Lance Armstrong and the US anti-Doping Agency

14 Jun

Lance Armstrong is being accused of doping by the US anti-doping Agency of having taken performance enhancing drugs throughout his career. This is a major shock to the sports world because A)Lance Armstrong is such a unique individual in mainstream sports (a Tiger Woods like figure who has dominated his sport) B) because it calls into question the 7 Tour de France consecutive titles. C) The controversy over this can undermine not just his athletic competitive career, but also undermines the millions of Armstrong (“Live Strong”) followers who have used his story as an inspiration in their own lives.

Here’s why if you are a sports writer or sports cyclist enthusiast, you’re not surprised by this turn.

A) Cycling is well known to have the most rampant abuse of performance enhancing drugs (PED) and many of its competitors have lost their titles when the fact of their doping came known (including recent US team members).

B) Reporters have long been wary of Armstrong’s rhetoric about doping and many stories have surfaced that implicate Lance Armstrong, not just in using PED’s, but in showing others how to use them and how to circumvent testing.

c) The claim is made by the US Anti-Doping Agency. The USADA founded in 2000 specifically to clean up PED in sports and they oversee the IOC (International Olympic Committee) and have adopted standards that are considered the gold standard in PED testing. USADA does not oversee Cycling or the Tour de France, but as soon as Armstrong decided to do a triathalon, his blood was subject to testing.

These are very heavy claims, so why isn’t the sports world going ape shit today over this? Because insiders in the sport know it is a very corrupt and aren’t taken aback by it anymore. Are we enraged that Manny Pacquaio was handed a loss in his latest fight although compubox numbers had him controlling the fight with 30% more punches thrown and a higher landing percentage? No ! Why? Because we all know that Boxing is inherently corrupt in infrastructure and scoring is kept subjective enough to hide all the back door dealings that go on.

I am not roasting Lance Armstrong over a fire. The evidence is circumstantial still when compared to his record of never being positive for PEDS, but this is also the first time another agency has proof of him using a PED. Exogenous Erythropeotin (EPO) is a touchy subject for PED’s and the length that athletes will go to play in their sport cannot be underestimated.

Obviously the USADA (which is an independent organization but backed by the USOC, IOC, and all Olympic, para-olympic type games) has the prestige to designate what is performance enhancing and what isn’t (For instance, marijuana is a banned substance but it’s performance enhancing effects are debatable). The USADA is also responsible for what goes on the World Anti-Doping Agency list or WADA list that. This does not, however, make the USADA infallible and false positive tests are a factor. For example:

If you are a NFL player and was given a suspension due to having ingested a substance which shows up on the WADA list you might have been taking your Adderall medication and received the suspension becuase Adderall is on that list. It is clear Adderall is not a PED, but this shows you some of the flaws of the system that says “an athlete is responsible for everything that goes into his body”

As for Lance Armstrong, we all want to give him the benefit of the doubt because of the great inspiration his story has given us, but what I find more egregious is if he was doping all this time while condemning other people and protesting his innocence in a Roger Clemens sort of way. Either way it is an eye opener.

For any of those interested in reading the letter sent to Lance Armstrong and the medical staff responsible for the alleged doping go to

The evidence is circumstantial and based mostly on eye witness accounts and his latest positive test, however it is damning in the sense that all his team members have, under oath, cooperated with anti-doping agencies, but  he vehemently denies ever having interacted with teammates and staff in that way. If it is a case of he said vs. she said, then this situation would be better characterized by “They said vs. He said”.

If you’ve got an opinion on this I’d like to hear it.


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