Armstrong Would Be Biggest Fraud of All
Harsh? Not at all. Because if a federal investigation finds that Armstrong has used performance-enhancing drugs, just as other probes have linked so many other athletes to steroids, then what do we tell the cancer patients who use him for inspiration, the people who stand along the road at the Tour de France and hold signs that say "Hope'' and "Never Give Up!'' and consider him a god? What about the millions who wear the yellow LIVESTRONG bracelets that have symbolized his mission against the disease he beat?
It's disturbing enough to see him crash his bike regularly, go limp on the mountain climbs that used to be his signature and fail to win even one stage of what he swears -- and we hope -- will be his final Tour. It's sad enough to hear the beast shrivel into a mouse, uttering such wave-the-white-flag mush as, "Once you know you're not going to be the best guy, then I'm going to, like I said in the beginning, sit up and enjoy it. Look around, look at people, listen to people. There's nothing wrong with that. I'm not going to win the Tour.'' Who wants to wander into Europe for the event that defined Armstrong and witness a deterioration in the painful vein of Willie Mays with no bat speed, Muhammad Ali fighting a mixed martial artist, Ken Griffey Jr. falling asleep in the clubhouse or Johnny Unitas throwing interceptions for the Chargers?