Armstrong case reveals a problem everyone already knew
So this Lance Armstrong thing has been around for a while, but now that he's officially lost all of his medals, it's once again news.
To his credit, he's come clean. It may have taken a while, but some things tend to take longer than others. It seems this is something toddlers and celebrities have in common: they will hold onto their story until absolute undeniable proof says otherwise, to which they will come clean and hope that the involved authority will grant them leniency.
Here's the problem I have with the whole Armstrong thing. Doping in cycling is not the vice of the lone individual. Nearly everyone does it. It's more newsworthy to find a cyclist that's succeeded without the help of drugs.
Friday morning, professional cyclist Scott Mercier went on KKCO in Grand Junction, Colo., and estimated that, of the riders on the European tour he raced, more than 95 percent were involved in doping of some sort.
In my opinion, Armstrong was targeted because he was the easiest. He had been the most successful. And that still hasn't changed. As my editor has often said, everyone racing still knows who really won. Just because some other guy now has a medal doesn't change anything. Sports, all sports, are still 80 percent a mental game.
Even with the doping, Armstrong was still the best. When one guy does something to enhance his performance, he breaks away from the group. When everyone does something to enhance their performance, the playing field is once again level. Even with the doping, he still beat all of the other cyclists, most of which were also doping.
If anything, the guy deserves more credit than ever. Not only did he still win 7 Tour de France titles after beating cancer, the USDA report said that Armstrong ran "the most sophisticated, professionalized and successful doping program that sport has ever seen."
Even in the best-known secret known to sports, he wins. Whatever he does, he does it well, and that's got to be worth something.