Watched a docudrama on Lance Armstrong last night.
Wow, was that a surprise.
I remember Lance Armstrong from way, way back, when he first started dominating the bicycle racing scene. For a long time it seemed like his was the main name I heard, especially in connection with the Tour de France.
I don’t know a lot about the professional bicycle racing world. I’m sure there are races and lesser races run everywhere and all the time. But I guess that the Tour de France is the top dog of all the races—the one that every bicyclist aspires to win.
I kept hearing Armstrong’s name connected with that race; specifically, with winning it. Last night’s film showed why—he won it seven times. Apparently more than any other bicyclist ever had.
The film showed him when he got cancer, and then showed his comeback.
I remember the cancer and the comeback.
Then the movie went into depth about his use of steroids, testosterone, and performance-enhancing drugs. This was the amazing part of the movie. It talked about an Armstrong that I had no clue about.
Apparently when he was in the hospital being treated for the cancer, a bunch of his friends visited him, including his best friend and riding partner and the partner’s fiancée. The doc came in and said, I need to ask you a few questions. Your friends need to leave while I talk to you.
Armstrong goes, No, it’s fine. They can stay and listen.
The doc then asks Armstrong if he was doing or had ever done steroids or drugs. And Armstrong said yes and rattled off a whole list.
His friend and the fiancée left the room instantly. That hospital conversation became the sticking point for the fiancée and friend in the next years.
Word got out about Armstrong’s use of drugs but he consistently and repeatedly denied it and lied about it.
Two other cyclists on his team got tested for drugs, tested positive, and were banned from cycling for two years. When one tried to get on Armstrong’s team two years later, Armstrong said no. This caused the guy to go public with all the stuff he had seen and experienced regarding drug use while he was on the circuit with Armstrong.
The exact order of all of the events was a bit muddy, but what was clear was how toxic Armstrong became. He did eventually admit to drug use, but not to the full extent of it as indicated by the conversation in the hospital with the doctor.
There was enough evidence to bring him down and have him removed from professional cycling for a very long time. A full-scale investigation was launched. However, apparently because of Armstrong’s network of friends and many ties with important people, the investigation was shut down and all the charges were thrown out.
What struck me was how deceitful Armstrong was and has been. I haven’t followed him lately, so I don’t know if he’s still racing or not. But for many years, according to this docudrama, he took illegal stuff, raced, won races, and blatantly lied about the drug use.
It’s disappointing to find out the extent of the drug use and especially the extent of the lying.
Nevertheless, it was an excellently produced film and had my interest for the whole hour and a half.