By Dan Chaiet, Senior Editor – Steroidal.com
It might well be old news by now that Lance Armstrong has admitted to doping (specifically, Testosterone and EPO use) throughout the majority of his cycling career. Because of this, the USADA (United States Anti-Doping Agency) issued Lance Armstrong a lifetime ban from competing in the sport. As mentioned, much of this is old news at this point. Upon confession of doping, Armstrong spoke about it in what would be considered a remorseful manner. However, in an interview with ESPN Magazine, Lance Armstrong has admitted that if he were to do it all over again, he would still cheat.
In better context, Armstrong was quoted as saying “I knew what my competitors were doing. We [his US Postal service team] were doing less. We were more conservative, and that’s the reason we were never going to be caught.” Armstrong went on to discuss how he and his team was targeted more so than any of the other teams or competitors, because he was far too adamant in his denials and more combative than the others. He also exclaims how the USADA singled him out. He then alluded to the fact that he didn’t cheat his competitors, because his competitors were all doing the same thing. And this was his point: he would do it all again and cheat, because everyone else was doing it too.
It is interesting to note and point out that despite the admissions of doping and the countless allegations of doping, as well as the testing, Lance Armstrong has never tested positive for any substances and has never formally been caught doping, save for his confession. But is this really even considered ‘cheating’ anymore? The idea of banning PEDs in sports is to enforce a level playing field, but if all of the competitors (and I mean all of them) are using PEDs, then that is pretty well a very level playing field. It can’t get any more level than that.
I think it is time for the world to face the facts here and accept the fact that doping and PED use of any kind has become an integral part of professional elite level athletics and sports. The fact of the matter is that one cannot be at the elite level without it. Some ascribe to the thought that it is the cheating competitors who use it that indirectly force others to use PEDs as well just to be able to keep up with them. But who is really to blame here? Who drives some of these athletes to use PEDs to begin with? In part, it is the nature of elite level athletics to strive to be greater than human and achieve greater than human feats by utilizing anything that would help achieve that. The other part involves the fans. The fans and those who support the sport(s) are largely to blame.
Individuals want to see their favorite athletes in their favorite sports become bigger, better, faster, stronger, and achieve greater than human feats of accomplishment. It is basic knowledge that greater than human feats cannot be made within the limits of the human body. After all, we are talking “greater than human” here, are we not? If this is the case, then PED and supplement use by athletes should be accepted, just as it once was in the days of the ancient sport – the ancient Greek Olympics – where athletes would consume anabolic steroids in the form of animal testicles (and other PEDs found in nature) in order to gain an advantage and an edge. In fact, the champion attitudes that these athletes had, whereby they would utilize PEDs and anything at all costs in order to become better, were encouraged. Why isn’t this so today?
It is essentially the spirit of competitive sports and athletics. Elite professional level athletics is not about health, nor is it about “the love of the sport”, or any similar claims. Those might be the core values of sport in general, but at the elite professional level, it always has been about money, fame, and breaking records – and to think that athletic and sports is totally ‘clean’ today with athletes continually breaking the records of previous athletes that were known to have been on PEDs is sheer ignorance and denial.
In spite of Armstrong’s admission that he would cheat if he could do it all over again, he did mention that the one thing he regrets is letting down his fans and losing the trust of other cancer survivors who looked up to him. Armstrong said, “They fought for me. Whether it’s in an online discussion or in a hallway or a workplace or cafe or bar, they had my back. And now they got egg on their face. That’s the thing that hurts me the most and the thing I’ll spend the rest of my life trying to make up for.”
If that is indeed the case, why not allow all athletes to come clean from the beginning about their use by removing the ridiculous social taboo surrounding PED use in athletics and sport? In the ancient Greek Olympics, athletic competitors engaged in all sorts of behavior and substance use to make it to the top for fortune and fame, no different from today. However, PED use was never regarded as a taboo subject. It was, in fact, socially acceptable and even promoted and encouraged. Perhaps lifting the taboo would make athletes more comfortable about being honest from the start.