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Holy cow, even Marshall McLuhan could not have predicted the slick job that Lance did at spinning his way to the top, and refusing to let go of the crown. Lance Armstrong’s meteoric rise and fall (but wait…we’re still talking, right?) from godliness is a lesson about the uncontrollable marketing machine that perfect conditions (defeating-Cancer, do-good attitude, non-threatening sport) can create.
Armstrong, still essentially a god in sports, (he didn’t cry? He must have an honest reason!) says that as he “steps back” he realizes he “lost himself” in the “momentum” of his own story. That truthfully, his “mythic” rise to fame, including “winning the Tour de France seven times” was ”impossible”. Well hey! Improbable? Unbelievable? Maybe. But Lance! You proved it could happen, if you just believe in yourself. And of course the support of a deviously smooth and contrived scheme, which Lance describes as mostly “conservative” and “risk averse”, but sounds a little bit more like a genius heist (private jets, burner phones). However, he humbly acknowledges that it simply “ wasn’t” the most successful doping ring ever, at which point a hint of dissatisfaction crosses his face.
One has to wonder, what is the penalty for all his antics? Not for the harm to the sport, the money he virtually swindled from sponsors and fans, or all the people close to him he humiliated, but for polluting our media channels with his bogus fairy tale. All the winnings, and comebacks, and triumph, and goodwill, and lesson teaching, in between a couple of hits of some really premium dope: Ugh; spare us!
All moral judgment aside, there’s a really gritty detective movie just waiting to be made (sorry, you’re not the hero of this one). According to Daniel Coyle, author of two books on Lance, one instance in Switzerland saw him “sleep in an altitude tent and drip EPO in to his vein all night” to keep the dosages down, in order to avoid detection. Lance Armstrong: Are you kidding me! That has got to be one of the most emotionless and painstakingly evil plots ever to win at sports. Time will tell how the courts and the internet judge Armstrong, and how he’s remembered. But be warned, it may very well be ‘impossible’ to erase thirteen years of do-good yellow clad Lance marketing from our collective consciousness. We may be stuck with this faulty sound-bite forever.
By Aaron R