Lance Armstrong appears finally to have run out of rope. (Read 2696 times)

    The fact Armstrong didn't fail any drug tests means nothing. Marion Jones said the same thing for years, until she got caught lying (in the BALCO case---also lied to the Feds about a check fraud scheme 3 years later--went to jail for both). Same with Barry Bonds. Both he and Jones were just successful at beating drug tests, which is what the designer drugs and schedules they were on were designed to do. 

     

    Armstrong and his lawyers have always spun it that he was the victim of a witch hunt, just as Marion Jones did, just as Barry Bonds did. I don't think these anti-doping authorities have personal vendettas against athletes. Bonds' use was exposed by the BALCO case, and like Jones,  admitted to taking what he thought was flax seed oil (very, very expensive flax seed oil). As athletes, both Jones and Bonds (especially Bonds) were examples of standard deviation. From Age 35-39, Bonds was a better hitter over a four year stretch then anyone had been in history at any age in a sport where nearly all players skills diminished from age 35 on---hitting an average of 52 home runs (73 one year), .350 batting, 110 RBI's----all while being walked an average of 188 times a year (walks don't count as an at bat). This extreme standard deviation was in relationship to the mean of not only the entire league and the entire history of baseball, but also to his career stats prior to age 35. This made logical thinking people very suspicious. Their suspicions were correct.

     

    Marion Jones was the first female track athlete to win 5 medals in a single Olympics, winning the 100m by 2/10ths of a second in a race that is usually decided by 1/100ths of a second. This made some suspicious, and when her husband, CJ Hunter, failed drug tests, this increased suspicion. She denied, denied, denied, with "I never failed a test" as her main defense. Again, people's suspicions were proven correct.

     

    Armstrong's streak of Tour De France wins by large margins would naturally make some people suspicious at some point. Still, without any failed drug tests and with the possibility that he was just the Secretariat of bike racing, the anti-doping authorities couldn't nail him, despite their apparent suspicion.

     

    Whether it's fair or not, if someone shows such a marked deviation from the norm, they get attention. The person who is average doesn't. Babe Ruth was a "freak" in his time. Take a look at his accomplishments (especially home runs) compared to those around him and you'll see one monster of an athlete. But he did it in a time when drugs weren't an issue. There was no suspicion. These days,  if you're clean and deviate too far from the norm, you will be under suspicion. It's the times we live in. We know that some athletes are doping.

     

    Suspicion is not enough to find someone guilty, though. Jones' and Bonds' use was exposed by evidence (only prosecuted for lying or obstructing justice) presented by the Feds. Lance Armstrong has been nailed by over a dozen witnesses. Do all of the witnesses have an ax to grind with LA and thus lied to take him down? Probably not. Do all of the witnesses stand to gain something from testifying against him? Probably not. Is the mission of the USADA  a nefarious one? They want to destroy careers? I don't think they want to take down anyone for personal reasons. I'm sure they'd prefer everyone to be clean and that all the accomplishments and victories of American athletes stand up to scrutiny. Each time they take medals away from an American, it just adds to the perception that we as a country are a bunch of cheaters and "any-means-to-an-end" maniacs.  Armstrong was good for the country. He was a symbol of hope and perseverance. Why would they want to destroy that?

    log   prs      Crusted Salt comic #142

     


    A Dance with Monkeys

      Armstrong was good for the country. He was a symbol of hope and perseverance. Why would they want to destroy that?

       

      The terrorists would.

       

      Just sayin.

        Cheevers:

         

        Sally Jenkins wrote Armstrong's biography so she's got every reason to promote him and continue to promote him as a good guy.

         

        http://fraudbytes.blogspot.com/2012/08/lance-armstrong-investigation-is-usada.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=twitter&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+Fraudbytes+%28FraudBytes%29

         

        Nobby, 

         

        With all due respect to you and your opinions, which have always been the most interesting, I don't believe that Sally Jenkins wrote the piece as part of an effort to make money with Armstrong in the future.  I read the Post daily and she is an honest, straightforward journalist (and she acknowledges her connection to Lance very early in that article).  She has earned my respect just as you have, over time and through repetition.  (As an aside, Penn State's Joe Paterno gave Jenkins his last interview because of her vocal support.  She joined his family for dinner wrote a very sympathetic account of his story, but upon release of the Freeh report told her editors "I think I've got to write that he lied.")  

         

        I also agree 100% with what she wrote, despite the fact that a couple of accountants disagree and called her names for expressing her opinion.  It's fascinating to me how quickly people turn to insults and personal attacks on this issue.  And for all their indignation claiming that Jenkins' made up facts, the Fraudbytes article has its own errors and is a perpetuation of a very vocal segment of the population that viscerally wants to see Armstrong punished.  

         

        For example, the accountants say that the evidence in the Contador case proved he was "almost certainly doping."  What?  The CAS opinion is long, but says that the more likely that the positive test was from accidental ingestion of a legal food supplement than doping.  Jenkins was absolutely correct.     

         

        There are two questions.  First, did Armstrong "agree" to the arbitration process, even its totally unfair?  It's a tough question but Judge Sparks said that, at least for now, yes. 

         

        Second, is the process fair?  The accountants say that "the judge ruled that the USADA's process would lead to a fair outcome."  Again, what?  Judge Sparks said that he had he had "serious questions" about USADA's motives" and that he has "serious doubts" that the arbitration would comport with due process unless USADA fixes its hopelessly vague charging document, but that he would assume USADA would fix that problem and it was otherwise too soon to say that the process would be unfair.  "Whether USADA will attempt to force Armstrong to arbitration against USA Cycling’s will, whether the USADA arbitrators will apply the rules reasonably if the matter does proceed to arbitration, and whether Armstrong will actually receive a fair hearing, are questions that remain to be answered . . ."  

         

        I would suggest to you Nobby that there are many reasons to believe that the head of USADA is pursuing this case for personal motives and not to "clean up" the sport.  Retroactively stripping Armstrong of titles and handing them to the likes of Ullrich and Basso?  Sorry.  I'm not convinced.  

          Well at least someone here is making relevance to the subject.

            I've never been able to follow ANY top-level professional sports because there seems to be such an overwhelming abundance of bad behavior and drug use at the very top...admittedly, it's only the bad apples that we hear about, but it's colored my attitude towards pro athletics.  People making obscene amounts of money and simultaneously being obscenely bad role models.  Law-breakers who often face no more than a slap on the wrist when they do things that would land the rest of us in jail.  I just can't get interested in any of it.

             

            In many ways, I enjoy high school sports and local races more than pro sports, because they don't have the huge corrupting influence of all that money.  That said, I enjoyed a lot of the Olympics, and want to believe that the athletes I watched were clean.

            Well at least someone here is making relevance to the subject.

              That's how I regard him.  Either he was clean and ridiculous, or he was (more likely) just leveling the playing field.  Either way, 7 in a row is ridiculous, especially after the cancer episode.  I can't think of many things more ludicrous than trying to go back in time to take titles from Lance and give them to some chump who just couldn't catch him.  

               

              It's for the sake of the "chumps" who played fair that we need to do this.

              Well at least someone here is making relevance to the subject.


              Needs more cowbell!

                In many ways, I enjoy high school sports and local races more than pro sports, because they don't have the huge corrupting influence of all that money.  That said, I enjoyed a lot of the Olympics, and want to believe that the athletes I watched were clean.

                 

                I am friends with a woman who is a pro endurance mountain biker (I believe her primary sponsors are Salsa and Twin Six, but she has a total of about a dozen sponsors).  She rides at an elite level, but still has a 9-5 job and she rides because she truly just loves to ride.  She'd ride even if she weren't winning races.  You can see it in her HUGE smile in EVERY friggin' race photo.  After a recent race (when I actually GAINED on her in a long downhill...ha, heavy bike and heavy me = gravity WIN.  As soon as we headed back up a grade she left me in her dust, heh) she and I were talking and she giggled about how she beat all the guys who did the same 6 hour race.  If you didn't know she were a pro you wouldn't guess it...she's just so friendly and approachable.  She frequently attends local kids' trail days and signs photos.  When she's not racing she's on the sidelines.  We talk her up a lot to our DS.  If he wants a sports hero to idolize, she's exactly the sort of athlete that we want him to emulate.

                 

                If all pros were like that we wouldn't even have a thread like this.

                 

                I think that's why the Olympics are about the only major televised sporting event that I have any interest in following...like you, I want to assume that the majority of them are there with pure intent.  I love watching local cycling stuff, too.  There's such a variety of skill levels on display, but there's rarely enough of a purse where it would be worth anyone's while to cheat and it's still really small potatoes stuff.

                 

                I don't know if that's the key to all of this...I don't know that lowering the financial stakes would change the atmosphere, but maybe it would.  Aside from the really big, high-profile "televised" sports it's often not particularly lucrative to be an athlete.  I've never felt like there was much middle-ground in terms of the money pros make...it's either obscene or it's not enough to actually live on.

                Kirsten - aka "Auntie Kirsten"

                '14 Goals:

                • 2 olympic distance duathlons -- 6 days apart -- PR at least 1

                • 130#s (and stay there, gotdammit!)

                    

                  I think that's why the Olympics are about the only major televised sporting event that I have any interest in following...like you, I want to assume that the majority of them are there with pure intent. 

                   

                  It's not.  

                  The Armstrong's, Johnson's, Jone's, Lewis's and were all Olympian's.

                  In a few years, we'll hear about the cheating from the 2012 Olympians that we admired and praised and cheered for just a couple weeks ago.

                  Until then, we'll assume that they're clean.

                   

                  (I certainly think that the there are some sports where there's very few cheaters).

                  2014 Goals:

                  #1: Do what I can do. <DOING>

                  #2: 365 Hours training

                   


                  Needs more cowbell!

                    It's not.  

                    The Armstrong's, Johnson's, Jone's, Lewis's and were all Olympian's.

                    In a few years, we'll hear about the cheating from the 2012 Olympians that we admired and praised and cheered for just a couple weeks ago.

                    Until then, we'll assume that they're clean.

                     

                    (I certainly think that the there are some sports where there's very few cheaters).

                     

                    You missed where I said majority.  Clearly 100% of them are not there to uphold the intent of the games.  I adored FloJo (I was running the same events as a teenager that she was running in the Olympics)...but there was a lot of suspicion behind her achievements.  When she died at 38 there was suspicion that her seizure was the result of damage to her body from earlier abuse of PEDs.

                    Kirsten - aka "Auntie Kirsten"

                    '14 Goals:

                    • 2 olympic distance duathlons -- 6 days apart -- PR at least 1

                    • 130#s (and stay there, gotdammit!)

                      You missed where I said majority.  Clearly 100% of them are not there to uphold the intent of the games.  I adored FloJo (I was running the same events as a teenager that she was running in the Olympics)...but there was a lot of suspicion behind her achievements.  When she died at 38 there was suspicion that her seizure was the result of damage to her body from earlier abuse of PEDs.

                       

                      Actually, I didn't miss it.  The same athletes you see as professionals in sports during the regular year are there performing during the games.

                      Basketball is obvious (dream team).  
                      But, if you follow track and field, the same guys running the world championship are performing in the Olympics.

                      Same with Soccer, Tennis, Triathlon, Swimming, Diving....

                      They're the same people.  The "professionals" are professionals and will do what it takes to stay there.

                       

                      I can't imagine that archery has many steroid abusers.... Maybe alcohol or something else, but I doubt that in a few years we'll hear about the archery scandal from the 2012 Olympics.

                       

                      We don't get to enjoy the heat races.  We watch the finals.

                      That's where the abusers are.

                      2014 Goals:

                      #1: Do what I can do. <DOING>

                      #2: 365 Hours training

                       


                      Ostrich runner

                        I knew he didn't have the ball to take them on.

                        http://www.runningahead.com/groups/Indy/forum

                          It's for the sake of the "chumps" who played fair that we need to do this.

                           

                          That might make sense in baseball or football, but not cycling.  Here are the riders who would default into the 7 titles:  Alex Zulle (admitted using EPO); Jan Ullrich (suspended 2 years for doping); Joseba Beloki (held out of 2006 in doping investigation but later cleared); Andreas Kloden (accused of illegal blood transfusions and team accused of systemic doping from 1995-2005); Ivan Basso (suspended 2 years for doping).  

                           

                          Actually, I retract the word "chumps."  Here is what Fernando Escartin, who finished third in 1999, said:

                           

                          "For me, Lance Armstrong remains the 1999 Tour winner, second (Alex) Zulle and third, me," the now-retired Escartin told Reuters.

                          "It's 13 years now since this all happened. It seems completely illogical and unreal. I don't want to even think about it."

                           

                          Now that is an honorable response.  

                             

                            I can't imagine that archery has many steroid abusers.... Maybe alcohol or something else, but I doubt that in a few years we'll hear about the archery scandal from the 2012 Olympics.

                             

                             

                            Don't bet on it.  Archers and shooters use beta-blockers to limit tremors and calm nerves.  Big scandal in 2008 Beijing Olympics.  

                              Nobby, 

                               

                              With all due respect to you and your opinions, which have always been the most interesting, I don't believe that Sally Jenkins wrote the piece as part of an effort to make money with Armstrong in the future.  I read the Post daily and she is an honest, straightforward journalist (and she acknowledges her connection to Lance very early in that article).  She has earned my respect just as you have, over time and through repetition.  (As an aside, Penn State's Joe Paterno gave Jenkins his last interview because of her vocal support.  She joined his family for dinner wrote a very sympathetic account of his story, but upon release of the Freeh report told her editors "I think I've got to write that he lied.")  

                               

                              I also agree 100% with what she wrote, despite the fact that a couple of accountants disagree and called her names for expressing her opinion.  It's fascinating to me how quickly people turn to insults and personal attacks on this issue.  And for all their indignation claiming that Jenkins' made up facts, the Fraudbytes article has its own errors and is a perpetuation of a very vocal segment of the population that viscerally wants to see Armstrong punished.  

                               

                              For example, the accountants say that the evidence in the Contador case proved he was "almost certainly doping."  What?  The CAS opinion is long, but says that the more likely that the positive test was from accidental ingestion of a legal food supplement than doping.  Jenkins was absolutely correct.     

                               

                              There are two questions.  First, did Armstrong "agree" to the arbitration process, even its totally unfair?  It's a tough question but Judge Sparks said that, at least for now, yes. 

                               

                              Second, is the process fair?  The accountants say that "the judge ruled that the USADA's process would lead to a fair outcome."  Again, what?  Judge Sparks said that he had he had "serious questions" about USADA's motives" and that he has "serious doubts" that the arbitration would comport with due process unless USADA fixes its hopelessly vague charging document, but that he would assume USADA would fix that problem and it was otherwise too soon to say that the process would be unfair.  "Whether USADA will attempt to force Armstrong to arbitration against USA Cycling’s will, whether the USADA arbitrators will apply the rules reasonably if the matter does proceed to arbitration, and whether Armstrong will actually receive a fair hearing, are questions that remain to be answered . . ."  

                               

                              I would suggest to you Nobby that there are many reasons to believe that the head of USADA is pursuing this case for personal motives and not to "clean up" the sport.  Retroactively stripping Armstrong of titles and handing them to the likes of Ullrich and Basso?  Sorry.  I'm not convinced.  

                              Cheevers:

                               

                              Point taken.  To be honest with you, I don't even know who this Sally Jenkins woman is but, guilty as charged, I read the other "blog" and sort of jumped--in fact, after posting my comment, I went back and checked his "biography" and couldn't fine her name but I had to go to our friend's wedding reception so I just let it be.

                               

                              Actually, I don't want to be on one side or the other on this kind of topic.  In a way, I feel that I probably know, whether I like it or not, more about the dark side of the sport than most.  It really is a sad, sad, sad situation and, my stance is that it should be cleaned.  At this point, it's probably next to impossible to actually "clean it" but we should NEVER stop the effort.  Of course even what I think I know is nothing more than an opinion or somebody else's opinion.  Hard evidence?  None; at least none that I can see or hold up.  It's probably the same with USADA or WADA or USATF or whatever.  We just don't know...unfortunately.  But your point of "...pursuing this case for personal motives and not to 'clean up' the sport..." can be directed to people on the other as well.  

                               

                              I happen to have a few people who had been "busted".  As wrong as they were, it's not like I dropped them to be their friends just because they got caught.  Particularly one of them...actually two...  I feel like, yeah, I can see why they did it.  And these small guys (well, one wasn't that small but...) got caught and those with "systematic" operations most likely to get away.  Well, it's about time that it's not the case any more.  And if it takes a corrupted organization with a tyrant with political ambition, well, so be it.

                               

                              By the way, personally, I didn't find Escartin's comment honorable at all.  What do you think Frank Shorter's reaction would be if Cierpinski said; "Oh, come on, Frank!  It was 36 years ago; why don't you just drop it...?"