People who end up living their dreams are not those who are lucky and gifted, but those who are stubborn, resolute and willing to sacrifice - NY Times interview with Jonathan Vaughters a former professional cyclist.
Now that I’ve got your attention, we know… without a doubt Lance Armstrong is the biggest contemporary sports fraud alive. Most could look the other way on the doping, but it was the lies — all of the lies — years of lying.
Remember way back to 2004 when American Chopper was firing on all cylinders? There was even a Lance Armstrong/LIVESTRONG bike introduced on Jay Leno. We know that Lance’s net worth is upwards of $120 million and that he turned the rubberized yellow bracelets into a must-have, cause related fashion accessory.
However, the whole set of values that the LIVESTRONG “brand” was grounded in (resilience, courage, endurance, hard work), has now been shown to be a façade after the USADA doping report paints a story of lies, intimidation and deceit spanning 15 years. It was only a couple weeks ago that Nike introduced the Holiday 2012 LIVESTRONG collection, but is now hoping to salvage it’s corporate image by ending the 16 year Lance endorsement and emphasizing the LIVESTRONG charity association.
You might think that Lance’s future will be similar to Pete Rose? A book signing tour – My Prison Without Bars or selling notarized copies of his banishment letter outside Caesar’s in Las Vegas.
Unlikely, because there is always a savvy marketer out there that is an expert when it comes to brand-washing, and will promote it as now is the best time to consider pursuing Lance because you’ll have a better chance at securing an affordable partnership.
It’s clear that his reputation, his legacy and his character were thrown away by the doping. And, that is LiveWRONG. I waited awhile before jumping on the “slam Lance train”, but the cutting photo above captures how I feel after being a long time supporter and the shame he’s brought onto the community here in Oregon.
UPDATE: January 18, 2013 - I watched the Oprah Winfrey “interview” last night. Armstrong offered up at best a contrite explanation of his difficulties… hyper-competitiveness fueled his toxic need to control every outcome… but, there were no new facts beyond the USADA report and it was really nothing more than another example of Armstrong trying to control the apology narrative from Oprah’s chair. More importantly he vehemently deny that he ever called Betsy Andreu fat! Sure he called her a lot of names, impugned her character and tried to permanently wreck her ability to ever earn a living, but as a consolation he never ever called her fat. I’m sure Betsy feels so much better!
Armstrong ran a doping cartel and perpetuated the doping scam for over a decade, was complicit in every aspect of the lies and cover up, sued or smeared into financial ruin and bullied so many “friends” that by his own admission he lost track of how many, lied to sponsors and strategically misled the public to improve his personal finances. What he did to people was just plain mean. And this entire “apology tour”, with the media circus and its elegantly choreographed week-long build up prior to sitting on Oprah’s chair was just another example of Armstrong’s need to control every outcome. Shameful.
Lance Armstrong visits Nike HQ in Beaverton, OR., with OCC bike - Photo courtesy of Beau Hudspeth.