Saturday, October 13, 2012

Fat Cyclist on LiveSTRONG & Lance

Those of you that follow my blogs will know that I read and recommend “ “ principally because of the Fund Raising efforts that benefit a number of Charities .  Mostly these fun Fundraisers are related to fighting Cancer and in the recent times have diversified , but in the past the emphasis was on Live Strong !

This week the USADA released it’s report on Lance Armstrong and so as he has done in the past Fatty released his take on the situation :

There have been a variety of comments and I have selected a few for those that do not have time to read his blog post in full ! Personally I think the effort would be worth making as you will only see those that struck a chord with me .


Comment by Paul Guyot | 10.11.2012 | 11:18 am

Once again, you’ve done it better than any so-called journalists at ESPN, Bicycling, VeloNews, or anywhere else.
I stand with you, LiveStrong, and the fight against cancer, now and always.

Comment by SENichols | 10.11.2012 | 11:31 am
I will always support lance and also the other causes you support because it it the right thing to do.
As far as Lance and the USADA, there are a few things we need to keep in mind. One, he had to dope, the competition did, they just weren’t as good at it. As with all aspects of cycling, Lance wanted to be the best. Best bike, best training, best eating regime and naturally best doping. If you take away his Jerseys, who do you give it to? You can’t retractively test all the guys who now get placings.
What bothers me most is this is the way the evidence was gathered and presented. Virtually all of what we see was testimony from active or recently active riders who were given substantial accomodations in return for their testimony. Hence, it is by definition tainted. The other really bad thing is we see ONLY what the USADA wants us to see. We have no idea what testimony they are NOT using. We know they have to have talked with virtually everyone Lance rode with in the last 25 years. It is certainly a number far higher than 25. What did all the other people say. Selective testimony is dishonest and misleading.
The last point is this. Why do we have drug testing and statutes of limitations if anecdotal(i.e. non factual) testimony is now valued more and used to try and convict Lance. Not a great idea.
Did he dope. Yes. Has USADA met even the thinest burden of legal proof that would be required in a court of law.

Comment by Flahute | 10.11.2012 | 12:03 pm
Fatty — I stopped donating money to LiveStrong a long time ago … but I believe in your mantra of doing good things. For this reason, my cancer-related donation dollars have been directed to the Huntsman Cancer Foundation for the past few years, primarily because a) 100% of the money donated goes directly to research to find a cure (rather than trying to raise awareness through marketing), and b) most, if not all, ofmy dollars stay in my community (i.e. Utah).
Huntsman’s overhead & expenses are covered by their endowment from the Huntsman family, so donations are not used for anything other than research. This is my definition of doing good things.
I hope that you will encourage your other readers to look at supporting local causes as well as national organizations.
I love Huntsman’s. it’s on my list of organizations to support in ‘13. – FC

Comment by Tony B | 10.11.2012 | 12:26 pm
Following professional cycling and it’s antics are a sideline. The real riding is happening whenever the regular guy or girl gets out on the road or trail, either solo or in a group and justs enjoys the sport for the sake of its self.
Personally, I am dissappointed at the continued level of denial, given my original belief in the overcoming of great obstacles.
Unfortunately, the next individual who will rise above shall be met with a greater skepticism that the last.

Comment by Rich | 10.11.2012 | 1:32 pm
I agree with the heart of your post. But it’s stuck with me for a while now…
1 quick(ish)question (or two):
Don’t you think your friend, Lance, owes his former friends a lot of apologies? Doesn’t the fact that he was a manipulative, bullying, unrepentent, cheating liar to his FRIENDS worry you at all about his character? Shouldn’t the important voices in cycling (you are one btw) demand that he come clean and apologize to those whose carreers were ruined by his actions?
His work with cancer is awesome, and you wrote a classy response, and no one is below forgiveness…
But he hasn’t even asked for forgiveness and, even worse, he continues to spew vitriol at those whom he bullied…
Would you please mention to your friend that he owes a lot of people an apology (Zabriskie’s testimony was heartbreaking)?
I hope that doesn’t sound snarky. It’s not meant that way.
Thanks for all the good you do for so many.

For myself, I feel better when I apologize to others for having wronged them. Sometimes it helps the person I’ve wronged; sometimes it doesn’t. I’m pretty sure, though, that any time someone has gone to me and demanded I apologize to someone else, I have either refused to apologize or have offered an insincere apology. In other words, telling anyone to apologize doesn’t help. If the need to apologize doesn’t come from within, the words “I’m sorry” don’t mean much. – FC

Comment by Terry | 10.11.2012 | 2:27 pm
I must be a lot more cynical than most, because I have always thought the odds of a clean rider decimating a field chock full of admitted dopers were astronomically tiny. Possible, I’m sure, but so highly improbable.
I can understand the pressure in the sport to cheat. I can imagine how hard it would be to resist doing what everyone else is doing, to be the best at the sport you love. I can easily believe that Lance wants to destroy cancer as much as he wanted to destroy his competitors, and is truly genuine in his efforts to help cancer victims. The part I have trouble with is this: if Lance really believes his mission is to fight cancer, and if there is any reasonable chance that his use of HGH/testosterone/steroids pre-1998 contributed to the growth or severity of his cancer, then why doesn’t he feel compelled to disclose this? To warn kids to stay away from the stuff, because look what happened to me? I don’t believe there is research that directly links steriods to testicular cancer like the ones that exist for prostate cancer, but isn’t it worth mentioning as a real risk? I think if he is really as committed to serving the cancer community as he says, he would feel obligated to speak to this in some manner.
Here’s what I tell my kids when they ask about the “cheaters”: even good people make bad decisions. It’s how you make up for (and learn from) those bad decisions that really matter.

Comment by aussie kev | 10.11.2012 | 2:29 pm
Its a sad sad day for cyling – its big george that upset me most, but i hope it will make cycling a safer place for the juniors i coach. i can only hope !!!
i donated to livestrong last night, as you say its a fantastic organisation so

Comment by Pete McPhedran | 10.11.2012 | 3:30 pm
I like your post Fatty, I don’t 100% agree with you, but that’s what’s great about this forum and our little Internet thingy, I can do that and I don’t have to make you wrong about your position. I respect you and I respect your position. Heck, I respect that you have a position.
As for what to do with the jerseys, medals, trophies, etc… Here’s my $0.02 CDN:
1. Leave the standings as they are, the dreaded “*” should be beside all names that are admitted or in the case of Lance, found guilty in absence or whatever it is called. The shame of the act shouldn’t be erased, but it can not, as you said, be determined with any acceptable measure of accuracy who did in fact win honestly.
2. Indicate that no jersey/winner was recorded for those years
3. All prize monies awarded should be voluntarily returned to the organization that made the award. It would be good if they then awarded the money to a charity of their choice.
4. It should be recorded that George Hincapie rode in 17 Tours, it should also be indicated that he had doped for X of them. He still rode them, just not honestly.
If the UCI wants to regain a fan base, they need to get serious about doping. There needs to be a house clearing at the UCI as well. I read the 200+ pages, there is strong evidence of wrong doing and other improprieties within the UCI.
As for monies paid to athletes, whether for salaries, bonuses or “sponsorship”, I think the US courts (and maybe others too) will be the final say in that.
As for LiveStrong, I have donated in the past, I hope they do not crash and burn, it sounds like they have done and will continue to do great things given the opportunity, but my donations will go to other cancer charities in the future.
I feel for each of these athletes, doctors and other witnesses, many lives have been made miserable, many are going to start getting miserable. I hope they all can pick themselves up and DO GOOD from now on.
I’m a cycling fan and hope the sport can turn itself around.

Comment by nate | 10.11.2012 | 3:31 pm
I’ve been a (silent) reader of your blog from some of the earliest days and have always admired your lighthearted approach and consistent focus on open-mindedness and support for good causes. For the most part, I appreciate your response to the USADA reasoned decision — particularly the reminder to those disillusioned with LiveStrong that there are other causes worth supporting in the fight against cancer.
I also appreciate your openness to considering the implications of the USADA case, given your understandable affinity for LiveStrong and the people involved. But it also made me hopeful that you might offer a bit more reflection than just the assertion that it doesn’t much matter. The issue of the USADA case is not just that Lance doped, or that Bruyneel facilitated, but that the two orchestrated a sophisticated team-wide doping program and intensely pressured previously-clean cyclists into doping, while aggressively bullying those who raised suspicions. Those aspects are far more troubling, to me at least, than whether or not Lance used PEDs.
You’ve interacted with Lance and Johan extensively; been the direct beneficiary of their generosity on a number of occasions; and had the opportunity to grow the blog in small part due to their support of your contests and donations. I certainly can’t complain about any of these things. But casting them in a uniformly positive light burnished their images and gave ammunition to those who would rubbish Lance skeptics. So given the personal connection, I have to imagine that your feelings on the issue and the implications of the USADA case extend a bit beyond those you expressed in the post — anything you feel worth discussing? Anything we should take away from it?

Comment by Meredith S | 10.11.2012 | 4:53 pm
Fatty, I appreciate your perspective and also agree with it mostly. I don’t agree with USADA’s tactics in general and question their authority, I want to leave the past in the past, and I do believe Livestrong has done a lot of good that will hopefully continue. I just can’t get past what appears to be systematic bullying by Lance, though. Last year at the US Pro Challenge I couldn’t figure out why Lance only showed up once during the race in Aspen when he was effectively the father of the race. This year, he wasn’t seen at all, even in Aspen, and he was home in Aspen during the race week according to his Tweets. We followed the race the whole week around Colorado. If Lance had left a positive legacy with the teams and current cyclists, I feel like he would have been at that event. I know when cyclists are interviewed they are tired about doping, but they almost all seem to shut down at the mention of Lance’s name. It has been a long while since I have heard a professional cyclist say anything positive or interact with him on Twitter like many of the other cyclists seem to do with one another. There are be so many written testimonies of him treating people he has worked with in the past poorly. The sad truth is I’m not sure how many friends he still has in the world of professional cycling. I’ll reuse your statement with the world bully instead of doper: “I hate writing ‘Lance is a bully,’ but to continue presuming innocence now flies in the face of my personal philosophy every bit as much as presuming guilt prematurely does.” Either there are a lot of people exaggerating and lying or the accounts of bullying are true. That makes it hard to continue supporting the man. It makes sad. I wanted to believe. Now I have to figure out what to do with that giant Lance poster in my garage…

Comment by Irnldy | 10.11.2012 | 6:53 pm
I have read all the testimonies from the witnesses. Before I just thought LA a cheat. Now I see the bullying, the blackmailing, the goon tactics. I can’t separate Lance the rider from the champion for cancer. I just can’t. You said that Susan was treated and treated wonderfully by Huntsman, and I hereby challenge that you ask us to fundraise directly for Susan’s hospital. Furthermore, I am strongly inclined to donate towards the Princess Margaret Hospital in Toronto for their ground breaking research programs. I believe we all can do good, and we can avoid those we disagree with in the process. I appreciate that you are now providing options for us to donate to other than Livestrong or Johan’s World Bicycle Relief. The truth is, if I could donate to WBR without it going through Johan, I would still actively choose to do so. So please Fatty, continue to bring us wonderful fundraisers and give us options as to where our many can be allocated. I believe I am the first to challenge all to a Huntsman fundraiser – perhaps the next 100 miles to nowhere? I will be the first to sign up.

Comment by Barton | 10.12.2012 | 6:50 am
I typed in your blog address, then went to fill up the tea mug as I unthaw from the ride to work. I have a very large computer screen at work. I come around the corner, take a sip of tea, see your (very large, and very frightening) photo at 200% actual size and the tea gets spit across the desk top. Honestly funny as I look back on it (and now that the photo has scrolled past). Thanks for that morning fun (not sarcastic, honestly serious).
I have been (stupidly) reading a lot of the comment sections on other articles. It’s amazing to me what people say (including some saying LA didn’t have cancer, and came up with that as an excuse to use masking agents. wtf?).
I appreciate your comments most sincerely. Now that we have the report, I am hoping the sport aspect of cycling can resume (better than before, cleaner than before, more honest than before) and move forward. I think LiveSTRONG will survive, and the work they do will continue.

Comment by Skippydetour | 10.13.2012 | 5:31 am
Disappointed to see that my comments are getting the ” Duplicate Comment message when i ONLY PRESS ONCE
Really disappointed to see the news that Johan Bruyneel finished with Team Radio Shack today !
Both Lance & Johan knew what they were doing in Cycling , was ” Borderline at best ” , and my thinking is that this is why they worked so hard in the charities that they set going ! Perhaps naive of me to think this way ! People on the edge , do try to give back to their community do they not ?
LiveSTRONG is deliberately attacked by the naysayers due to the ” Lance Envy ” factor BUT in doing this these people defeat themselves as ” Any Publicity , is Good Publicity “!
Whether or not Lance remains in the ” LiveSTRONG Spotlight ” during the next months remains to be seen , personally i think that LiveSTRONG will be able to continue regardless . THose people working in the organisation , do good work as they are ably led and well motivated .
Anyone can Google Info on any subject , but i bet Google does no follow up or hand holding ? This is why LiveSTRONG is so necessary and even if it was 10X larger , there would still be people in need of that help !
Regarding all those Cycle Racers that stopped doping in 2006 , give it a rest Guys , no one believes that fairy tale ! You were Adults when you stepped across the line ! You are lucky that ALL the bad bags of blood that those shifty Docs were handing out to you did no more than cause you temporary discomfort , you will know many Racers like Jiminez , who woke up dead through sloppy doping practices !
Emma O’Reilly & Betty Andreu need to be congratulated for their fortitude over the years and i am sure they would enjoy helping Charities with the benefits likely to be going to them .
Spare some cash for the ” Paul Kimmage Defence Fund ” since he was at the forefront of the battle against ” Doping “!
Only an ” Amnesty for ALL SPORT ” will bring this sorry mess to an end !
Fatty , you together with your 100’s & 1000’s of readers can persuade the IOC & WADA to call for this ” AMNESTY in ALL SPORTS “, so that the Youth of today will avoid the pitfalls , those that held up their hands this week , willingly jumped into !

LiveSTRONG will continue to grow regardless of any involvement of Lance in the future ! Those working within that organisation are doing a good job for those in need of their assistance .

Should it be that Lance only set up LiveSTRONG to cover up his character defects , then some good things will have come of this ,  if he set it up to help others , then he is to be admired , regardless of the other side of his personal life !

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