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The Lance Armstrong case – Simon Bank guides me

August 25, 2012

I have so much trouble with the Lance Armstrong case. Was he doped? How has USADA handled the case? How should we judge that he now stops the fight? In situations like this I tend to listen to the greatest sports writer of them all – Simon Bank at Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet. Usually he explains things to me and help me to get an opinion. I’m not that sure this time. Here is the article translated to English (in Google Translate – with minor changes by me – so pardon me for the bad language):

Bank: Armstrong is now in danger of becoming the least of all

It is a sign that everyone was right – he realizes that the battle is lost

He who fought death and won decides to not even fight for his life.
Lance Armstrong was the greatest of all.
Lance Armstrong might be the least of all.

Year after year, he could read it between the lines, and sometimes in the lines, in l’Équipe: sport was him on the tracks. Year after year, he heard shouts behind him during the mountain stages: Dopé! Dopé!

Lance Armstrong was always stronger than suspicion, faster than the processes that grind against him.

He just tripped on, smarter and better than any other cyclist. The cancer patient had challenged death and won, on the fly, he challenged the toughest competition that exists in the top sport and won it too. Seven times.

Played with Ullrich

He fought with Pantani on Mont Ventoux in 2000, he played with and fooled Jan Ullrich up to Alpe d’Huez years after. He crashed and came back during the unimaginable Luz Ardiden-stage 2003.

Lance Armstrong gave us some of the 2000s most incredible sporting moments. He stretched the limits of the possible, and surpassed them every time.

Before his very last Tour, Lance sat down with his beloved enemy l’Équipe and gave an interview.

– The tour is like a life, summed up in three weeks. There are hills, valleys, adversity, joy, doubt, and then you sum it all up in the end, he said.

It was nice said. And if we add up Lance Armstrong all weeks – what do we get?

When he – the man who wrestled with death and won – choose to not even fight for his honor and his name, when he gives up the fight against USADA, it is, in spite of hundreds of pure A-and B-samples, a sign that all been right. There are still many battles left to take, if Usadas right and ways, but sports history’s greatest fighter chooses to give up. I do not see it as anything other than proof that he realizes that the battle is lost.

The 2000s strangest, most powerful sports performance may have been built on needles, epo, and steroids.

Lance Armstrong had a problem that many criminals have: when everything was over, he had too few friends and many enemies remain. His defense speech this morning was not even a defense. It was just empty rhetoric. The emperor is without clothes, if you look closely you can still believe that you can see needle holes in the arms.

Worth less than nothing

Lance Armstrong climbed on top of the sporting world’s highest mountain, then he also falls harder than anyone else.

He was not history’s greatest cyclist (it’s Eddy Merckx, who won everything), but he was the biggest story. Now it is worth less than nothing.

What does that mean? Really?

When Lance Armstrong now is nailed up on all the world’s imaginary dartboards, perhaps we should be a little critical of those who stood at the side and watched.

I do not mean his doctors, teammates, sports managers, or sponsors. I mean not even the UCI or Wada or the American sport power centers.

I mean ourselves.

How much do we care, really, how the victories are created? Well, in retrospect always all the indignation, all madness, all pointing fingers. But is it really a clean sport we want, to every conceivable price? It is a relevant question, because I am convinced that the answer is not as simple as you might think.

Just as the audience accepts the commercialized, perverted football sports as long as the right team wins and the spectacle is entertaining so does athletics and cycling blindly.

Yes, there will always be a fuss when someone gets caught (and this time it’s sporting history perhaps biggest case we see before us), upset pitches, higher axes and a sincere sorrow.

But we keep the watch.

We will always continue watching.

Got up from the bed

The crowd put their money in an immoral banking, although knowing that the probability that it will be robbed is huge. Somewhere along the way you have to ask the question whether it’s even a fair rate and return it is after.

Is it not just a good show we really want? Good stories, great life stories?

Lance Armstrong was the best. He had cancer, but he rose from the bed, rolled back the stone cave, went out into the world and ascended to our highest mountain. A lonely, tripping cowboy that no one could beat.

Was not that the movie we wanted to see?

– I know who won those seven games, my teammates know who won those seven races and everyone I competed against know who won those seven contests, Armstrong writes in his flat press release.

Maybe it’s just that. Perhaps it is precisely the problem.

Simon Bank


From → In English

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