By Melissa O’Beck |Staff Writer|
Lance Armstrong is a renowned cyclist with seven Tour de France titles, Chairman of the Livestrong Charity, a prominent icon and in my opinion a disgrace to the industry of cycling and sports.
Unfortunately, beyond his wins, I believe what he will best be remembered for is being involved in the “Most sophisticated, professionalized and successful doping program in history,” according to the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency.
I’m sure it is only a matter of time before his publicist makes an announcement of another “celebrity rehab” case where he could perhaps do some soul searching and change his corrupt ways.
As punishment for doping, Armstrong’s seven titles in the Tour de France have been stripped and vacated. The famed cyclist also has been banned for life in sanctioned Olympic sports and has lost all endorsements, according to an article in USA Today.
Because Armstrong has played such a significant role in the cancer community and changed the world of cycling, some may consider this punishment to be excessive and unfair.
“I will never forget sitting on the couch with my dad watching Lance Armstrong on TV. Even if they stripped his titles, I will always think of him as the best cyclist and a hero to many,” said student Chris Padilla.
I, however, consider this punishment completely necessary and well deserved.
Titles should be presented to winners, who strive against all odds, trained in all conditions and rose to the top ethically and won honorably.
Titles do not belong to cheaters who take shortcuts, lie, and shoot up drugs to compensate for their shortcomings.
Athletes are role models to our children, the future athletes of the world.
If doping to succeed is the example that is being set, then the future has just been dimmed a few shades.
“I think it is fair he was stripped of his titles. Why should he get to claim something he didn’t technically earn? I think this helps set an example for what is not acceptable in sports,” said student Amber Johnson.
Lance Armstrong was not alone in this scandal.
According to USA Today, 26 witnesses, including some of his team members, had agreed to testify against him and take lesser charges just for their confessions in participating in doping.
It is true that he has been made an example of and is taking the wrath for many other people involved in the very same scandal.
However, I believe that when you are in the limelight you become a celebrity so expectations are much higher for you.
As a celebrity, it becomes part of your job description to be a role model.
It is possible Armstrong can recover his reputation from this catastrophe, but it is not going to come easy.
Based off the overwhelming evidence, I think he needs to man up and take accountability if he even dare thinks he will once again be showered with the love and fame he once knew.
There is no doubt Armstrong has impacted the cancer community immensely and was an obvious supreme cyclist despite his ruinous decision to get involved in doping.
I do not want to slander his honest successes, however, he must pay the consequences for his mistakes.
When a doctor fails to meet the standards for practicing medicine they are stripped of their license. When a cop fails to meet the standards of practicing law enforcement they are stripped of their badge.
When a cyclist fails to meet the standards of playing a sport ethically they should be stripped of their title like Armstrong rightfully was.