Lance Armstrong is a Terrible Person

Lance Armstrong’s confession to Oprah Winfrey that he used performance-enhancing drugs will air tomorrow Thursday, and the speculation about what he said has become the media story of the day.Screen shot 2013-01-15 at 5.17.03 PM

The coverage is taking a lot of different angles, but there is at least one singular truth about his story: Lance is a terrible person. A tremendous athlete, but a terrible person. And not because he used PEDs, but because of how he tried to ruin anyone and everyone who dared to speak the truth.

Sometimes terrible people do good things, maybe even because they need to cover up the fact that they are terrible people. And those good things can offer enough cover that blind loyalists continue to believe. Richard Nixon created the EPA, Mussolini made the trains run on time, and Lance created the Livestrong Foundation.

But I don’t think for a second he founded his foundation because he truly cared about his fellow man. Lance reveled in the money and fame that came from being a world-class cyclist. And he was perceptive enough to recognize that Greg LeMond’s celebrity dried up the second he quit cycling. So Lance did everything he could to make his celebrity last.

First, he took PEDs so he could remain competitive, and then when he realized even PEDs would not keep him relevant forever, he founded the Livestrong Foundation. It brought him an entirely new source of fans and endorsement money. A source he thought would last a lifetime.

Lance has received world-class PR counsel over the years, and until recently it allowed him to stay in front of the rumors and accusations. But, for the moment, it has all caught up with him. Lance is a survivor, literally and figuratively, and I wouldn’t bet against the comeback for which he is desperately trying to position himself. But if his reputation does survive, don’t ever forget the one true thing about Lance: he is a terrible person.

7 thoughts on “Lance Armstrong is a Terrible Person

  1. Wow- best post from you ever. I was a fan of Lance for a long time because of what he did for the sport of cycling in the U.S., and your eloquent words crystallized my new image of him.

    Strong work.


    Mike Lee

  2. Who knows what makes a person so good at lying. They have to be very detached from their feelings (which in the extreme is called psychosis), kind of like Schwarzenneger going on 60 Minutes, Jay Leno, etc. and talking about a devasting affair that might make someone in touch crawl in a hole for years. But instead Arnold goes on TV and writes a book. I’d bet a lot of money we will see a confessional book from Lance, and as you say maybe even a comeback. He is better than most at this game — and I don’t mean biking.

    From the 1992 movie Damage: “Damaged people are dangerous. They know they can survive.”

  3. Important to understand he was not a great athlete all a lie. 36 best place in TDF pre doping. 16 minutes back on mountain stages. 6 minutes back on TT all pre doping. He had a natural low hematocrit so he benefitted from EPO like rocket fuel. Vaughters on the other hand 48 hematocrit EPO hardly helped. LA is NOT a great athlete he did not work harder.

    He was just a well backed sociopath who was given huge money and protection to run a mob and a huge scam for years. White collar crime.

    1. Idiot. he was 36th against a field of dopers and due to his physique at the time. Lost upper body weight after cancer, allowed him to gain time climbing. He doped when he finished 36th too.

  4. I completely agree. I’m a firm believer in “where there’s smoke, there’s fire,” so I always figured that he and the other cyclists during that time doped. What they did was wrong. It’s the way Armstrong attacked the people who called him on it and treated those who stood in his way, that make him not only a cheater, but a terrible person.

  5. I agree that the LAF foundation was started for selfish reasons, but I’ve always believed that the whole foundation thing erupted in the sports world around the same time (Floyd, Tyler et al). As if some sports lawyers and accountants realized they could hide money in these charities and be rewarded for the philantropic nature as a bonus. I could be wrong but seems a lot popped up at around the same time.

  6. Excellent post. If enough of us remember that he is a terrible person, it should help slow down any comeback he has planned. It was obvious from the two interviews that he never intended to come clean and that he doesn’t feel bad about doping at all. He just wants to race again and is willing to do what it takes now to get back into the game.

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