Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The Other Shoe has Dropped, and It Appears to be Worn Out

What could be more fitting to write about in this, my 100th post, than the man who really got Americans (ok, only about seven of us) excited in the sport of cycling - Tom Boonen. Seriously, he used blow while at least some other riders in the pro peloton were turning to EPO, CERA, testosterone, Fluff, etc. When he finally takes off his lycra shorts for the last time and calls it quits, he most definitely has a spot in Hollywood. Truth be told Boonen is my favorite rider and I wish him all the best - go get 'em Tommeke, just lay off the white stuff.

Actually, the man I speak of is none other than Lance Edward Gunderson, better known to the world as Lance Armstrong. With all the allegations from former teammates, including Tyler Hamilton and Floyd Landis (George Hincapie is said to have given some pretty damning testimony to a grand jury about LA's, and his own, drug use), it is harder and harder for people that use reason to believe that he never used PEDs. In this article, author Renee Gough describes how her son - who is/was a huge LA fan - comes to grips with the Hamilton interview on 60 Minutes. Gough uses the metaphor of her son's favorite pair of shoes, a set of Livestrong Nikes:

I'm not sure what's worse, the fact that she uses as her subtitle, "Lance Armstrong's Livestrong apparel may be unraveling at the seams" - I fear that 'unraveling' is a bit of an understatement:

Or her son's response to the allegations made by Hamilton. In what Gough claims was an expertly reasoned response, her son's retort to the allegations was, "I’ve read Lance Armstrong’s book, the reason he did so good is because before he had cancer he didn’t realize how much he wanted it.” Sure, if will power is all it takes to get a person from a hospital bed and chemotherapy to winning the TdF, than I would have slept with so many girls as a young, 20-something roaming the streets of New York City. Bringing the story full circle, as well as tying (yeah, like laces, I'm in on it as well) together the shoe metaphor/unraveling pun, Gough says she is happy for the first time in her life to go shoe shopping to replace her son's Livestrong Nikes. This is where the story gets fishy; a woman who claims she hasn't been excited to go shoe shopping before? I'm not buying it.

While I understand her desire to replace the shoes, a physical reminder of LA, she falls in the same trap as just about every other person who discusses the issue of LA doping - that the Livestrong Foundation has cheated the same way LA (possibly) has. Hitting close to home, KC's soccer team - Sporting KC - has a new stadium that the writer of this article seems to believe links them directly to LA. I don't know if Livestrong has ever done anything illegal or if LA was involved, but what I do know is that no matter how horrible a person LA may turn out to be, the foundation he started is one that has an honorable cause. LA and Livestrong will always be linked, but transferring the negative aspects of the person onto the foundation is ridiculous.

No matter what happens with LA, Livestrong will most likely take a hit, but in the end people will realize when they pledge money to Livestrong or purchase Livestrong themed articles of clothing, they will be helping those with cancer (as well as hurting those children who work in Chinese sweatshops). In the end this all would be much easier to sort out and result in a much neater clean up if LA had just joined Boonen for an eight ball instead of (possibly) injecting himself with drugs. It's not as if he couldn't afford to waste a few hundred dollar bills to make straws.

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