There are cheaters, there are liars, and then there is Lance Armstrong. After more than a decade of vehemently denying blood doping and suing everyone who dared to speak up, Armstrong has finally been exposed as the biggest cheater of them all.
No athlete in history has ever cheated the system so methodically or behaved in such an unethical manner.
From a systematic doping program that never got caught to alleged bribery and lawsuits, Armstrong behaved like a bully and ruined lives in the process.
The fact that Lance Armstrong was never caught during any of his seven Tour de France victories is why the CEO of USADA, Travis Tygart, claims that Armstrong’s operation was the “most systematic doping scheme in sports.”
However, while there have been athletes who doped throughout their careers without testing positive, Armstrong stands out because of his prominent role in the operation.
The USADA report, released in October of last year, made it clear that Armstrong didn’t just dope, he pressured his teammates into doing the same.
According to NBC News, the report said of Armstrong that “it was not enough that his teammates give maximum effort on the bike, he also required that they adhere to the doping program outlined for them or be replaced.”
Armstrong didn’t simply sidestep doping allegations; he wanted us to believe that in an era where doping revelations were commonplace, he was the fastest riders of them all without needing any performance enhancing drugs.
In fact, he took every opportunity to reiterate that he was clean, going so far as to calling himself a miracle on the podium in 2005.
It’s one thing to cheat your way to the top, it’s another to go on CNN and claim that you’re the target of a smear campaign.
Now, Armstrong is trying to defend himself by saying that no generation was clean, but that’s just not working. We weren’t the ones who repeatedly defended your innocence, Lance. You were. We have the transcript.
The most damning allegation to come out of this scandal is that Armstrong paid the International Cycling Union (UCI) to cover up his positive doping test.
In Tyler Hamilton’s book, The Secret Race, he lays out how Armstrong called the president of UCI and the positive test never made the headlines.
However, according to Travis Tygart, Armstrong also tried to bribe USADA. Tygart told 60 Minutes that Armstrong was willing to make a $ 250,000 donation to the agency back in 2004.
Armstrong denied the claim in his Oprah Winfrey interview, but Tygart put out a statement reaffirming what he’d told earlier.
What truly puts Armstrong above the rest of the pack is that he could simply not let it go when someone was accusing him of cheating.
He sued the Sunday Times when they cast doubt upon Armstrong’s victories. Now they want their money back.
Suing your detractors seems like the appropriate move if you’re an innocent man, but considering that he knew that they were telling the truth, the decision borders on sociopathic.
Perhaps, the most shocking revelation is not that he sued journalists, but that he shunned his closest friends, and did everything he could to discredit them.
The most disappointing thing about the Lance Armstrong saga is that he couldn’t even deliver a proper apology.
In an infamous moment, Armstrong told Oprah that he called Betsy a "crazy bitch", but he "never called her fat". Not exactly the most deep-felt apology one could hope for.
Armstrong made a very shocking statement during the Oprah Winfrey interview; he claimed he was not using any banned substances during the 2009 and 2010 Tour de France.
This clashes with the USADA report, which says that Armstrong's blood samples from those years are consistent with continued use of blood doping.
Travis Tygart even brought it up again in one of his many 60 Minutes interviews, claiming that there is a "one to a million chance that it was due to something other than doping."
Armstrong better hope he is one of the lucky few. If he is trying to re-energize his Livestrong foundation or come back to the sport of cycling, he can't get caught in a lie like this.
If it's proven that he really was using performance enhancing drugs during his comeback, he will cement his reputation as a pathological liar.