Sunday, January 20, 2013

The Lance Armstrong Case - Closure

I do not have the patience to see the Lance Armstrong interview on the Oprah Winfrey show. Simply because I don't know if after a couple of months someone comes out with a few more spectacular findings that it was all a big setup and that everyone made millions out of his confessions. TV shows, books, lectures - gimme a break.

By the end of it all one thing is clear - whatever Lance Armstrong did, he was not alone. There is obviously a much bigger set up behind that. More people involved in the entire creation of the myth and the destruction of it. But by now who cares.I don't. They won, they lost.

But what intrigues me is this - if such a case took so long to discover and such a myth has been built tacitly, I wonder what part of the story is true. For me, just the fact that a cancer survivor (and what Armstrong describes in his book of his disease is horrifying enough) had the strength to come back to health was big enough to make him a champion in my eyes I am good enough with that story. That he won seven titles and excelled in a physically draining sport was the cherry.

But what this entire set up, I am talking o the system that made and broke this man, has done is this - I don't even know if the cancer story is true now.

If it is, Armstrong still remains a winner to me, for he, as a cancer survivor, pushed himself, ethically or unethically, to ride that tour. All cancer survivors can take heart form that. He did (unless he did not really participate in the Tour and someone else did) physically ride and ride. The Tour Organisers should have been sophisticated enough to detect these cases quickly enough and if he got away with whatever he did, the enforcers are more to blame than him. After all that is what the enforcers are for. But if the cancer story is fake, and if he has not the Tour, Armstrong will remain one of the biggest creations of this whole phenomenon of branding and marketing that we see all around us.

Am I shocked? No. Do I feel sad? No. Each to his own. Armstrong will find his own demons or his peace. So will all those who were with him and against him. For me the story is over. Now I'd rather spend my time looking for other stories - of real heroes - in a world where the distinction between reality and make-believe is slowly blurring.

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