I’m a Calgary realtor and I live and breathe homes for sale. In Calgary, you might see me on my bike during spring and summer weekends. That’s because cycling is my passion and I use it to keep fit. (My Winter sports passion is another thing entirely, but that’s for another post.)
One of the cycling greats that I really admired was Lance Armstrong, a seven-time winner of the Tour de France, perhaps the most grueling race course in the entire world. A new development in the cycling world, however, has left me disappointed and saddened.
Recently, Lance Armstrong was stripped of his Tour de France title–all seven of them. Moreover, Armstrong has been banned for life from competing in the sport, too. The reason for these extreme sanctions? The US Anti-Doping Agency has discovered that he was involved in what they call the “most sophisticated, professionalized and successful doping program [the] sport has ever seen.” Lance Armstrong is, moreover, alleged to have taken an active part in promoting doping to his team. The USADA accused him of requiring his teammates to dope because if they didn’t, he would replace them from the team. Reports said he “enforced and reinforced” the doping program and what reporters wrote about it gave me the picture of a rabid enforcer. It appeared to me that he didn’t only want to win, he needed to win. So much so that he had to cheat his way to the titles.
Now, this Calgary realtor’s heart twisted at this particular development in the cycling world. After all, Armstrong was one of my heroes, not only for winning the Tour de France several times, but because he won those titles while he was battling cancer. To receive news that told me, in no uncertain terms, that he used PEDs to dominate the race is simply unacceptable to me.
People like me look up to extraordinary people like Armstrong who have defied the odds. We gain inspiration and learn from their struggles. We apply to our own struggles what we’ve learned from theirs and we aim to triumph. But knowing that the victories of the people we look up to are a fraudulent is, in some ways, disheartening. While I’m not one to indulge in careless thought, there are occasions where a loose idea such as this would cross my mind: if we don’t cheat like they did, won’t we win our own battles, too?
For this Calgary realtor and sportsman, I know I still can win because I’ve done it in the past, fair, and square. There are ways to go about life and face its different challenges with integrity. Some would simply shrug their shoulders and say it is but one sport in a time when doping and falsification of medical results are a common occurrence. The problem I have with this notion is that if people find it acceptable to cheat or be less than absolutely honest in an athletic competition, I fear what the implications are for society. The idea that we are consenting dishonesty throws into question how we relate to one another, to our government and society, and to ourselves. The small things, to my mind, matter as much as the larger ideas.
Final Thoughts on the Lance Armstrong Debacle
Armstrong has created a mystique for himself that, despite the recent series of allegations surrounding his once illustrious career, has to be given credit. He is a strong-willed man who did battle with cancer and won, all the while competing in one of the world’s most grueling sporting events. It is just a shame that his personal victory against cancer, which I believe was his most important one, was overshadowed by the doping controversy. In the mind of this Calgary realtor, I have less food for thought and more of a wish. I think it would have been better for him to have simply not have been so ruthless about winning and simply used his condition with cancer as fuel for him to compete. While Lance Armstrong would have garnered less of a celebrity status, he would have been an unblemished hero in the eyes of many and would have ensured that his Live Strong Foundation would continue today as his strongest legacy. Ultimately, beyond Lance Armstrong the athlete and man, the loss of his foundation’s luster and his shining example of grit and will is what strikes me as truly disappointing.
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About the Author:
Bryon Howard is a top producing real estate agent with Re-Max House of Real Estate in Calgary, Alberta. He in love with his high school sweetheart, an enthusiastic Dad & crazy about endurance sports. To learn more about Bryon and his real estate tips, head on over to his website.