LANCE ARMSTRONG and the culture of BULLYING

Personally, I think the past situation in cycling – doping etc – is largely irrelevant in the scope of the world. Against the rules, yes, but individuals choosing to put stupid things in their own bodies? Not exactly a terrorist act or a drone that kills innocent citizens.

Lance Armstrong was a hero in this hero-worshipping world because he won seven Tours. Not because he came third or eighth, or fifty-second had he rode clean. It appears he could only have won them by doping. The races were literally un-winnable by a non-doper. Just check the modern times by clean cyclists. In my opinion, the attacks on him have been stunning, hypocritical, scathing, relentless, self-righteous and embarrassing, even if he is ring leader and a bully etc. The cycling institutions — UCI etc — want to say Armstrong no longer exists and so on. Like they didn’t know doping was pervasive? They soaked up the glory of this cycling fever, brought on by Armstrong and remarkable performances. And we may well be surprised how much our current heroes and the teams we insanely worship or have worshipped are juiced up.

So I ask this, in light of all the talk about bullying:

If Lance Armstrong kills himself, will bullying be blamed?

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5 Responses to “LANCE ARMSTRONG and the culture of BULLYING”

  1. Jason G says:

    I don’t think so. Yes, I agree with everything you said. But he did bask in his own glory and consistently denied cheating and bullied those who suggested otherwise. Are we all looking for scapegoats to heap our collective guilt on? It would seem so. But they were *trying* to catch Armstrong (and others) at the time of his success. It’s not like baseball, where they weren’t even testing. Armstrong lied and lied and lied and now got caught. He made his own bed, didn’t he?

  2. Hey J,

    I don’t disagree with any of the Lance Armstrong accusations either: cheater, bully, etc. I’m just amazed by the relentless vitriol of the attacks by fans and the cycling legislative bodies. To me, it’s a huge matrix. Personally, I can’t name anybody who finished second, third, or anything else. Also, he basked in his glory, but the world also loved to bask in his glory (there must be some great Christian aphorism here, for not putting men before God). Still, to me these attacks seem horrifically self-righteous (we are a species that witch hunts, after all), even though he, as you said, made his own bed. And, of course, in my way, I always find my libertarian instincts kick in. Doping is done to oneself, largely—particularly in a culture of doping. He wasn’t the lone doper winning because of that. But who knows? Just a few thoughts.

    There was some crazy poll taken years ago, where a significant portion of Olympic athletes would be willing (I can’t recall exactly) to die in five years if they could win a gold medal. Ironically, perhaps, as head honcho of the doping ring, with that intensity, it’s no surprise he’s head honcho of the denial ring. It’s very Shakespearean.

  3. Jason G says:

    [sorry, Pete, I forgot to check back in for your response]

    Shakespearean, indeed. Many worshipped at the idol of Lance Armstrong for years.

    I suspect we’re on the same page. I haven’t been exposed to the vitriol. The coverage I’ve seen has seemed pretty fair. So I think we’re reacting to different things. A Christian response, I would think, would be lament, wouldn’t it? Lament that another person would sell their integrity for glory. It’s an old story, repeated millions of times. No one pays more than the person involved.

    And I sympathize with your libertarian thoughts. There’s a great documentary called Bigger, Faster, Stronger* that calls out America’s double standard on this. So many narratives actually promote the use of body-enhancing drugs. (Take Captain America, for example.) I recommend the film.

    Take care,

  4. Jason G says:

    I wonder if bullying and attacks on Lance Armstrong, like you describe, is another form of scapegoating violence.

    I’ve been researching Rene Girard’s ideas and they certainly fit:

    http://www.cbc.ca/ideas/episodes/2011/02/28/the-scapgoat-rene-girards-anthropology-of-violence-and-religion/

  5. Karen says:

    Just a thought. How sad that so many truly outstanding unenhanced proformances have been lost to the fans, religated to the list of “average” performances.

    And now, will all truly outstanding performances, in any sport, be suspect?

    *sigh*

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