Wednesday, July 07, 2004
I've been on the fence for awhile but I've now decided that I'm absolutely pro-Lance Artmstong. I'm rooting for Lance to win and I'm doing it with all the fervor of a whirling dervish with hot cigarette ash in his pants. I do understand why many of the cycling fans that I know are not pro Armstrong. As with many sports it becomes harder and harder to root for the dominant player be it the Los Angeles Lakers, the Dallas Cowboys, Mike Tyson, Barry Bonds, etc. and Lance is certainly that. But I've been hearing so much grousing about Lance's character. None of us knows the guy and while I'm sure he's no angel I also don't think he's the flaming asshole that many people try to portray him as. Is he arrogant? I'm sure. He's the best in the world at what he does, he's earned his degree of arrogance just as Michael Jordan did, just as Muhammad Ali did. Cocky comes with the rarified territory that these athletes occupy. I also think that Lance is an excellent representative of cycling here in the US. He may not be the best rep for cycling on the global stage, but in the US he embodies everything we like in our heroes. He came back from the abyss (cancer) and excelled beyond his wildest dreams. And he's dating a rock star now. I don't know Lance well enough to pass any moral judgements against him. The stories that people tell me (that inevitably come from someone's cousin who works in TV and knows the director of blah, blah, blah) regarding his behaviour on the set of some commercial shoot seem forced at best. Maybe he was having a bad day, maybe the person he was dealing with was being an ass and deserved a response in kind, who knows. I'm on his side because I want to see him make history, because I want the european press to stop accusing him of doping, because I want the french to respect him as great champion in a sport that they revere, because he works his ass off, because he rewards the loyalty of his teammates, because having a good American champion in a European dominated sport might just help us to climb out from under the mess the Bush/Cheney admin has made of our relationships with europe. That's the rant for today.
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