News: Lance Armstrong: Ex-inspiration

Photo Credit: puliarf from Flickr

Lance Armstrong cycling at the 2009 Tour of California.

Lance Armstrong, the seven-time winner of the Tour de France cycling competition, was recently stripped of his titles and banned from cycling competition for life because of evidence of steroid use.

Armstrong, who had denied using steroid for years, has been accused of using the blood booster EPO, blood transfusions, and testosterone, in what was known to be a doping scheme.

The investigation of Armstrong’s steroid use had been progressing for years, as Armstrong repeatedly denied the accusations and claimed to have taken multiple drug tests. Finally, after all the years, the USADA sent an over 1000 page document to the International Cycling Union, which included a report from twenty six witnesses, 11 of whom were Armstrong’s former teammates.

Armstrong’s cancer foundation, Livestrong, has also been damaged because of the recent allegations.

A long-time contributor to Livestrong told CNN, “The charity was established and publicized and got their funds based on a fraud.”

Not only was his foundation damaged, but Armstrong also lost longtime sponsers such as Oakley sunglasses.

Christian Prudhomme, director of the Tour de France, wants Armstrong to repay any prize money for his championships, and wants the record books to be wiped clean, without any competitors winning the races that Armstrong won.

Armstrong’s alleged doping began in 1998, therefore before his seven wins, and was accomplished through several discrete tactics to trick drug testers, including methods of a fraudulent prescription, hiding behind locked doors, self-testing blood, and paying large sums of money for doctors to direct a doping plan.

President Pat McQuaid of the International Cycling Union stated that “Lance Armstrong has no place in cycling…he deserves to be forgotten”.

With Armstrong’s hero status destroyed, the strength of drug testing for sports in our nation has come into question.

Many companies such as Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative (BALCO), who are responsible for distributing these steriods to famous sports figures such as Barry Bonds, claim that the blame falls on the inadequate drug testing of sports companies.

Victor Conte, the mastermind of BALCO, believes that the sports industry does not have enough of a sophisticated Carbon Isotope Ratio test to test the levels of testosterone in one’s body.

According to Conte, the most potent drug for power and speed is testosterone. The cunning ways in which Armstrong avoided prosecution for so many years brings into questions whether or not these tests are strong or effective enough.