If Armstrong Doped, What Was it Worth?

Updated: July 11, 2012

Things aren’t looking good for Lance Armstrong. The US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) banned a trainer and two doctors associated with Lance Armstrong for life today in a precursor to what may be a landmark decision regarding Armstrong’s continued eligibility.

So, if the answer is that Lance DID dope, I think the question should be, “Was it worth it?”

In a field of cyclists who were basically all doping, Armstrong was at the top. For seven straight years he dominated the Tour de France like nobody has or probably ever will. Will all of Roger Clemens’ pitching records be stripped because he used performance-enhancing drugs during the steroid era? But I’m getting off-topic.

If all of Armstrong’s records fall, it was probably worth it. It has to be. If the price of winning 7 Tours de France and having the pulpit from which to grow the Lance Armstrong Foundation is to have those titles stripped later on, don’t the ends justify the means?

Look at all the great work the LAF has done.

Millions of dollars for programs for people affected by cancer. Millions of people inspired by Lance’s story of survival. Are those people any less alive now that it comes out that Lance probably doped? Will the support for cancer survivors have been undone?

For a man who looked death in the face, I would imagine the ends justified the means.

In a sport where everyone was cheating, Lance Armstrong probably did too. And it helped him to do immeasurable good for the field of cancer research.

And while fair play in sports is something I think is REALLY REALLY REALLY important, I think that, for Lance (IF HE DID DOPE) the resulting contribution to cancer awareness surely justified doping at a time when “everyone was doing it.” If that’s how this thing goes down, he’ll have to live with that. And I think I’ll be good with it.


  1. mcj

    07/11/2012 at 11:03 pm

    Owen, lets take this hypothetical another step further. If it was worth lance to dope because in this argument i agree with you, more good has come out of his 7 wins than all the other wins combined (except maybe eddie merecks)…then lets propose the question, is it worth the usada to bring up charges against lance for allegations that something went down over a decade ago. If we look at a precedent decision on this, the us government had an opportunity and said nay…we are over it, lance and cycle and tdf can all move on with their life. Why then can’t the usada move on? I will tell you the answer…because its personal and for this reason we will never know the true reasons.

    • Not Lance

      07/14/2012 at 1:51 pm

      USADA alleges Armstrong doping goes back to as little as 2 years ago.

      The government’s case and USADA’s are completely different. The DOJ was charging financial fraud, a crime. USADA is charging a doping conspiracy in cycling, an infraction of sporting rules.

      Rather than being over it, the DOJ had to decide if they had enough to convict in a criminal proceeding which has a much higher burden of proof than USADA’s will for their hearing.

  2. Callie Main

    07/12/2012 at 2:42 pm

    We may be watching the evolution of the term ‘hero’ here, but not miss a beat in a culture that promotes winning over playing. That keen desire to win is maybe what enables us to “battle” cancer, to “beat the odds” and to “overcome” adversity and mediocrity. Just sayin’ ~ my mind isn’t made up yet, but there’s a lot of room for discussion.

  3. Davenport

    07/14/2012 at 3:48 pm

    This is an odd piece of writing. It’s also factually inaccurate. Livestrong do not raise money for cancer research, which would be great if they did. They provide some counselling type services and mainly they refer people to other well established cancer support agencies. But mainly they exist to give Lance good press. And boy is he going to need good press one of these days.

    • owenmain

      07/14/2012 at 4:10 pm

      Hey Davenport, Thanks for the clarification about the “cancer-research” part. I’ve updated the post. If anyone wants more info about what the Lance Armstrong Foundation, what they do, etc… you can go to their website: http://www.livestrong.org/What-We-Do . I agree that LAF does get Lance good press. Whatever the motivations for the foundation though, has it not done quite a bit of good? The post is based on the premise that LAF has done the good things it purports to have done. If I get information to the contrary, I am definitely open to changing my opinion. Thanks for reading!

  4. Pingback: Will Lance Armstrong Admit PED use to Oprah? - Fansmanship

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