|"I never failed a drug test" - chant this to keep Tink alive!|
The USADA reports in detail how not only did riders use banded substances and practices but also coordinated their use at the team and cross-team level. (The report, affidavits, and complete details are available at the USADA site.)
At first I am sure many believed Armstrong was merely a "target" because of his success. I was never a fan but I believe that he should not be treated unfairly.
As this unwinds however, with some dozen statements by various witnesses it would seem that there is little doubt Armstrong at absolute best knew what was wrong and did nothing.
What's interesting is that Armstrong's statements to the effect of "never having failed a drug test" remain true.
Unfortunately it would appear that he ran an organization which in many cases conducted active efforts to ensure that this was always the case, e.g., being injected with saline solutions 20 minutes prior to a test to dilute banned substances sufficiently so the test would be successful.
There's a long and sorry trail of money, affidavits, soigneurs (team assistants), payments, texts, Italian doctors, and so forth that corroborate this state of affairs in excruciating detail.
What sort of message does all this send?
I guess it says, hey win winning means everything we'll cheat right along with everyone else.
Success is no longer built on character and Lance Armstrong and the USPS team are no exception.
In the 1970's, as I have written before, the "GDR" (East German) women's swimming team did the same thing - doped. The US women could not beat them and, instead of doping as well (as far as I know) rode things out until the dopers were removed from the sport.
But things are much, much different today.
There are no longer "amateurs" in sports - only "soon-to-be professionals" who will stop at no cost to win.
"For evil to triumph its only necessary for good men to do nothing."
This quote pretty much covers it for this topic.
Its sad that our world has come to this and no doubt the cost of funding the USADA comes ultimately from honest tax payers pockets.
I suppose that Lance Armstrong and the USPS team are now just a small footnote in the giant US Treasury debt.
Lance Armstrong himself must still believe in Tinkerbell (to keep things going you just keep chanting "I never failed a drug test...").
This is another example where morality would keep things on the right track.
Its simply immoral to win by cheating - regardless of whether or not you get caught.
And while its human nature to be lured into situations such as the one described in the affidavits where the USPS cyclists are repeatedly beaten by other doping teams its what you choose to do about it that matter.