Our heroes, one by one, fall back to earth. The Black Sox, Pete Rose, Mark McGuire, Barry Bonds, Joe Paterno, and now, Lance Armstrong. As an avid bicyclist, I always felt I could ride just a little bit faster and a little bit harder when I was wearing my Lance Armstrong U.S. Postal Service bicycle helmet. But Lance's decision to throw down the gauntlet and relinquish his seven Tour de France medals, his Olympic gold medals, as well as to accept a lifetime ban from cycling is a crushing blow to all of us who held him up as a paragon of athletic inspiration. Make no mistake about it--Lance's language that he is voluntarily withdrawing the battle, because of the stress to his family and lawyer's fees were in response to an avalanche of circumstantial evidence from a long list of credible witnesses - many of whom were his friends and teammates. Lance did test positive for EPO, a blood booster, but the tests were inadmissable because of lapses in the chain of custody of the specimens. And other tests came up negative. But the testing labs themselves¬†begrudgingly¬†admit that their tests can't catch everyone, especially savvy athletes whose entourage supply them with masking agents that specifically block a positive test. The criminal court analogy is that many capital crimes are successfully prosecuted based on a plethora of circumstantial evidence, even in the absence of any person actually witnessing the crime in progress. And unlike the Roger Clemens case, in which only one witness told a story of steroid use, the government put all its ducks (AKA witnesses) in a row for Armstrong. In short, there were just too many credible witnesses with first hand knowledge for Lance to fight. So how do we reconcile the wonderful tale of Lance overcoming testicular cancer to dominate bicycling for years and start various charitable endeavors? In short, we're going to have to. Yes, Lance overcame cancer. And yes, he was a role model in many ways outside of athletics. But he made an unethical choice which hurt other athletes and the sport of cycling in general. Lance's "no more" was the court equivalent of a 'nolo contendere' (no contest) plea. In other sports news, we're launching a new breakthrough eye vitamin that would have passed the scrutiny of the International Cycling Federation - R.B.I. Vision Performance - and it is guaranteed to be free of banned substances by the Banned Substances Control Group. It will boost athletic vision performance. The patent application is already on file with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. -- Paul Krawitz, M.D., President and C.E.O. Vitamin Science, Inc.
Say it ain't so, Lance......Armstrong throws in the towel
- by Dr. Paul Krawitz
- 31 August, 2012