Rod Laver.

    • Peter says:

      03:40pm | 16/10/12

      Rod’s was a great all right. But I have seen the great Fed Express play and it was mesmerising. I never saw Rocket Rod so Fed has to be my idol. And he seems like a nice guy - even when he is admitting he is a genius on the court. Why be modest when you are the greatest?
      Rory McIlroy may also be an idol to me one day (I never liked Tiger - always seemed a bit surly and a bit smug).

    • Sherlock534 says:

      07:59am | 16/10/12

      The term Hero and sports don’t go together.  Most sportspeople, and lets address this to the professional sports people, are usually self serving and only in it for the money, which is no offence, but lets not confuse them with the real people who represent our Country or state, the selfless people who do put themselves in harms way, usually for a pittance and for no thought of recognition, and are very humble when their deeds are highlighted.

      Lets put sport back where it belongs, it is another form or entertainment, not a form of life, and spare a thought for those who have given their life or been injured in service of their Country or Community.

    • Brian says:

      08:02am | 16/10/12

      I can’t understand all this fuss about Lance Armstrong. If he was in the NRL and played for NSW he’d be made an Immortal.

    • stephen says:

      08:10am | 16/10/12

      According to reports, he still thinks he did nothing wrong and now he wants to prove innocence with a lie-detector test.
      He keeps maintainig innocence even when the evidence is definte and overwhelming. 
      He once had cancer of the brain, and his personality certainly appears very one-sided.

      If he is that cheat, I’d like to know why, as he is not the yapping celebrity who commonly wants to give his/her listeners all manner of wisdoms, or endorses products as income, and then gets to meet suited up political leaders.
      Sportspeople are not heroes, but we want to be as good as they, and we wonder how they got to be so good.
      Now we know about Lance, yet he was and still is a top athlete, who apparently could have won 7 Tours even without drugs, (as long as all other competitors were clean) and now the only reason one could perhaps lead themselves to a reconciliation, is that drugs, in the early 90’s were commonplace, and to not organize Team involvements in drugs would have meant a severe disadvantage.

      To us, he is damned, and he may well go to jail if prosecutors insist that evidence he gave to Lawyers constituted perjury.
      If so, would anyone like to step up, and continue his charities ?

    • John says:

      08:23am | 16/10/12

      “He once had cancer of the brain”

      Wasn’t it testicular cancer?

    • Lie Lover? says:

      09:54am | 16/10/12

      Lance would have won exactly zero professional races if he was clean, even if everyone else was aswell.

    • Null and Void says:

      08:32am | 16/10/12

      I guess if we were still in the Age of Mythology aka Ancient Greece and Rome we could call sportspeople heroes. But we aren’t and they really don’t contribute anything to society to be labelled as such.

    • darren says:

      08:35am | 16/10/12

      Tory, you should take a closer look at his charity. The LAF does very little in terms of cancer research. Their goal is to raise cancer awareness (‘cos there’s heaps of people out there who think cancer doesn’t exist or is a good thing =\). Now, it just turns out that if they use LAF funds to fly Lance to Oz in a private jet to do a race (which he gets paid appearance money for) and he gives a speech on cancer, has some photo’s with some pollies and does a charity ride, then cancer awareness has been raised. Goals met. But what does that actually do for anyone, other than get LA a free private jet? His charity is a PR front.
      Also look at the blurry line between livestrong.org and livestrong.com. One of them is a ‘charity’ the other is for profit. Nike are scum, they also continue support the idea that LA didn’t dope.

      Also, who the hell think Ussian Bolt is clean? Seriously, he compete in one of the dirtiest events, dominates it, shows unprecedented improvement, I think he’s faster than Ben Johnson’s dirty WR now? But sports fans drink it all in because he does a stupid pose at the end of the race??

    • Winston Smith says:

      08:37am | 16/10/12

      “Lance Armstrong, who has been stripped of his seven Tour de France titles and banned from the sport for life ...”  This is not true.  The interesting back story to this is struggle for authority between USADA, WADA and the UCI.  USADA claim to have had the authority to investigate, but this is not recognized by either Armstrong’s legal team, or the sport’s governing body, the UCI (Union Cycliste Internationale).  This perceived lack of authority was the legal reason Armstrong gave for not cooperating, and this failure to cooperate,and to answer the allegations was interpreted as an admission of guilt and therefore an immediate ban and loss of titles under WADA rules.
      However, USADA and WADA’s authority to do this is questionable, and the only unquestionable authority over the sport of cycling belongs to the UCI.  Until the UCI formally rules to ban Armstrong and to strip him of his titles, he remains a seven time Tour de France winner, and is able to compete internationally.

    • marley says:

      09:25am | 16/10/12

      It’s my understanding that WADA countries recognise each others’ findings and each others’ bans.  So, whether or not Armstrong is stripped of his titles, I don’t see how he can compete internationally.

    • Winston Smith says:

      10:51am | 16/10/12

      Marley, even though the ICU President sits on the board of WADA, the ICU does not subject itself to its authority. In fact, it is the other way around.  The UCI anti-doping programme is recognized by WADA and the UCI have promised to work with WADA to establish rules and sanctions, but that is as far as it goes.  There is no question who is in charge when it comes to testing, who should lead investigations into doping, and who should sanction cyclists.
      Armstrong will eventually lose his titles and receive a ban, but the UCI will take its time to ensure that WADA and USADA know their place in the sport of cycling.

    • marley says:

      11:06am | 16/10/12

      @Winston - I understand that there is a dispute between UCI and WADA as to who has authority.  What I’m saying is that I also understand, irrespective of what the UCI says, countries won’t flout WADA sanctions and that they won’t allow Lance to compete.

      And frankly, if some of the evidence coming out about collusion with the authorities is substantiated, the UCI has almost as many questions to answer as Lance does.

    • Nick says:

      12:00pm | 16/10/12

      Armstrong challenged the authority of USADA in court and lost - it was then that he declined to enter arbitration.  The UCI president also made some noises, based on dates of initial discovery, but backed off very quickly.  UCI has acknowledged it is bound by the WADA code, and they have 21 days to respond to the Reasoned Decision submitted to them by USADA - either accept the decision or appeal to CAS.  WADA also has a right of appeal. UCI may appeal on various grounds and at this stage Armstrong retains his results gained since 1999, but UCI doesn’t have an indefinite period of time in which to muck around to prove some point or other.  They already look like a bunch of incompetents at best, I doubt they want to bang too many more nails into the coffin of their credibility.

    • Carol says:

      09:15am | 16/10/12

      Does it really matter whether Lance too drugs or not?  If he was the only person in the races who did take drugs, the answer could be Yes, but was he?

      Sport today, more than ever is about money and people look at every avenue to get an edge, equipment, diet, clothing, you name it and they will try it. There is no level playing field in today’s sporting world, I doubt there ever has been.

      Perhaps some of those posting here could name me a pure sport?

      Lance won, not once but many times and nothing can or will change that.

    • marley says:

      09:56am | 16/10/12

      Yes it matters.  Cheating is cheating.  Lance took the cheating to a new level of sophistication.  That matters too. 

      Clean sports?  These days, who knows?  But that doesn’t make it right for Lance to be dirty.

    • Ando says:

      10:58am | 16/10/12

      If the evidence was the same and it wasn’t Lance Armstrong but some no-name would anyone be trying to think up reasons why its not quite as bad. Would their be a single person suggesting conspiracy theories or reasons he was taking performance drugs .

    • Kev says:

      11:24am | 16/10/12

      What a stupid argument. Getting an edge through diet, clothing, equipment or training is all within the rules. Drugs aren’t. Seems like fans are willing and ready to make up the silliest excuses for Armstrong because of his history.

      Who cares if he raised awareness for cancer and let’s be honest it’s not like cancer was low profile before he came along. The bulk of the work Livestrong does is based on Armstrong’s ethics, and attitude and while part of that is acceptable a big part of it also condones and justifies cheating, lying and committing fraud. If you can’t see that then you’re just as bad as he is.

    • Carol says:

      12:59pm | 16/10/12

      Kev,

      ““What a stupid argument”, you said it! What the rules are today are not always the rules of tomorrow or yesterday.
      Unless every other rider in the races Lance won was clean and based on all the evidence, I doubt it. I repeat what does it matter?  I note to date no one has suggested a pure sport.
      A footballer injures a knee or ankle and the trainer runs out and sprays it with a pain killer, is that not performance enhancing?
      Without the pain killer they could not continue. Players of rich clubs always have an edvantage over those of poorer clubs, just look at the Olympics.
      Drugs, equipment, diet, clothers etc all give one competitor and advantage over another, this is so much horse shit.

    • fitter says:

      12:59pm | 16/10/12

      ah yeh it matters, its probably the biggest lie ever in sporting history, so it matters. Lance is not only a cheat, he’s a compulisive liar, not a good combination. I still cant believe people A) believe he innocent, B) think he’s some sort of hero….. tragic

    • Nick says:

      03:51pm | 16/10/12

      WADA was established to protect athletes.  In the absence of controls sport would be reduced to a game of chicken…who is prepared to accept the biggest risk of adverse effects from drug use.  We’ve seen that already - with EPO people were hitting haematocrits of 60% or more, people were literally being killed when their blood turned to sludge, similarly people have died from amphetamines, young women have had their lives essentially destroyed by androgenic steroids, HGH has terrible side effects from long term use, and the list goes on and on and on.  So that is the first reason why people who engage in multimillion dollar conspiracies to use doping should be exposed and shamed.

      The second issue is the so called level playing field if everybody uses drugs.  Top athletes are spending tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars each year on drugs and the associated advice.  Most athletes simply can’t afford the best advice but will dope anyway if they think it is essential…in other words the playing field is massively and dangerously tilted in favour of rich people, or rich but unscrupulous teams.  Far more dangerously than for things like equipment etc.

      The next issue is most sports people are very young - they will literally die an early death in order to be the best for a few years, or even for a single event like the Olympics.  But in fact kids are doping for high school championships and the like.  Young people obsessed with sports have a hugely distorted world view, and it is the responsibility of the sports themselves, coaches, medical staff and the like to protect them from this until they’ve gained some perspective.

      The next issue is one of integrity.  Armstrong signed documents saying he wouldn’t dope but did it anyway and made millions of dollars in the process.  He was a vicious bully - he used his money to try to destroy the lives of anybody who crossed him.  Why should he be allowed to do that and get off scot freet, particularly given the impact it had on the lives of others?

      I could go on and on and on about why it matters.  Lance didn’t win, he was a cheating hypocrit, and being called for his BS can and has changed things.

    • Max Redlands says:

      09:18am | 16/10/12

      This is why, when I was young, I admired people like Keith Richards and Hunter S.Thompson.

      Taking masssive amounts of dope was not only not discouraged it was almost part of the job description.

      They never let me down.

    • marley says:

      02:34pm | 16/10/12

      There are no rules against taking performance-enhancing drugs in the arts, only in sports.  Hmmm.  Let me think about that…..

    • St. Michael says:

      03:31pm | 16/10/12

      That’s because there are no performance-enhancing drugs in the arts.  Or rather, there’s no drugs people take in the arts that enhance their performance.  Stephen King says so from experience.  Lindsay Lohan and half of Hollywood seems to prove it on a daily basis.

    • Max Redlands says:

      04:21pm | 16/10/12

      marley and St. Michael “there’s no drugs people take in the arts that enhance their performance.”

      Interesting point. Could Coleridge have written Kubla Khan without the opium he was said to have taken before he did so? Or would he have written a better poem without the dope although he needed it to give him the idea? Or could he have both gotten the inspiration and written the poem without the drugs at all?

    • marley says:

      05:50pm | 16/10/12

      @MaxRedlands - from my incredibly distant school days, I recall that Kublai Khan was a half-remembered fragment from an opium haze.  I suspect, like a few others, Coleridge couldn’t have had the vision without the drugs. 

      But yes, I take the point that, if he hadn’t been high all the time, he might have been a more substantial poet. I’m not convinced of that, though - the language skills were always there, but the vision? 

      I dunno.  I guess I’m okay with hallucinogenic drugs that might open the mind, but not with EPO that just opens the arteries. I know that’s inconsistent, but I just don’t see Coleridge or Thompson as cheats.

    • I hate pies says:

      09:20am | 16/10/12

      I remember having conversations in the early 2000’s about cycling with a mate of mine who’s an avid cycling fan. My hypothesis was that they’re all on drugs, and there’s no doubt that that Armstrong is juiced up to his eyeballs. My mate was adamant that they’re just good athletes and they’re clean.
      At the time I did it just to stir him up….unfortunately I was spot on. Armstrong is a disgrace, and so is the sport of cycling.

    • ibast says:

      11:06am | 16/10/12

      “At the time I did it just to stir him up….unfortunately I was spot on. “

      You were right about Armstrong, but not right about the sport.  Armstrong was successful during a transition period.  Some where drug cheats, other weren’t.  If the others were cheating also, he wouldn’t’ have won with such ease.

      I’m betting there are still drug cheats in proffessional cycling ranks, but it’s no longer the major.  In fact, I’m betting it’s only marginally worse than any other sport.

    • youdy beaudy says:

      09:22am | 16/10/12

      Look everyone, Armstong used drugs, Swarznegger used drugs, he admitted it. He was Mr Olympia, Mr Universe and whatever other titles he gained but is a decent human being. He, suffered heart problems over it. Held high office as
      Governor of California, did a good job. People liked him. I have met him, i have seen him in action in the gym. He was a huge man, but in those days it wasn’t focused on. All the big bodybuilders in the world who have muscles out of proportion could be accused of using drugs. They don’t get bodies like that under normal physical growth. They win competitions just as great to them as the Tour. What are they doing about that.?

      So, with vilifying Armstrong and going on about him it pales into insignificance as far as i’m concerned as others do it each day and are not vilified. He said he had never used drugs. I don’t know whether he did or not, but again, what does it matter. There are bigger problems in the world to look at than that.

      I thought that the way to do it might be, don’t worry about sport enhancing drugs. Make the drugs legal and let everyone use them as a part of sport, then no problem. If people want to use drugs for sport then let it be their choice and if they turn into angry animals and develop health problems then that is their choice and their lot. It’s a way to learn as to whether it worthwhile or not. If they make it all legal then everyone can be the same, it can be accepted and then there will be no problem. People may not agree with me but i see it as a way to go to equalize everything.

    • neil says:

      11:27am | 16/10/12

      Still today all drugs are legal and out in the open in professional body building

    • stephen says:

      09:23am | 16/10/12

      As a cycling racing participant and observer of the professional peleton, I can say 2 things with certainty.

      * top level pro cycling is not for normal balanced people, due to the extremes of pain, physical risk, low chances of winning as opposed to spending life as a domestique and low financial reward (except if you are about top 20 in the world).  With a long history of self delusion on the acceptibility of drugs, there is zero chance of a clean peleton, especially when EPO is the wonder drug of all drugs for endurance athletes.  These people are not choosing to make good decisions - they choose what they can get away with to win.  Simple.
      * fans secuced by alpine scenery, expensive bikes and the romance of the road racing scene, generally choose not to think too much about the above, and thus seem to be constantly caught unawares when another hero falls out of favour.  They shouldnt be - its as plain as the day is long.

      Read Mark Rendells book on Marco Pantani.  Its sad enough to make you cry, such is the stupidity and waste of young life.

      However you have agood point - Marco Pantani was a fool, a drug cheat and a weak vain main.  However in Italy he is a demi god - a venerated hero.

    • malcolm says:

      09:27am | 16/10/12

      its all confidential but i have a suspicion we actually paid for using his cancer charity

    • ruru says:

      09:34am | 16/10/12

      Don’t they drug test Ussain Bolt? I guess his incredible physique which dominates & towers over all & sundry has nothing to do with success.
      As for his stupid pose; Its his signature pose that is sheer GOLD for those connected to him. The man & his backers make millions from it.
      As for Lance Armstrong he appears to be one of those people who believe their own version of events -  by simple repetition the words become truth. He has convinced himself to believe he might even pass that lie detector test.

    • neil says:

      10:20am | 16/10/12

      At least get the facts straight Tory, Armstrong has not been stripped of his seven Tour wins. The Tour is run by the Amaury Sport Organization under the UCI, it is a European event and USADA has no authority over it, to this point the UCI has shown little interest in what the Americans claim.

      The most likely reason they will continue to ignore this is because the UCI effectively sanctioned the use of EPO, by initially not testing for it then, under international pressure, instigated a test for the level of red blood cells but not for EPO. The level of red cells allowed was double what a healthy human would normally have, effectively allowing rampant use of EPO. The reality of that period was that EVERYONE in EVERY major team was using EPO and at the time it was technically not against the UCI rules, so Armstrong was not cheating in Europe, if USADA don’t like it, bad luck!

    • Cat says:

      11:41am | 16/10/12

      ALL sport at the highest levels is drug ridden. The Olympics are drug ridden, AFL, Rugby League, Soccer - anything you care to name is drug ridden. It goes with the territory. The thing is either not to get caught or, if you do, not to annoy anyone. 
      People are not running faster or better they are being helped by drugs and by designer running shoes and computer modelling which goes hand in hand with the drugs.
      It is time we recognised that. If we did then more young people might want to play sport. They would know that they cannot hope to achieve world records without taking something.
      Too much money and adulation is directed at people who play elite sport. It is a pity we don’t do the same for our intellectually able kids who want to do research into heart disease, mental illness, cancer, diabetes etc.

    • Bazza says:

      12:31pm | 16/10/12

      This is the reason I visibly flinch whenever sportspeople are tagged as “role models”

    • Audra Blue says:

      01:11pm | 16/10/12

      Who CARES if Armstrong doped or not?  It’s only cycling, it’s not like it’s important or interesting.

    • Fed Up says:

      02:21pm | 16/10/12

      Why all the hoopla!!!!
      Anyone that knows something about pro cycling knows the top teams remain the top teams by juicing…its big money
      Was there all this hoopla when Martin Vinnicombe got busted.

    • Phillb says:

      02:28pm | 16/10/12

      I have to admit, even with all the evidence mounting against him I still struggle to believe his guilt.

    • youdy beaudy says:

      02:30pm | 16/10/12

      Look, We are the ones who make heroes out of Atheletes. We are also the ones who tear them down. We are the ones who make Gods and we are the ones who make Devils.

      At the end of the day it is just a bicicle race, and a very hard grueling one as we know. But a bike race none the less.

      I believe although people are Athletes the ones who get upset if they lose, the ones who go all out to win and win and win, are excessive compulsive types and many have this illness. People, fans make em or break em don’t they, feeding the illness all the time.

      Now, swimming is a great sport and good for kids to develop but it is our human development within the human domain. But, humans can’t for instance swim as fast or as well as a dolphin or shark or a whale can they?.

      Runners are great, same as above, but they can’t run as fast as a cheetah or a greyhound or many other animals. We are an animal also.

      So, when we see that other mammals can run, swim, and jump better than us then it puts all this into a new perspective doesn’t it ? So, maybe a reality check is needed. Man is always doing things that are outside of his abilities, to show that man can do it but there is limitation unfortunately for us.

      We are not the greatest athletes on this planet. Man, without his guns, bombs, nuclear weapons, spears and knives with which he has been able to kill everything is basically weak and puny. Human babies need to be nurtured until teenagers and beyond in many cases.

      A foal can get straight up within minutes and run with its mother, all wild creatures can. Who is stronger, man, no, not at all. If mankind didn’t have weapons he would have been eaten by the others a long time ago. We are the weakest species on this planet with the biggest egos. We need to get a grip because people, we are still on the food chain not on top of it.

    • KJ says:

      04:12pm | 16/10/12

      youdy beaudy,  the last part of your post is rubbish.  You have no idea what you are talking about.  Many animals “get straight up within minutes and run’ because if they didn’t they would be extinct.  Humans, chimps, gorillas and other primates do not need to be able to walk/run within minutes of birth because they are born into family groups who protect them until they can.  Let’s not forget most marsupials spend several months in a pouch after birth before they see the outside world.  These differences are based on evolutionary need.  Your definition of weakness is very narrow.  Long before we had our good and bad technology humans were the dominant species on earth.  Strength is not just a physical attribute. 

      I will agree that we haven’t always used our dominance wisely and we don’t always look far enough into the future when considering our next step.  Greed and power are basic animal instincts that were required to evolve and prosper.  Unfortunately we perhaps haven’t, as a species, been able to harness these attributes well and often enough.

    • youdy beaudy says:

      05:39pm | 16/10/12

      @Kj It’s just an opinion matey or matess. It’s not designed to bring down the universe. Just an opinion and as we all know opinions can change according to certain degrees of attraction and repulsion.

      What you have written i know. I know what marsupials do. you don’t need to educate me. I have been on this earth for quite a long time and have experienced the best and worst of it.

      The truth is that Humans have just about destroyed our beautiful planet that the god gave us all. We are the supreme predators and the only way we did it is by war and destruction. That’s all we have going for us and those traits are expressed in all aspects of human life. We don’t deserve what we have.

      Anyway, you are entitled to your point of view as i and many others are. But telling me that the last part of my post is rubbish and that i have no idea what i am talking about. And by the way, i am not talking to anyone, i am writing, there’s a difference. So, get it right.

      We are the weakest, most cunning and greedy species even if you include that the nature has made other animals similar. We are on the food chain. Go and ask a crocodile, a shark and a big cat and tell them that we are the greatest and they will die laughing while munching on your bones.

      Anyway, don’t get flustered there ole bean, you are obviously the expert and i am the know nothing. There is lots of life left for you to live if you are young. I hope that life is good to you and you have a nice one. Go and have a drinkey drink and forget about it all. It’s only our opinion after all, not a biggie really.!

    • Robert S McCormick says:

      06:14pm | 16/10/12

      Formner & un-lamented SA premier, Mike Rann, was photographed holding hands with his hero lance Armstrong.
      Mike Rann squandered un-admitted Millions of SA Taxpayer’s Dollars in hand-outs to Lance Armstrong. This had NOTHING to do with Armstrong’s Livestrong Cancer Charity. Mike Rann paid out millions simply to get Lance Armstrong to appear at the Tour Down Under.
      That money belonged to the Taxpayer’s of South Australia.
      Given the revelations, which every day produce new people crawling out of the woodwork claiming Lance Armstrong, US Post Team & those connected with both were over a very long period of time involved in the use of Performance Enhancing Drugs (EPO & Testosterone to name but two) and in the deliberate, very sophisticated cover-ups by Armstrong , his team & fellow riders, then South Australian Taxpayers have every right to demand that Armostrong repay every single cent Mike Rann gave him of our money. If he won’t then Mike Rann, himself, should be held accountable to repay all those millions.
      The entire Armstrong-Rann promotion was a total, complete & utter con-job.
      Rann could not have been louder in his praise of this proven drug cheat. This has nothing to do with promoting the TDU. This has made the TDU look like nothing more, nor less, than a Cheat’s Paradise.
      Ex-Premier, Mike Rann has one hell of a lot to answer for.
      Tell us, Mike, why should we not demand that you refund all those millions of our money you so gleefully gave to a drug cheat?

 

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