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The Saratoga Falcon

The Saratoga Falcon

Armstrong deserves Tour titles

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Many recognize Lance Armstrong as one of the most inspirational U.S. athletes to ever compete in a professional sport. Armstrong is an icon who won seven Tour de France titles, despite being diagnosed with testicular cancer in October of 1996.

His demeanor, confidence and personal struggles gave the public an admirable figure to idolize. However, Armstrong was also unfairly accused of blood doping, a practice in which athletes add blood fluid to their body to increase muscle ability, hindering his ability to imbue people with hope.

Starting in the latter part of his cycling career, many teammates, journalists and close friends often claimed that Armstrong doped before races and even during races to stay ahead of the rivaling competition.

Consequently, Armstrong faced a barrage of personal attacks that he would eventually endure for years. But this August, Armstrong surrendered to the accusations, and United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) took away his seven Tour de France titles, Olympic bronze medal and many other awards he received during his career.

The punishments are excessively severe and are destroying Armstrong’s long-standing reputation, taking away his ability to kindle hope in others who shared his struggles. In addition to  all seven career Tour de France titles, Armstrong also lost the right to ever compete in another professional sporting event again. All the hard work, time and effort put into training and competition were simply erased in a few words.

Many may say Armstrong was a consistent doper who showed many signs of drug use, but Armstrong was never proven guilty. There was speculation in the air and accusations fired back and forth. But in the many years this investigation went on, not one agency or organization was able to prove him guilty.

Though many may think the reason that Armstrong surrendered to the charges was that he realized he couldn’t win, Armstrong said that he just wanted to stop all the conspiracies and come away without having to fight an extended battle with USADA.

In terms of evidence for his innocence, ESPN has cited that Armstrong passed over 500 blood tests without testing positive in any of them.

Armstrong, a man with staggering influence on the American people and a man never proven guilty, should always be remembered as one of the greatest American athletes to ever compete, and not for the unproven allegations against him.

“I know who won those seven Tours, the toughest event in the world where the strongest man wins. Nobody can ever change that,” Armstrong said in an interview taken by People Magazine.

 

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