Lance Armstrong finishing 3rd in Sète, taking ...

Sweating now? Wait until the lawsuits come, Lance.

The big news of Monday was Lance Armstrong sitting down, meeting with Oprah, and once and for all admitting that he did in fact use performance enhancing drugs.

Journalists from a variety of types and outlets of media, be it sports talk – writers- columnists – bloggers or reporters all seem to have their opinion. I personally cannot think of another situation where there are so many angles to the story, and so many arguments to make. Depending on your point of view and your opinion of Lance Armstrong, you have a bunch of facts that can support your argument and that can justify your thoughts and feelings.

That is what makes this story so very unique.

Many people will forget that Armstrong was once a relatively unknown cyclist. He was diagnosed with testicular cancer at the age of 25 – being a world-class athlete he ignored the early signs and by the time it was “diagnosed” his cancer had spread to his abdomen his lungs and even his brain.

The extremes of the good and bad of the rise and fall of Lance Armstrong also make this a matchless story.

Everyone is very familiar with the Livestrong Foundation. Armstrong took his fame and popularity and worked to turn it into a juggernaut of fund-raising for cancer research. To date over 470 million dollars have been raised via the Livestrong Foundation.

Aside from the money aspect of the foundation – – There is also the emotional aspect. People purchase bracelets, form prayer chains, do other local activities to raise cancer awareness. Think of how many of the yellow wristbands you have owned or how many you have seen in your daily activities in the last decade.

There is no doubt that what is has done in the field of cancer awareness is truly remarkable.

On the other hand, he had denied all cries of cheating outrage against him. His has defended it vehemently with the very fabric of his being. He has gone on countless talk shows over the years, written books, been deposed numerous times and had no less than 10 lawsuits in various European countries against his naysayers.

But there are two incidents that in particular that stand out to me.

First – Betsy and Frank Andreus. Frank was a former teammate of Lance Armstrong, and he and his wife testified under oath that they had witnessed Armstrong tell medical staff in 1996 that he as using various performance enhancing substances.

Shortly after this testimony Armstrong proclaimed in a television interview that they were simply just “vindictive, bitter, vengeful and jealous.”

Shortly thereafter the Andreus’s received an “anonymous” voicemail from “someone” that is assumed to be associated with Armstrong.

“I hope somebody breaks a baseball bat over your head. I also hope that one day you have adversity in your life and you have some type of tragedy that will … definitely make an impact on you.”

The second incident that makes me cringe involves Emma O’Reily. She was employed by the USPS cycling team to give massages…and apparently smuggle drugs across country boarders to supply the various riders on the team. Roughly 10 years ago she made various statements and told repeated stories of doping and her role in PED drug smuggling.

Armstrong responds by taking her to court in England, suing her for libel and slander for way more money than is even remotely close to her total net worth, and defends himself by saying you can’t trust the statements of a drunken prostitute

Wow.

But these are the stories that are usually forgotten. These are the little people who have been squished along the way in the wake of Armstrong Immortality.

Thursday night he goes in front of the most popular talk show person of our time, Oprah Winfrey, for an “exclusive interview”. I am curious to see how pointed some the questions might be, but I have a suspicion that this will be a lay-up of an interview. Pretty bubble gum…Oprah is Oprah, we aren’t talking about Dan Rather here.

I am sure the TV ratings will be high.

Wonder if somewhere Greg LeMond will be tuning in.

Until next time, Stay Classy Plano Texas.

 

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Johnny Goodman writes a weekly sports column for The Soap Boxers. His articles can be found in The Goodman File.

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