At the very outset, let me tell you,I am too confused and perplexed if I am right about the title that I have chosen for this post. I have no doubts about the "Epic Fall", but I am quite bewildered about the word "legend" and its appropriateness when woven along with Lance Armstrong. Its not about a sportsman being kicked out on account of doping, its about the disgrace and defacing of a persona who has been the face of a sport for a long time.
Lance Armstrong was a Goliath of the cycling arena in every sense. Franky putting it, there was a time when cycling meant Lance to me. I didn't know it was a team event, I didn't know he was part of a big team. It appeared to me as a one man show just like tennis or golf. I won't blame it completely on my ignorance, media is one big accomplice who convinced me that cycling is all about Lance. Every year I used to follow Tour de France through newspapers and there was only one name I could find. Later I stopped following it due to the boredom that blossomed within me due to the monotonicity of seeing the same name every time.With every year, my admiration for him scaled new heights. Few years back, I came to know that he was a cancer survivor and that too a case, even doctors had written off. I became his fan, even though I never saw any of his races. I assumed him to be another Sachin Tendulkar with stupendous and enviable character, on and off field.
Controversies have always wrapped sporting legends and some have remained as ineffaceable blots on their very character. It seemed Maradona had addictions to things other than football and Tiger was indeed a crouching tiger on many fields, golf course being only one among them. But Lance Armstrong was not just a sporting legend , he exemplified many ideals, he was an inspiration to a morally decadent society. Its not about a fling or a drug fantasy, but much more beyond that. When the consistent and shamelessly professional and organized fabric of doping cosmos came into daylight, the damage had already been done. When it comes to Lance, it doesn't end in pulling down billboards or tearing down advertisement posters, He stood as the embodiment of human resilience and determination , replacing a symbol is not as simple as defacing an idol.
The USADA report on the doping and subsequent actions taken by the UCI have in fact not only jeopardized whatever Lance Armstrong had, which includes his profession, personal life and his legacy; but also put fans like me in a rather dis trusty waters. You are not in a position to stand for him because you know he was callously cheating the whole world or at least took an active part in the whole doping saga. Its hard to hate him because more than his sporting legacy, he has indeed inspired a generation which include sportsmen like Yuvraj Singh and many more. He quit the LiveStrong Foundation, but that doesn't do any good, I completely fail to see a rejuvenated Foundation growing out of its ashes . UCI clearly washed off their hands saying Lance Armstrong has been erased from the cycling history while it was their clear cut duty to clean the sport of all the nonsense when it was being held, not years later. You can rewrite the record books, but its hard to tear off the image of a man in yellow jersey who pumped his fists as he crossed the finishing line.
Talking about the man himself, Lance must have had a stone cold heart to endure his cancer treatments and also to systematically fool the global audience for so many years. I can only hope that we would never end up having such people who not only shame themselves, but their fans and followers as well who end up finding a tough recoup.