Lance Armstrong's fall from grace in the last few weeks is the most stunning descent of a hero in recent times.
The International Cycling Federation agreed with the findings of the U.S Anti-Doping Agency and took away Armstrong's record seven Tour de France titles.
The Washington Post noted the head of the cycling federation was unstinting in his condemnation of Armstrong's deceit while engaging in doping during the period of his victories.
"Lance Armstrong has no place in cycling, and he deserves to be forgotten in cycling. This is a landmark day for cycling," the Post quoted Pat McQuaid as saying. In addition to stripping him of his titles, the federation banned Armstrong from further competition for life.
The cycling federation had no choice but to agree with the findings of the anti-doping agency. The USADA used testimony from 11 of Armstrong's teammates to conclude he was guilty of doping and had cheated throughout his career.
Not since the days of Pete Rose's ban from baseball for gambling on major league games can we remember a quicker fall than Armstrong's. Like Rose, Armstrong was a larger-than-life figure. There was never any evidence that Rose manipulated a game to win a bet, but MLB's rules against gambling are designed to remove even the appearance that could happen. The Cincinnati Reds star and later manager ignored those rules and paid the price.
Armstrong's case is a bit different. He cheated to win the competitions.
No one will ever know how Armstrong would have done without the doping. He may well have been a hero and a champion without his "edge."
He denied us the opportunity to see his natural talents. But, then, that's what cheaters do.
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