I’m not sure if it’s my last name or that I’m a cyclist, or both that makes me a target for opinion on this whole Lance Armstrong thing and I, like so many others couldn’t resist watching the Oprah interview to see what he said. I struggle every time someone asks me the question, “so what do you think of Lance Armstrong”?
Externally my answer is pretty clear, although internally I have mixed opinions.
You see, the integrity part of me hates the bastard for all the bullying, cheating, and lying over these many years. I watched him race and speak directly into the camera that he didn’t cheat and he would attack anyone that challenged his word. He ruined the lives of many people whose only fault was telling the truth. He represents everything I despise in a person, so of course I hold him in great distain.
I’m also a competitive cyclist and I respect his drive, dedication, discipline, athletic capabilities (without the drugs), and his all out, never say die attitude that’s required in all high performing champions. I wish I had more of that. So I respect the guy.
Wait a minute; a second ago you said you hated the guy. Come on Rob, you can’t suck and blow at the same time, you either hate him or you respect him, you have to pick a side. But in the case of Lance Armstrong, you can suck and blow at the same time.
Lance has this polarizing effect on the public. He contains the personality traits we respect and hate, all embodied in the same individual. It's why some will respect him, while others hate him passionately. It just depends on the dominating characteristics each of us possesses whether you're a "Hater" or "Believer". He is the best and worst in all of us.
The next time you get into a heated debate over the details of why you feel the exact opposite to someone else about Lance, remember that your personality traits are different to theirs and they may respect and value certain aspects of Lance's character and overlook the traits that you passionately distain. There’s no right or wrong answer, only shades of grey.
So here’s my new answer that I’m borrowing from my friend Matt Young as it summarizes him best.
Lance Armstrong is a cancer survivor, legend, icon, son of a single parent, father to 4, boyfriend, ex husband, womanizer, white, American, overachiever, athlete, role model, spokesperson, Olympian, team mate, captain, charismatic leader, businessman, above average hypocrite, me-centric, ego centric, ass-hole who’s now a scorned product of a society that loves to feed off his great story and then revel in the downfall, skinny, dork, really fast cyclist who cheated to reach a level of infamy we all dream of – but could only get to if we cheated and had his natural ability.
So basically in many ways, he’s like you and I.....only on steroids.
Enjoy the Ride….Rob