Did Lance Armstrong Take Drugs to Improve Performance?

Did Lance Armstrong Take Drugs to Improve Performance?

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Seven-time winner of the Tour de France, Lance Armstrong is a hero to many that have supported him over the years.  His miraculous ability to not only survive cancer, but to go on to winning the most coveted cycling race in the world, not just once, but seven times has made him a favorite for the many fans that have supported him.


Lance has been a role model of hope, determination and hard work for those that have had struggles in their lives and have almost given up.  Not only has Lance become a legend in the sport of cycling, but he has created one of the most successful not-for-profits in the world.  His foundation has raised millions for the support of those living with cancer.


Years ago, there were some rumblings that Lance had used the blood-booster, EPO, which is banned by the Association, to help him win the Tour de France. His tests came out negative and the issue was largely dropped, until recently, when Tyler Hamilton accused Lance of using the drugs on "60 Minutes". Now, it seems that Lance is back in the limelight, not for his charitable contributions or his dating life, but for being a potential fraud.


Tyler Hamilton, a fellow team mate of Lance Armstrong who on the U.S. Postal team with him and who has admitted that he used EPO to sharpen his performance has recently come out saying that he saw Armstrong inject himself with the banned blood booster EPO.  Armstrong tweeted to his fans in response, failing to note that drug testing is more stringent now than it was when he started out.  "Never failed a test. I rest my case."


I was fortunate to work on the Chicago Committee for Lance's foundation, just before he started his yellow rubber bracelet campaign in 2004.  Then real estate developer, Chris Carley, a cancer survivor himself, was active in the Chicago LAF team. I worked for Chris Carley and hosted two LAF events called, The Bike to Fight Cancer.  Lance even came to Chicago to meet and ride with large donors the first year.  He was an impressive figure with a smile that made you melt.


Sheryl Crow was his girlfriend at the time.  His wildly popular yellow rubber bracelets were released, which would start a rubber bracelet trend for charitable organizations for years to come, and Lance kept winning the Tour de France.  His foundation raised millions of dollars in a year and everyone, it seems, was wearing a yellow bracelet; a true success story.


Let's fast forward to the year 2011, with Armstrong being under scrutiny, once again, for "doping" during competition.  If found guilty of using EPO, he would be the third Tour de France cyclist to have had used blood enhancing drugs to win the race, along with Tyler Hamilton and Floyd Landis, who say they saw Armstrong use the stuff before their very eyes.


Should we care if Armstrong used the drugs?  Should the U.S. tax payers pay to investigate?  Should Lance be taken off our pedestal as our hero of "winning against all odds"?  Or, should we just leave his victories alone and allow him to keep his championships?  What do you think?



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