Lance Armstrong is a beacon of hope to millions of cancer patients. He’s also known by team members as a headstrong egotist who shoves people out of the way to put himself in the spotlight. Two stories from a long article I read about the 7-time Tour de France champ bubbled to the surface. One was about a team-member who briefly moved ahead of Armstrong during the 2003 tour, even though his position on the team was a ‘domestique’ or one of the riders who blocks the wind for the star. Though he wore the famous yellow jersey, Armstrong insisted that he continue the chores of a domestique, “a flagrant usurpation of tour tradition, an embarassment to the other rider, and a purposeful reminder of cycling’s social order.”
Yet this is the same guy whose foundation has raised tens of millions for cancer research, who visited a low-income health center in Harlem five times, and was described as ‘a compassionate person who cares about people who don’t have resources.”
Here is the paradox: Despite years of accusations of doping, Armstrong has never failed a drug test…and now a new investigation of his Postal Service team is considering charges of fraud, drug distribution, tax evasion and other charges. But doesn’t all of his cancer-fundraising and good deeds make this less relevant? I mean, if he goes to jail or loses his champion status, would all of this good work stop? Is that worth it?