Sunday, January 20, 2013

Lance Armstrong.. Fall from my Hero to Filth of Disgrace, a fairy-tale with villain

My Uncle used to be huge Sports Fan. When I was a young kid, After he left for higher studies, I inherited his room and all his Posters and sports magazine. My room used to be full of Pete Sampras and Steffi Graff's Poster along with Cricketers as Malcom Marshall and Vivian Richards. Its because of him, I had huge interest in various sports (that is other than Football, which comes Naturally in our Part) from young Age. I used to listen to BBC's Sports news and Analysis (and live coverages) even before TV came, or shall I say, even before I started watching Hindi Movies (well My english wasnt good, but still I used to listen).

Armstrong after his first stage win in Tour de France
It was in 1996 ( I guess), that I first heard of Lance Armstrong. I had just started riding cycle myself, and naturally it was a kind of story that touched me. A young Aspiring Cyclist whose carrer was cut short by Testicular cancer. I read the whole story in SPORTSTAR (The Hindu's one), which was Brought home by my uncle. After reading the magazine, I cut his photo from the Magazine and Pasted in the wall along with Monica Seles (Oh! Monica Seles.. what a player she was, had she not been stabbed..). What I read in the Magazine and what my uncle had to say, Lance Armstrong's Cycling carrer was all but over. I just hoped one day, he wins his fight for survival, and gets to ride that bike again.

Lance after his first win at Tour de France
And so he did. First he was out of contract after the cancer. Then he grabbed one of the most Lucrative contract in cycling from US Postal office. And then, in 1999 he did something that we never did expect from him. He won the Tour'de'France on his first year of comeback winning four stages. He did it again for six more years. No one has won the race more than 5 times, and he won it for 7 times, in a row, before he retired in 2005. It was a fairy tale that no one predicted, and we all had to love him. More than the wins, its the works with his Livstrong foundations that win hearts of millons of us, I was no exception. His story was such an inspiration to me and all indeed.

Armstrong after his final tour win
Cycling is sport which is always tarnished by the Doping. And no doubt Armstrong's story is too perfect to be true. But, during his cycling career he never failed a Drug test, and he defended his claims to be true, that ii believed him without any doubts. Even after the USDA made public its 1000+ pages long result, of what is called most sophisticated trial the sport has ever seen, it was absolutely certain that he cheated, I somehow hoped he would come out clean.

“This story was so perfect for so long. It was a mythic, perfect story and it wasn't true.” He spoke out to oprah.

Now, that he confessed he Cheated. Not only cheated that he headed a big big circle of dopers, with power, name and money that has tarnished the Cycling as a sports forever, I feel looted of all my childhood memories. I had cuttings of Each of his yellow jersey pasted in the wall and all seven titles, which he no longer holds. I am sure, I am not the only one who thinks he/she has been abandoned with their favorite childhood sport moments. Even his good deeds, with his foundation, is just a small piece of cloth to cover huge wall of Doping, cheating, and propaganda surrounding it, which he has done without Guilt (as he spoke out to Oprah).

and this is how he resigned from Livestrong. 
He has four kids. One of them, 13, was defending him fiercely in some youtube video I saw sometime last year. What does that kid feels now, know his father indeed took Drugs to win all those races, name and fame. Now that he is stripped off all the titles he won, stripped off the Chairman from Livestrong foundation (which I guess was more painful for him than losing those seven titles), with all the sponsors to cancel their deals and several court cases to follow, its all over for him. I have seen footages of Oprah Interview. The first five questions, and the tiny little hope I had that he would finish this whole saga, cleanly and with pride, all went in vain.

He says, he didnt cheat after 2005. But, that means a little now. Lance Armstrong gave us hope and now to discover that it all was based on Dope and fraud, we all feel cheated, robbed with the memories.

The fairy tale has ended, Greatest Cyclist of the world has fallen to the filth of disgrace.

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