How Lance Let Us All Down


The story of Lance Armstrong’s confession to Oprah Winfrey has been in the news for days. It’s sad. It’s disappointing.

Look, we all know the incredible pressure professional athletes face. And we know that Armstrong wasn’t alone in taking performance enhancing drugs. After all, while he was stripped of 7 Tour de France titles, they haven’t been awarded to the second place because those cyclists had their own juicing up scandals to contend with.

Armstrong said that he finally “came clean” because he didn’t want to lie to his son.

“I saw my son defending me and saying, ‘That’s not true. What you’re saying about my dad is not true,’ ” Armstrong recalled.

“That’s when I knew I had to tell him.”

Armstrong was near tears at that point, referring to 13-year-old Luke, the oldest of his five children. He blinked, looked away from Winfrey and, with his lip trembling, struggled to compose himself.

via ESPN

For that, we applaud him.

But, for the ride he took us all on, it’s going to take some time to get over it.

I’m not a cyclist. Heck, I’m not even an athlete. But, like Armstrong, I’m a survivor of testicular cancer. December marked the 23rd year since my surgery. This time in 1991 I was going through radiation treatments.

The work that Armstrong did through the Livestrong Foundation was amazing. For a longtime, like thousands of others, I wore the yellow plastic bracelet to promote cancer awareness.

And, for a long time, like thousands of others, I defended Armstrong against the “scurrilous” charges that he had doped his way to the top.

The Livestrong Foundation released this statement:

AUSTIN, Texas – Jan. 17, 2013 – The LIVESTRONG Foundation issued the following statement in response to Lance Armstrong’s interview with Oprah Winfrey.

“We at the LIVESTRONG Foundation are disappointed by the news that Lance Armstrong misled people during and after his cycling career, including us. Earlier this week, Lance apologized to our staff and we accepted his apology in order to move on and chart a strong, independent course. We look forward to devoting our full energy to our mission of helping people not only fight and survive cancer, but also thrive in life after cancer.

Even in the wake of our disappointment, we also express our gratitude to Lance as a survivor for the drive, devotion and spirit he brought to serving cancer patients and the entire cancer community. Lance is no longer on the Foundation’s board, but he is our founder and we will always be grateful to him for creating and helping to build a Foundation that has served millions struggling with cancer.

The LIVESTRONG Foundation is one of the most highly-rated and effective cancer organizations in the United States. Our success has never been based on one person – it’s based on the patients and survivors we serve every day, who approach a cancer diagnosis with hope, courage and perseverance. We listened to their needs and took action to create free cancer support services that offer access to clinical trials, fertility preservation, insurance coverage and even transportation to treatment. People living with and through cancer are the inspiration behind our work. They have been, are and always will be our focus.”

Armstrong’s admission is indeed a disappointment. But the Livestrong Foundation is correct in saying that the issue of fighting cancer is bigger than Lance Armstrong and the Tour de France.

Lance Armstrong now has to fight a different battle and work to reclaim his life and career in any way he can.

Scripture tells us:

All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.
Romans 3:22-24

So, disappointed as I may be, it’s really not my place to judge Armstrong.  We are all fallen creations.

Our energy is better focused in joining once again in the fight against cancer.

Do yourself a favor, men. It’s not just the women who should be doing self-exams and getting tested. Make an appointment today.

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