I can’t describe how I have felt for the past 18 months when I finally came to the conclusion that Lance was a cheater, and lying about it.
It was an interview Tyler Hamilton did with 60 Minutes that finally convinced me. The news hit me like the day you found out George Michael was gay. I was speechless. I mean, I probably knew all along, but when I figured it out, it hurt.
Then the interview with Oprah, where Lance finally stopped lying and admitted he used banned substances to win. So now it’s not just supposition. It’s real. And the frustration is back.
The thing that inspired me about Armstrong was his take no prisoners approach on the course. His huge comeback from insurmountable odds to dominate his sport and his endless commitment to give back were things I would often think about.
I took time out from a honeymoon in 2005 to watch the start of a Tour de France stage in Troyes, France (that’s the pic I took at the left). An entire day on the train and waiting in the town for a 4 second glimpse of Armstrong leading the peleton out of town.
I wear yellow, a lot of yellow. Sure it helps that my name is Buzz and I have an affinity for wearing black and yellow as “my colours,” but I was also a huge supporter of Armstrong’s Wear Yellow initiative.
Wristbands. Shoes, Jackets. T shirts. Hats. Gym bags. Jerseys. I spent hundreds, if not thousands on them all.
All of it on a lie. The feelings I have about Lance’s betrayal make me think about who my sons will look up to as they grow up. Already they have posters of athletes in their room, and will role-play as them when we’re playing sports at the park.
We all seek mentors in life. People who will inspire us to reach our potential, and beyond it. For those who are passionate about athletics, it’s a natural thing to copy someone who is already successful. We can invest a lot of hope and dreams (and cash) into our idols oly to see it come crashing down. Just look at the resume of some of the biggest athletes and celebrities in our era:
Who’s left? Hopefully you.
Take another celebrity’s fall from grace as a personal challenge to be the hero your children can look up to. Be the mentor they need. Be the person they want to be when they grow up.
There was a day I would have beamed if my children would have said “Dad, I want to be like Tiger, or Lance.” Not today. No longer.
Image via Buzz Bishop