Lance Armstrong was a person any red-blooded American could believe in. Or, at least, he used to be.
Some have criticized Armstrong’s move to appear on the Oprah Winfrey Network to confess his sins. Let me remind these critics, these name callers, and all the people that have claimed he is a ne’er-do-well to read John 8:7.
When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.”
By seeing the ubiquitous yellow arm band on countless people from all walks of life in the last ten years or so, I know that this man has touched millions. He’s touched not just cancer survivors, those living with cancer, and those who have survived family or friends that have died of cancer. He’s touched us all. He inspired everyone around – from those of us that are weekend warriors, to those that are serious cyclists, to those that are professional athletes. He changed the way people thought about themselves. He made the impossible seem possible. If Armstrong could win seven Tour de France titles and survive testicular cancer, then I could at least get off my ass and go outside, play a sport, or go for a walk. He inspired us by his courage and his determination to live life to its full potential. This gave us all a new outlook on life. Since the inception of the LIVESTRONG Foundation, Armstrong gave all these things to millions of people at one time or another over the course of his cycling career. Is Lance a disappointment to these millions? Yes.
Lance is a disappointment because he lied about the very essence of what we thought he was. We thought that he was a guy that pulled himself up by his bootstraps and came back from cancer better than ever. We thought he was the definition of excellence in athleticism. His training regimens were supposed to have been legendary. The man was an irresistible force; nothing could stop him. The last thing that I, or anyone else who was a fan, could believe was that he would cheat. I remember when I first heard of the allegations a couple of years ago; I felt it was all nonsense. I didn’t want to believe it. I couldn’t believe it because I believed that Armstrong embodied everything that was the antithesis of a cheater.
I support Lance’s decision to come clean in a public forum. I admire his taking accountability for his actions. That is courageous in and of itself. I think Armstrong is still showing us what he’s made of. He’s not a quitter. He’s not an excuse maker. Has he fallen from grace as a cyclist? Yes. However, as a man, I believe he’s just getting warmed up.
Besides the over $470 million his foundation has raised for cancer research, Armstrong still has more to give. He will continue to be an inspiration. Armstrong is human and has flaws like us all, even though he fooled us for a while into thinking he was more than that.
Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. (Ephesians 4:32)