Fighting to ‘Livestrong’ through the backlash of your admirers

When Lance Armstrong agreed to a “no holds barred, no conditions, and an open field” interview with Oprah Winfrey, the news spread like wildfire. His name, coupled with the word “disgraced” made headlines across the globe, and reports asserted that he was going to come clean and confess to doping during his cycling career.

He admitted that he could not have won seven consecutive Tour de France races without blood transfusions and performance enhancing drugs.

Fans and cancer survivors alike have been up in arms about the ordeal; they are hurt that they have fallen for such deceit from their role model. Somehow, as much as I don’t want to be, I’m okay with it. But not all of it.

Listen. I know very little about the sport. But performance enhancing drugs are anything but new to the world of athletics. Armstrong does not need to be crucified more than anybody else. The man is human. Everybody has made questionable judgement calls.

What was most incredible, however, was that everything his accusers claimed was true, yet he had the audacity to openly defy them.

He went on public tirades criticizing his friends-turned-foes, sometimes going as far as suing them.

“I was a bully,” he professed. “It’s a major flaw. It’s a guy who expected to get everything he wanted, and control every outcome. It’s inexcusable.”

Bully? I think “aggressive tormentor” would be more accurate. This man was so high on his fame and blinded by this idea of the perfect life he wanted to lead.

He was pompous, arrogant, and incredibly daring with his actions. It seemed as if he was starting to believe his own lies. He wanted to believe as much as the next guy that he was never taking any drugs.

If he had told the truth from the get-go, most would have gotten over it in a short period of time. But rolling lies into a exponentially growing snowball for over six years didn’t help Armstrong’s case.

Not only did he embarrass himself and lose a great number of people in his life, but his family is also dealing with humiliation. They’ve defended him for so long, not wanting to believe the accusations thrown at him. His oldest son, 13, stood up to his classmates who pestered him about his father. Lance was his shining idol; of course he would never do drugs.

Should he have been stripped of his Tour de France titles? Absolutely. Should he give the Olympic medal back? Yes. Does he deserve all of his sponsors leaving him? You bet your bottom dollar. But not for doping and taking drugs.

This all should have been the result of his cowardly and pompous acts towards his former colleagues, friends, and sponsors; that is why this has taken an extreme toll on those involved.

While the apology and confession are long overdue, it is better late than never. Armstrong is now living by the mantra “The truth will set you free,” which could not be anymore true in this situation.

If he is at peace with himself after his confession, let him be. If this isn’t his rock bottom, I’m not sure what is. But from the way it’s looking, it’s all over. The truth finally set him free.


Kattey Ortiz can be contacted at

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