I don’t know what everyone else’s take on Lance Armstrong has been, but I always thought his legacy has been a cancer survivor and major philanthropist. So stripping Armstrong of his seven titles is a non-factor for me. What he’s done to help others is his real legacy. Was it based on a lie, yes. Did the ends justify the means? For me, yes.
I followed the Tour de France from afar, but really didn’t care about Armstrong’s career on the bike. What he did to survive and then compete in one of the world’s major endurance events was, win or lose, remarkable. He parlayed his success into a successful charity organization, Livestrong, that has raised millions to help survivors who have to live with cancer. What athletes have done more for a cause?
I saw some doners are demanding their money back because their charity was based on a lie. I wonder what they were supporting? I will say, if you do get your money back, who are you punishing?
Now let me say, I had my suspecions of Armstrong using performance enhancing drugs. The sport was full of riders who were caught using PEDs. I found it hard to believe a clean rider was winning against a field full of cheaters, and in record numbers? But I did recognize that a guy who doctors didn’t think would be a live this long was doing something incredible.
Now I’ve had family members die of cancer, and my charity of choice is the Jimmy V Foundation. I was a fan of Jim Valvano and his 1983 NCAA championship basketball team. So when I see the replays of his speech on ESPN, I’m moved. If I can afford to donate, I try to. I’m not the best at this, but I do try. And maybe I should start considering donations to Livestrong. Because for me, Armstrong has raised millions to help those in their fight against cancer. And that outweights everything he’s done on the bike, good or bad.