This is an article I wanted to write for a very long time. It goes against what is being promulgated in the media and this general picture of “Lance Armstrong lost everything.”
Make no mistake: I’ve never considered Lance Armstrong a hero. He beat cancer - so fucking what? Millions of people have to deal with that horrible illness every year and while they may all be hero, few people actually do admire them. Somehow, some millionaire - able to afford the best treatment on the planet - should be considered a hero because he beat cancer and managed to return to competition. Good for him, but I really don’t care.
Lance Armstrong is a scammer, a thief, a hypocrite, a liar and a total piece of shit; still he was quite clever to use steroids. Of all the decisions he took in his life, taking steroids was probably amongst the best.
Why? Because otherwise, he would be like 99% of athletes today: broke, in debt, uneducated and with no real future.
Had Lance Armstrong never taken steroids, he would have never been in the top 50 cyclists in the world and perhaps not even in the top 100. Nobody would have given a damn about him. He would have ran two or three Tour de France, made a couple of grands (probably not even enough to repay his travel costs) and then quickly waned into obsolescence. Whatever he lost in that scandal is nothing when compared to everything he gained over his career.
Instead, he became a multi-millionaire, with his own several product lines and books, and famous worldwide. Oh, he lost it all when it was proved beyond doubt that he was using steroids, but let’s face it: he was pretty unlucky there. Or, should I say, quite cocky and stupid: had he paid his teamates for silence (perhaps $100,000-$200,000 per year, a tiny sum for someone worth over $125M), there is no way he would have gotten caught, at least not in a manner that can be proved. He would have kept denying it and there is pretty much nothing anyone could do over it.
Instead, he started openly boasting about cheating the system and finding loopholes. His entire stratagem was revealed on television, up to the point where denying it would have been silly. But most people forget that even after all that, Lance Armstrong will remain an extremely wealthy person: all money he has acquired thanks to his fame.
Had he not used steroids, Lance Armstrong would be lucky to have a job at Wal-Mart today. Period. His entire fame is based pretty much solely on steroid use.
In other words, he’s an athlete
I’m starting to get fed up with people pretending high-levels athletes are not all using steroids. If you look at sports in general, only the very, very best can hope to earn a living wage from his sport. Even the worst player in the NHL is someone who worked 40+ hours per week for years with a vague promise of “perhaps “earning over $100,000 a year one day. And if you don’t cut it, well, too bad - you should have spent that time studying.
With that in mind, you cannot afford not to take steroids; if you want to make it in your sports, you have to take steroids, period. Let’s not lie to ourselves and pretend otherwise, please: when your coach offers you to take steroids, if you don’t accept it, he’ll simply offer them to the next athlete. That next athlete will then proceed to be stronger / more resistant / faster than you can ever dream to be.
You cannot compete with steroid-using athletes if you don’t use steroids yourself, period. To think otherwise would be silly.
If you are a young athlete hoping to reach the top, you have to take performance-enhancing drugs right now. There are plenty of names coaches will use for it, sometimes trying to avoid the “steroid” terminology, but it all boils down to one thing: a substance that will improve your cardiovascular system and/or muscle. They’ll call it ‘hormones balancer’ or ‘body optimizer’ or ‘supervitamin’ or whatever you want it to be. Look: I tried to compete in a regional jiu-jitsu competition and I was offered steroids. What do you think it is at the regional level?
Some of these substances are not outright banned, but this fact doesn’t matter when you consider the fact that the odds you’ll be caught are extremely slim, to say the least. Sure, there are tests, but there are always loopholes and, of course, ways to avoid detection. For instance, in the NHL, what if you take your drugs during summer, back when there are no tests? What if you used some substance to build muscle very quickly? All traces will have vanished by the time the season starts.Some players get caught sometimes, sure, but that’s part of the game and part of the risk.
I watched the UFC last night and it made me realize that pretty much any hit from these guys would either a) knock me out b) kill me, yet these guys kept enduring hit after hit for fifteen minutes. A kick that would pretty much break my leg barely made them flinch. Do you really think these people can endure that, plus a full training camp, without a little pick-up? Of course not.
But it’s not fair for athletes that don’t use steroids!
Welcome to the real world, budyd.
About Lance Armstrong…
I don’t get why people are mad that he admitted using steroids; I thought this much was obvious. I watched the superbowl a couple of weeks ago and all I can think about is “This is what a steroid-fest looks like.” If you don’t think that 90%+ of players in the NFL take some kind of banned performance-enhancing substance, then you are wrong.
You can either lose the Superbowl with a 99% probability or take steroids. Your choice.
I’m not saying illegal performance-enhancing drugs should be allowed, I’m saying we should stop being hypocrites and act like Lance Armstrong is the Antechrist because he cheated. There are cyclers who don’t cheat: you’ll never hear about them. You’ll never seen their names in newspapers or their photos on the cover of a magazine. And when they turn 40, they’ll be lucky to be flipping your burgers or bagging your groceries for you.
I would go as far as wagering that 95-98 of the top 100 cyclists in the world use steroids, if not more. With that in mind, here are the three dumbest thing Lance Armstrong did (or didn’t do):
1- Bribe his teamate for silence
Already discussed above, but all of this should have never happened. He got busted what, 6 years after retiring? It’s almost impossible to prove beyond a reasonable doubt if only a few key teamates had kept their mouth shut. Just pay them and shut the fuck up; they’ll keep silent as long as you pay. But Lance was too cocky to do that.
2- Not moving his money overseas
So you just earned $125M+ for a career almost entirely based on fraud (see: politicians). What’s the first thing you should do? Start an offshore company and dumb your money in it right away. That way, if you ever get caught and your sponsors want their money back, you can just declare bankruptcy and be done with it. Your money will still be safely held by that offshore company. I’m not sure Lance didn’t do that, but I’m guessing he didn’t since he was absolutely sure he would never get caught.
3- Lying under oath in court
The dumbest mistake he has ever done. Believe it or not, taking illegal or banned performance-enhancing drugs is not illegal. It may be illegal to import some, but this is very tough to prove. Even if you get caught using it, you won’t face criminal prosecution, period.
For some reason, Lance Armstrong thought it was clever to lie under oath while testifying in court. He won the case and kept the money. This is perjury and he could have faced jail time. Of course, there is some kind of weird statue of limitation that means he got away with lying under oath (I told you rich people don’t use the same law book as ut), but it was still dumb as hell. There was no need for him to do so. Settle your case out of court, pay them back whatever they ask and don’t ever talk about it ever again. No, instead, he went for a full trial and lied in court. This is just dumb. Yet another dumb move by a dumb man.
With all that in mind, however, Lance Armstrong was still smart enough to realize he had to take steroids. He won the Tour de France (he lost them later, but who cares?) and became rich. And at the end of the day, his bank account is still filled with millions while the bank accounts of honest cyclists remain empty. It would be easy for me to blame Lance for it, but I’d rather blame the game than the player. Lance knew how to play and to blame it would be equivalent to blaming a chess GM for being good at chess.
I’d bet the current Tour de France takes at least as much steroids as Lance Armstrong did.