I read with dismay that Lance Armstrong, seven-time winner of the Tour de France, has been stripped of his medals and barred from racing.
I am sad and furious over the decision. If Lance had been doping, as accused, why did the numerous tests he submitted to over the last 10 years come up clean? The only "evidence" is the accusations of fellow cyclists who claim to have seen or heard something. In most courts, hearsay is inadmissable evidence.
Lance has been my hero for years--not because I am a fan of cycling, but because his victories came at a time I sorely needed one. During his seventh race, I watched the tour every time I could get a chance, puzzling my friends and family who know my aversion to spectator sports of any kind.
I even kept (and still have) a scrapbook of the newspaper articles describing the race.
Why? Because this was the same year I was diagnosed with cancer and I knew Lance was a cancer survivor. Given 60-40 odds of beating my disease, I clung to the knowledge that he had beaten his. Somehow, I had the certainty that if he won this race, that I would win my own race against those runaway cells.
We both won.
I continue to admire Lance, the more so because he chose to walk away. Some say because he knows in his heart that he did what he is accused of doing.
I say it's because he knows he's innocent, and chooses not to fight whispers and rumor. They stripped his titles, but not his dignity.
Lance is still my hero becauseof the inspiration he gave me and thousands of fellow cancer survivors.