That’s the only way to express the feelings I have as I track Lance Armstrong’s “process of confession.” In fact, I was so upset I couldn’t bring myself to watch the Oprah interview last night, which, in addition to “coming clean” had to include some justification for why he spent nearly two decades lying, attacking his denouncers and systematically deceiving a community of cycling supporters and fans. (I am one of them.)
I am an avid cyclist. I cycle to work most days and even find time on the weekends to get out and enjoy a spring, summer or yes, even a winter day, “in the saddle.” I watched with relish most airings of the Tour de France, including the majority of Lance’s wins.
But I’m conflicted: were Lance’s lies justified?
I also donate to cancer causes. In fact last spring, I joined a wonderful group – Team in Training® – a formal training-coaching program conducted by the Leukemia-Lymphoma Society for wannabe athletes like me – for sporting events of all kinds. I did a Century bike ride (100 miles) with the team in September – raising funds for the cause. I was so proud to be able to combine my love for cycling with support for a cause for which my family and I have a passion. (My mother-in-law died of leukemia in 1990).
Lance Armstrong helped fuel that passion.
So here’s my struggle: How do you reconcile the fact that Lance Armstrong’s popularity helped inspire individuals across the country to give more than $500 million and thousands of hours to help support those impacted by cancer – their families, friends, loved ones and caregivers?
If Lance didn’t win seven Tours, would LIVESTRONG have been able to help as many people? Create the awareness that helps fuel a society’s unifying effort to help find a cure for this horrible disease?
Perhaps. Perhaps not.
Regardless, I have never been an individual that believes “the end justifies the means.” I have to believe that Lance’s lies and deception did nothing but help Lance – selfishly – and now will help define his future. It was Jeff Garvey, one of the organization’s founders, and the amazing team of LIVESTRONG – good people – who helped make the organization what it is, what it continues to be and what it will be.
Perhaps LIVESTRONG wouldn’t be what it is today without’s Lance’s popularity – but we would have found another way. I have to think that good people would have found a way.
My prayers, good wishes and support go to the LIVESTRONG team. My contribution is in the mail.