[ESPN] Lance Armstrong acknowledges he hasn’t been the nicest guy in the world, but he says if he had to do it over again, he would still dope because everyone else in cycling was doping too.
“I knew what my competitors were doing. We [his U.S. Postal Service team] were doing less,” Armstrong said in an interview for ESPN The Magazine. “We were more conservative, and that’s the reason we were never going to be caught.
“This is a story because I was a bigger a–h—. Because I was more litigious. Because I was more combative. … And I’ve heard from a lot of people who say, ‘You made all the money, you got all the fame, you deserve this.’ And I hear that, and I understand that people think that way. But it’s not consistent with what USADA has said.”
“If we’re going to be honest, then just say, ‘He’s an a–h—. We had to go after him. He tested positive for being the biggest a–h— in the world.’ Fair. I can live with that,” Armstrong said. “To say that he cheated his competitors? Ask them! Ask my competitors.”
Lance, Lance, Lance! Just when I think you’ve gone quietly into that goodnight, you pick up your flaming sword of truth and cut another burning swath of righteousness through your army of hateful detractors!
I almost feel like a broken record when it comes to Lance at this point, but it remains just as true as it was when I first said it: Lance Armstrong is a hero. More importantly, he’s an AMERICAN hero, a man who engaged the rest of the world on a completely level playing field and came out on top more than half a dozen times. Oh, they’ll whine. Oh, they’ll bitch. But when it comes right down to it, the only reason Pierre Pedalfast over in France or Günther Gearshift in Germany are mad is because Lance Armstrong beat them at their own game. Lance didn’t just cheat. Lance cheated BETTER. Lance cheated FASTER. And Lance did it all after cheating the greatest opponent of all: DEATH.
So you know what? I kind of understand. Shit, even Lance admits he was a prick. But you know what would probably make me kind of a prick? Getting fucking cancer at age 25. That shit’ll take the wind right out of your sails. Might make you a little angry at the world. Maybe make you lash out from time to time. So let’s all take a step back and stop judging the dude so harshly. I think Nicolas Cage said it best in The Rock:
Even throwing all that aside, Lance is 100% right. This isn’t about catching cyclists who are doping. Because if they really made every single cyclist go through a rigid drug testing regimen, there would be nobody left to race in the Tour de France. Nope, this was about taking down a guy who they thought was an asshole. A guy who will be only too happy to admit that, hey, he WAS an asshole. That’s more than you’re gonna get from any of these other pricks.
Remember Floyd Landis? Stripped of his title. How about Jan Ullrich? Lance’s top competitor for most of his title runs? Booted for doping. Alberto Contador? Stripped. Where’s their E:60 special? When will Dateline be knocking down THEIR doors? When will they have to tearfully confess to Oprah after having their name and charity dragged through the mud?
Never gonna happen. Because let’s face it, Lance became a national icon and there’s nothing the media likes better than a fallen hero story. So they’re gonna pound him and pound him until every once in a while Lance has to poke his head out and drop a couple truth bombs on everyone. I don’t hate your game Lance. I love it. Keep doing you, man. Keep doing you.
PS. You gotta help me out here, didn’t LiveStrong raise like half a billion dollars for cancer research? I assume that money no longer counts because Lance was sort of an asshole that one time though, right? See, I can’t tell because news stories on Lance Armstrong seem to gloss right over the whole “Lance Armstrong raised half a billion dollars for cancer research” part. Did I mention that Lance Armstrong raised half a billion dollars for cancer research? Because he did. Not saying that should influence you one way or the other. Just saying that Lance Armstrong raised half a billion dollars for cancer research.
PPS. For anyone who is unfamiliar with why I hate bicyclists but love Lance Armstrong, I direct you here.Follow @footstepsfaIco