[QODLink]
Inside Story Americas
Lance Armstrong: Villain or hero?
As the cycling legend gives up the fight against doping allegations, we ask how this decision will impact his legacy.
Last Modified: 25 Aug 2012 12:47

Lance Armstrong, the US cycling legend, maintains his innocence but gives up the fight against doping allegations. Is it time to re-examine the role of performance enhancement drugs in sport?

"This is hardly a sport where he is an outlier .... People watch cycling to see feats that human beings honestly can't do. If you are going to get doping out of cycling, you are going to have a massive reformation in how the sports operates."

- Dave Zirin, a sport writer for The Nation magazine

Armstrong defeated cancer and went on to win seven Tour de France titles. But Armstrong, who inspired cycling fans and cancer survivors around the world, has been labelled a cheat by the US anti-doping agency (USADA).

The USADA says "it's a heartbreaking example of how the win-at-all-costs culture of sport, if left unchecked, will overtake fair, safe and honest competition."

Armstrong, however, says he has never tested positive for performance enhancment drugs and called the agency's investigation an "unconstitutional witchhunt."

The sport of cycling has been marred by doping allegations several times in the past.

"I don't think fans want it that pure, I think fans want their athletes to be superstars, they want them to act superhuman."

- Alan Milstein, a sports attorney

Floyd Landis lost his 2006 Tour de France title to a doping conviction. He has also accused Armstrong of using drugs and of teaching others how to prevent detection.

When asked if he thought Armstrong was a fraud, Landis responded "if he didn't win the Tour, someone else that was doped would have won the Tour. In every single one of those Tours."

What is the impact of doping on sport? And how will Armstrong's decision impact his legacy?

To discuss this we are joined Dave Zirin, a sports writer for The Nation magazine; Alan Milstein, a sports attorney who has represented a number of athelets in bioethics disputes; and Grant Wahl, a senior Sports Illustrated writer.

"There comes a point in every man's life when he has to say "Enough is enough." For me, that time is now. I have been dealing with claims that I cheated and had an unfair advantage in winning my seven Tours since 1999. Over the past three years, I have been subjected to a two-year federal criminal investigation followed by Travis Tygart's unconstitutional witchhunt. The toll this has taken on my family, and my work for our foundation and on me leads me to where I am today – finished with this nonsense."

Lance Armstrong, US cycling legend

533

Source:
Al Jazeera
Topics in this article
People
Country
Featured on Al Jazeera
Swathes of the British electorate continue to show discontent with all things European, including immigration.
Astronomers have captured images of primordial galaxies that helped light up the cosmos after the Big Bang.
Critics assail British photographer's portrayal of indigenous people, but he says he's highlighting their plight.
As Western stars re-release 1980s charity hit, many Africans say it's a demeaning relic that can do more harm than good.
Featured
No one convicted after 58 people gunned down in cold blood in 2009 in the country's worst political mass killing.
While hosting the World Internet Conference, China tries Tiananmen activist for leaking 'state secrets' to US website.
Once staunchly anti-immigrant, some observers say the conservative US state could lead the way in documenting migrants.
NGOs say women without formal documentation are being imprisoned after giving birth in Malaysia.
Public stripping and assault of woman and rival protests thereafter highlight Kenya's gender-relations divide.
join our mailing list