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Oprah and Lance Dance

Lance Armstrong on Oprah (property of Joe Heller/Green Bay Press-Gazette)

Like some of you, I tuned in to the first night of Oprah Winfrey‘s two-part interview with disgraced cycling champion Lance Armstrong. Thanks to the breaking-news-before-it-breaks media, I already knew he had confessed to doping during his celebrated career and seven Tour de France victories, all of which had already been stripped by the sport’s governing body.

I just wanted to hear him say it after a decade of straight-faced lying. And he did, but it was even more anticlimactic than I originally expected.

Oprah opened up with some focused yes-or-no questions: Did you dope? Yes. Did you use EPO? Yes. During all your big wins? Yes.

And honestly, that’s when I should have changed the channel.

For the next hour and a half, Oprah struggled to open up the shamed athlete as he danced around topics, spoke in vague generalities and basically pushed an “everyone was doing it” agenda on her, his accusers and his millions of disappointed fans.

Sure, Lance fessed up to things and tried not to implicate others, but to me it seemed like nothing more than a sad attempt to convince us all that he now accepted full responsibility for his actions. We’re talking about someone who not only lied to his family, friends and fans, but also misled investigators, lawyers and all sorts of other officials. For years!

Lance even called his accusers liars and took them to court, all the while knowing that they were being truthful and he was not. I don’t know all the facts, but I can only assume some of his “targets” ended up paying for this privilege while Lance continued to rake in the cash.

Lance Armstrong Doping (property of Walt Handelsman)

It’s all pretty nauseating when you think about it.

Of course, I know a little about what Lance is going through and even wrote it about it recently in “Armstrong Finally Mans Up.” After you lie repeatedly, it continues to work and no one calls you on it, you start to really believe it. And believing it makes it even easier to lie the next time and the next time. It just snowballs until you either sustain it for life or finally come clean.

I give Lance credit for finally admitting to everything (sort of), but had this new evidence never been released, would he have been as quick to do so? In other words, if no one out there could prove that he doped and his reputation, popularity and bank account continued to grow, do you really think Lance would have said one word about all this?

Me, neither. And I think that’s what bothers me the most.

The second part of Oprah’s interview airs tonight on her OWN network… nice little play on words there… and against my better judgment, I will probably tune in. I’m expecting Lance to give more detail about his cheating and the process his team used all those years. And I’m sure he’ll continue to accept the blame for everything that happened, doing his best to seem emotional, repentant and honest.

But Lance said it for himself last night: there are people out there who won’t believe another word he says despite whether it’s true or not. And to be perfectly honest, I’m starting to feel like I’m one of them.

Armstrong Finally Mans Up

Lance comes clean (courtesy of OWN)

We’ve all done it.

Against your best judgment, or perhaps not, you lie and expect someone to call you on it, but that never happens. Before you know it, your lie has spun so far out of control that you couldn’t backtrack if you wanted to. So you stick to it and hope for the best.

Then someone discovers the lie and busts you, but by now it’s too late. You have no choice but to stick to your guns because otherwise, everyone will know that you’re full of it.

Only when clear, immutable evidence of your untruth is revealed do you finally come clean. And I’m talking about a photograph or video. Faced only with someone who knows the truth but can’t prove it, you can drag that lie on for years if you must.

If only that were true for shamed cyclist and bona fide fiction spinner Lance Armstrong.

For years, Armstrong denied using performance-enhancing drugs like Human Growth Hormone (hGH), steroids and testosterone. And for years, people came out of the woodwork to accuse him of doping. But Armstrong stuck to his denial and even sued some of his accusers along the way.

Even after the US Anti-Doping Agency accused him in October of taking part in a doping ring and cycling’s governing body, the International Cycling Union, stripped him of all his Tour de France titles, Armstrong still denied the charges.

And face it. We all knew he was lying. With so many witnesses coming forward to accuse Armstrong, it stands to reason that some of them were likely telling the truth. Hell, it’s simple probability.

Live Strong or Live Wrong? (property of John DeRosier)

And it works.

According to numerous sources, Lance Armstrong finally admitted to doping in a recent interview with the great Oprah Winfrey. And I’m not being facetious. Oprah rules.

The interview will air in two parts on Thursday and Friday evening. And yes, they will be on OWN, the Oprah Winfrey Network. Duh.

So there you have it. Lance Armstrong is guilty of doping after sticking to his lie for as long as possible. The evidence was just too great and he clearly had no choice but to “man up.” Of course, now he looks like a complete ass and has nothing to show for years of hard, albeit chemically enhanced, work.

And I won’t even mention all the disappointed fans around the world who once idolized him.

Shame on you, Lance. And shame on us for allowing hero worship to shield us from your lies. I for one hope you cooperate with doping authorities because any measure of repentance is going to take time. And you have to start somewhere…

New Drug on the NFL Field

Please don’t let it come to this! (courtesy of icanhascheezburger.com)

According to Chicago Bearswide receiver Brandon Marshall, some NFL players are now using a very specific drug to give them an edge on the football field: Viagra.

Since the “little blue pill” increases blood flow, normally to a very specific area, players have found it also moves oxygen around the body faster and improves endurance. Athletes in other sports have used Viagra in the past, especially in cycling. I’m sure Lance Armstrong is on that list.

I’m not sure how effective Viagra really is, but I do know one thing: this gives a whole new meaning to the term “stiff arm.”

Lance Armstrong: Amateur Cyclist

Lance Armstrong training for the prologue of t...

Lance Armstrong training for the 2010 Tour de France in Rotterdam (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s official. Former Olympian and multiple Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong will be stripped of the titles he won between 1999 and 2005.

The International Cycling Union just announced that it would not appeal the US Anti-Doping Agency‘s decision to bar Armstrong from cycling for life. This decision was based on a 202-page report of evidence that implicates the former star athlete in one of the most extensive and disturbing doping scandals in sports history.

To this day, and despite witnesses to the contrary, Armstrong continues to deny his role in doping and instead feels he is being targeted because of his fame and extensive achievements.

Give me a small break.

Aside from the mountain of evidence against him, Armstrong needs to realize that people don’t attack their favorite athletes for nothing. If anything, we place these people on pedestals and hope their examples will influence our youth to strive for more and to excel in everything they do.

For years, Armstrong has been a role model for others, especially after fighting and overcoming testicular cancer. And given his devotion to cancer research, this doping situation hurts all the more.

Is it possible for Lance Armstrong to survive all this negative publicity? I believe so, but only if he will “man up” and admit that he did something wrong. There’s nothing worse than an athlete (like Roger Clemens) who denies everything until there is substantial evidence against him and then comes clean.

I don’t know about you, but I respect honesty and would have a much easier time forgiving Armstrong if he would finally take responsibility for his actions. And believe me: it’s only a matter of time before he will have little choice but to do so.

Stem cells + HGH + genetic engineering = Immortality

A colony of embryonic stem cells, from the H9 ...

Embryonic stem cells (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’m no scientist and I never pretend to know everything about a given subject. What I do know, however, is that I possess a very vivid imagination. And right now it has been captured by stem cells and their inevitable role in our future.

This was prompted by an article about the evolution of performance-enhancing drugs in sports. Stem cells are already being used to repair major injuries in superstars like Denver Broncos’ QB Peyton Manning and Oakland A’s pitcher Bartolo Colon. But someday—maybe even someday soon—they could be used to enhance performance. Furthermore, they would be almost impossible to detect.

Too bad for Lance Armstrong, who was recently stripped of his seven Tour de France titles for doping.

I tossed HGH (Human Growth Hormone) into the mix because it is sometimes used to make stem cell treatment more effective. And it obviously works because both of the athletes I mentioned are back up and running. Colon is serving a 50-game ban right now, but Manning is already on the field playing pre-season NFL football.

Now shift gears for a second and think about genetics. The human genome has been mapped and scientists know more than ever about what makes us tick. It’s easy enough for them to pinpoint the DNA that makes us tall or healthy or prone to disease. Engineering these areas could produce perfect human specimens, at least in a genetic sense.

There is still no accounting for taste.

Roll all of this together and you can easily see where I’m going with this: immortal humans are coming. It is only a matter of time until genetically engineered people are born—or transferred—into stronger, longer-lasting bodies and then live indefinitely. Mark my words.

English: Kim Kardashian at the 2009 Tribeca Fi...

Kim Kardashian at the 2009 Tribeca Film Festival (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Of course, this service will only be available to the wealthiest among us, at least at first. Yes, that means Paris Hilton or Kim Kardashian could be with us for a very long time. Eventually, though, regular folks would get their chance, but this would have to be closely regulated and limited. I mean, you can’t make everyone immortal or there simply wouldn’t be enough parking.

That’s when you would see crowds of people filling stadiums not to audition for “American Idol,” but to start the interview process for immortality procedures: stem-cell reinforcement for limbs and organs; genetic therapy for DNA-related repairs; and maybe a nice colonic, just to clean out the pipes. Hell, you could probably use it to conceive the perfect child, which in itself seems kind of creepy.

The interview process would be long, grueling and almost impossible to pass because of how selective it would have to be. Only the strongest or most interesting or talented or pretty or intelligent or whatever would make it to the final rounds. And even then only a handful would be selected for the “procedure.”

Once this happened, the world would become a strange mix of regular people—deteriorating at a normal pace—and relative immortals—their lives extended and traits enhanced. Competition for jobs would be brutal as these people with genetically heightened intelligence beat out everyone else. And if an immortal conceived a child with a “normal” mate, its genetic makeup would still be more evolved than regular folks.

Things could get really confusing. As if they weren’t confusing enough right now.

Whether we like it or not, stem cells will be at the center of much medical advancement to come. And this may sound like science fiction, but I truly believe it will be science “fact” before we know it: immortality will someday be within our reach, or at least our kids’ reach.

In the meantime, I think I’ll just kick back with a delicious HGH milkshake and hope for the best. Cheers!

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