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Should Lance Armstrong have been stripped of his 7 titles?

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Should Lance Armstrong have been stripped of his 7 titles?

Postby Lawrence on Mon Nov 12, 2012 6:49 pm

I am not one who believes for the moment that Lance Armstrong is innocent. It is clear that he was drugging up to the limit allowed by the rules/tests (in the same way the Red Bull's front wings bend). What bothers me is that they have stripped them of his seven titles but do not feel that they can award them to anyone else....because they might have (or probably were) also drugging. That sort of the opens up the question, if they cannot determine who might of fairly won the race.....then......


Anyhow, just wondering, if drugging was the norm at the time (which I gather was the case), then what is the basis for punishing the most successful druggist?
"To explain the lure of speed you would have to explain human nature; but it is easier understood than explained...Speed is the second oldest animal craving in our nature..." -- T. E. Lawrence
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Re: Should Lance Armstrong have been stripped of his 7 title

Postby f1datavis on Mon Nov 12, 2012 9:10 pm

Well, yes, he should be stripped of the titles. No matter if it was the "norm", it was definitely against the rules and therefore they knew they were doing wrong.

He has won millions of dollars by committing a fraud. That is not just wrong, but in some specific cases probably criminal. He will be lucky to stay out of jail. You bet he should be stripped of the titles.

Besides, cycling has to get clean. Making the downfall of Armstrong horrible, painful and humiliating almost has to occur to make sure that no one even thinks about doping. Don't make it worth it.
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Re: Should Lance Armstrong have been stripped of his 7 title

Postby Ciro Pabón on Tue Nov 13, 2012 3:10 am

I can understand Armstrong fans feeling torn between the admiration they may feel for the will he displayed and the hard time they have recognizing he cheated.

However, I've seen the same happen here, in the country where I live, with fans of "successful" drug lords: fans of people like the Cali Cartel, who boasted they never killed anyone who wasn't a direct menace to them.

Some guys around me (still!) think they deserve a different treatment, because, you know, they weren't that bad.

If you compare them with the other guys, like Pablo Escobar, they were angels: they did the same as Mr. Escobar, but with more diligence and more discretion.

Would you believe this guy controlled half the drug market in US? He seems inoffensive (and acted very cleverly): he boasted he was called "the chess player". Does he deserve a different sentence?
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I guess you can reach your own conclusions about my position in life, in view of that simile.

So, I have to declare I find curious the position of "taking drugs up to the limit allowed by tests".

It reminds me of a famous (or infamous) phrase by Colombian President (right before many in this country, following his advice, entered the nightmare of leniency with crime): "... to reduce corruption to his proper proportions".

Contrasting with Armstrong fans, that lament today how his hero is being mistreated and are calling the odds on how to deal with widespread indignity in cyclism, there are guys who always suspected Armstrong and not because of his performance, but because of his attitude in a couple of key incidents.

Some people did not understand why people like Greg Lemond, great American cyclist, was not heard when he warned that Ferrari and Armstrong working together was not normal.

Some people, back then (2001), realized how fishy were Armstrong answers to Lemond subtle questions.

Greg Lemond, American world champion: he turned 50 a couple of years ago, and many people wished him a happy birthday
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Some people do not understand why guys like Christophe Bassons were treated as he was treated.

Perhaps you remember him: he was the ONLY guy in the Festina team that did not take drugs.

All his partners (a dozen of them!), caught red handed by French police, were unanimous: Christopher did not use drugs.

That is odd in itself, but odder is the way Armstrong treated the guy. That was a red herring, back in 1999.

Bassons, the odd guy
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Here you have (in French) an article I still cannot forget (called "The sadness hit") in which Basson described how Armstrong nagged him because he was against the "intimacy of riders" and how Armstrong said to him to "quit cycling". He had to.

His sin? To denounce widespread doping in the Tour de France.

Years later he was "reinstated" by the same people that finished his career. Bassons ended as cycling professor and (many years later) as Belgian minister for sport and youth.

So, the lesson?

Guys, let's never give an inch, even if "everybody does it".

Crime definitely pays (in money).

In what crime does not pay is in what you feel (and in what you make other people feel).

This means that we should talk about Armstrong in the harshest of terms, doesn't it?

Well, I think we shouldn't.

I don't know if Armstrong should be striped of anything: I do not want to feel angry with myself, that's my guiding light in life.

Then, why I should be angry with a guy like Lance Armstrong, someone I haven't even met?

I believe that revenge, people, is not sane. It's not (I think) what Armstrong deserves, it is what he's got.

He never won those titles and he knows it. That's his punishment. There is no greater one.

In the end, right before death hits, you're alone with yourself. Then you can feel that hole in your stomach or you may not. It's up to you.
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Re: Should Lance Armstrong have been stripped of his 7 title

Postby Paul on Fri Nov 16, 2012 3:00 pm

Personally I believe it was just one more absurd Witch Hunt, which seems to be the IN thing at the moment, and shameful in itself, for the most part.
In all sports they push the rules to the limits just a they do in F1 etc.
It seems very clear to me that they were all, with possibly only a few exceptions, taking drugs/enhancers, within the limits of the rules at that time.
That's no foul in my book, and its a travesty to reduce Armstrong from -Hero in so many ways - to a public disgrace, just to please a few Idiot Chanting Villagers with torches ranting "Hang Him" .
Its no better than a lynching , a ducking stool, or being burned at the stake.
Did he break the rules AT THE TIME ? No he didn't. DId he get his championships AT THE TIME legally? Yes he did.
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Re: Should Lance Armstrong have been stripped of his 7 title

Postby Lawrence on Fri Nov 16, 2012 6:38 pm

You know...if they stripped him of his titles and awarded them to someone deserving who did not drug...I would have no problem with that. On the other hand.....apparently drugging was so rampant at the time that they don't know who they can fairly give the titles to! So, what becomes the basis for stripping one drugging biker of his titles if everyone else was also doing the same thing...and they clearly had to do it to be competitive !!!

It all seems very odd.
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Re: Should Lance Armstrong have been stripped of his 7 title

Postby f1datavis on Fri Nov 16, 2012 9:40 pm

My answer would be what basically has happened - the tour effectively didn't happen those years. If everyone blatantly and extravagantly cheats, using a method that is seriously dangerous to the health of the participants, then yes - no winner, effectively no competition.

The corollary in F1 would not be technical infringements like flexiwings or illegal fueling; but the Renault/Piquet/Singapore incident. The reason doping is banned is that it a race to the death - once a little is allowed, athletes lives a put in horrendous danger.

If every crash, spin and off in F1 was not a mistake or error but deliberate ploys to put people in advantageous positions, then the sport during that period is basically a sham that further rolled the dice on drivers, spectators and marshals live. It should be forgotten.

The sad fact is that all of Armstrong's efforts, all his good deeds, everything he has achieved off the track as well of on it are now dismissed due to the fact that he is obviously a scumbag. He didn't just take drugs; oh no, he bullied, cajouled and enforced others to take them as well.

He doesn't warrant the finger trouble harrying my keyboard to opine on it.

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Re: Should Lance Armstrong have been stripped of his 7 title

Postby Mike SV on Sun Nov 18, 2012 1:23 am

Yes, he should.

That's just another example of how the widespread doping have completely dominated sports.

There were always the doubt hanging over Lance. But contrary to Floyd Landis he got away from it, at first. Armstrong's case reminds Marion Jones. She too was a champion and probably the biggest American female athlete when I was about 10-11 years old, also earning big sponsorship money at the time. She was also caught way after her prime in the sport after all the glory and the limelight was not on her anymore.

But the matters go deeper and darker to the point that we start to see how the overall high-performance doping control (worldwide, with Olympics included) is a complete joke.

We live in a time where great athletes achieve greater and greater results. Everybody's fascinated.

Will these great results still stand in a few years time? :confused:

I don't want to point any names or any fingers towards anybody, specially coming from a country where doping runs free all over the professional (and their minor) leagues.

I think this movie from 2008 was an excellent portrait of doping in sports (Found tonight on a Brazilian link. Enjoy ;) )



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Re: Should Lance Armstrong have been stripped of his 7 title

Postby Ciro Pabón on Mon Nov 19, 2012 6:24 pm

I think Mike is right.

Without wanting to enter in a flame war, I fail to understand Paul and Lawrence positions.

If I understand correctly Paul's argument, he says Armstrong complied with regulations.

With all due respect I think that´s not true: you can prove that someone is doping by two means. One is by direct testing. Another is by confessions or testimonies of people. Armstrong fell by the second.

Lawrence claims that doping was widespread and the inability of Tour organizers to keep the competition clean means that you shouldn't punish Armstrong.

Some people (I hope I´m not the only one) understand this differently: to me, it means that Armstrong losing his titles also brings a larger problem.

It´s not if he should be stripped of titles. This is what he already got, in full agreement with regulations and after he exhausted all his legal options.

I think the people organizing the Tour should also be punished and expelled from the sport, for their inability to run a decent race.

As I said, I'm not in "vindictive" mode, as Paul claims. I couldn't care less about Armstrong or Tour organizers. I care about cycling.

So, I say organizers should be expelled specially in view of the confessions of Armstrong masseuse. She claims that even organizers helped to cover the tracks. Bassons claims that his whistle blowing was confronted by the same organizers that should have been keeping the Tour clean. I say both testimonies should be investigated and judged.

I ask only for regulations to be followed, no less, no more.
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Re: Should Lance Armstrong have been stripped of his 7 title

Postby Lawrence on Tue Nov 20, 2012 2:22 pm

Ciro Pabón wrote:Lawrence claims that doping was widespread and the inability of Tour organizers to keep the competition clean means that you shouldn't punish Armstrong.


If with a wink and a nod you have allowed certian behaviors to flourish (which does appear to be the case), then you can't really expect a competitor not to be competitive. This whole thing seems to a little after the fact, in that you have allowed the situation to slide out of control, the racers responded to it based upon what the regulations tested and what other riders were doing (I am avoiding drawing parallels to F1 here), and then suddenly....years later....you go tsk..tsk...how dare you.


I think the people organizing the Tour should also be punished and expelled from the sport, for their inability to run a decent race.


Now that will never happen now will it. It is easier to punish Armstrong.
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Re: Should Lance Armstrong have been stripped of his 7 title

Postby f1datavis on Wed Nov 21, 2012 11:25 am

I agree that the UCI has a major culpability in the whole thing, seemingly incapable of ending mass cheating, but if you think cyclists earning millions of dollars can just abrogate their responsibility for their actions, then you live in a very strange moral world.

When I was a kid, my parents thought very dimply of the "but everyone else was doing it" argument. Are you saying Armstrong is the moral equivalent of a child?

This is not a victim-less crime we are talking about, Armstrong bullied team members and cyclists new to the tour to take performance enhancing drugs and undertake blood doping. We had cyclists collapse and almost die due to being given the wrong blood bag.

You talk about Armstrong being stripped of his titles as wrong because the UCI wouldn't enforce against everyone else. I see it the other way round. His fall from grace is part of the UCI enforcing and discouraging future cheating. You can't have it both ways - either the do enforce the rules, or they do not. Which is it?
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Re: Should Lance Armstrong have been stripped of his 7 title

Postby Lawrence on Wed Nov 21, 2012 2:59 pm

If they create an environment where the only way a competitor is going to be competitive is to do drugs....and a large number of competitors are doing it....then what do you expect people to do?

This is the real world. As far as I can see, in every sport out there, the people push the rules up to the limit of what is enforced. I know of no professional sports where this limit is not pushed. If the sport of biking had reached the point where there was widespread, unenforced drugging, then what option have they left for any competitor?

It is not like he was racing a group of people who were clean.

(caveat: I do not actually know there was widespread drugging going on....but the bodies in charge themselves have already indicated that they were not going to award those seven titles to anyone else. The informal reason was that they could not guarentee that any of the runner-ups were drug free and other comments made by people have indicated that the whole thing was out of control at the time.)
Last edited by Lawrence on Wed Nov 21, 2012 3:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Should Lance Armstrong have been stripped of his 7 title

Postby Lawrence on Wed Nov 21, 2012 3:04 pm

f1datavis wrote:Are you saying Armstrong is the moral equivalent of a child?


I can't resist...the better side of me was going to let this line of argument slide by...but.....

All professional athletes are the moral equivilent of a child.

In a world where there are a billion people hungry, massive poverty, 20+ wars going on at any given time, vast exploitation of people and resources......then anyone who has decided his entire life and existance is riding a bike, kicking a ball, slapping a puck, or racing a car is fundamentally living a child-like existance.

Last night I heard a story from a dad who was coaching last season 10-13 years olds in American football. They created their classes by weight. His 10-year old son was in the 100 pound class. He had a 13-year old kid on his team that his parents had him loose 25 pounds before the season so he could be under 100 pounds. He immediately regained the weight. Now....this is not healthy, in fact, it is insanity. Yet this is what parents are doing for a kids league. So let me hear that higher morale ground Armstrong lecture again.
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Re: Should Lance Armstrong have been stripped of his 7 title

Postby f1datavis on Wed Nov 21, 2012 3:37 pm

That is really weird point - saying that athletes are child-like as they are not saving humanity from hunger is pretty disingenuous. By saying so, you imply you believe that human entertainment, leisure, the arts and culture in general has no value.

If that's true, I expect you to throw away your television, all your music, never listen to the radio and certainly never ever watch a play, read a book or attend a sporting event as otherwise you are spending time doing something that is not helping feed the poor or end a war.

Sounds a bit rubbish to me.
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Re: Should Lance Armstrong have been stripped of his 7 title

Postby Lawrence on Wed Nov 21, 2012 5:02 pm

Professional sports is about winning. They are trained from at least their teens to focus on winning. It is not a balanced or complete view of the world. So, if the regulations don't patrol for certain things...then what else do you expect these guys to do? What are they trained to do? What have they been raised to do?

Anyhow, it sounds like we are circling on the arguments, so this thread may have reached a dead end.
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Re: Should Lance Armstrong have been stripped of his 7 title

Postby f1datavis on Wed Nov 21, 2012 5:55 pm

Fair enough. To sum up, I believe even athletes "trained from a young age" are able to hold more than a single thing in their brains at on time. At least one of these things may be a moral code. They know what they did and can blame no-one other than themselves for their actions. Lance Armstrong is a poor human being.
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