Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Don't Call it a Comeback

Reports of Lance Armstrong's retirement from professional cycling appear to have been greatly exaggerated. According to team director Johan Bruyneel, Lance is going to be training with the team this winter and is contemplating riding in next year's Tour de France. Apparently, he's mad as hell about the doping allegations published in L'Equipe and he's not going to take it anymore. I really don't mind if Lance decides to ride the Tour until he drops dead, I just wish pro athletes would stop announcing their retirement amid great fanfare only to renege on their promise a couple months later.


Online Banking said...
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MDS said...

Well, it wouldn't be the first time Lance reneged on a promise. Remember his promise to love, honor and cherish his wife until death do them part? He kept that right up until he became rich and famous, when he was able to leave his wife for a celebrity.

dhodge said...

Are you being serious or just cracking wise? Because I really get annoyed by people who criticize Lance Armstrong for getting divorced. It's not like he's the first person or even the first public figure to ever file for divorce. As far as I know, he didn't cheat or his ex-wife or abuse her, which is more than a lot of divorcees can say. What I'm trying to say here is that I hate how it's now assumed that we are supposed to care deeply about the personal lives of all of our public figures.

dusty said...

I seem to recall Lance coming off as a consummate dick to his ex in his autobio, much like he does with most other people in his life, according to some Boulder cyclists I know who mix with him. Whatever, no one's perfect.

Unlike most other athletes that spring to mind, his un-retirement ain't about the benjamins, it's about leaving his reputation, like his urine, clean. That's why it doesn't annoy me. I can imagine His Airness overhearing doubts about his status as GOAT after his 1st retirement while dropping fly balls in Birmingham, then proceeding to grab 3 more titles just to put guys like Magic and Kareem in the dust. You've got to be among the very best in your sport to truly understand that, I suppose. His third bid? No clue.

MDS said...

No, he's not the first public figure to get a divorce, and obviously, many public figures have done much worse things than gotten divorces. On the other hand, I think Lance is treated as a saint by the media, and they seem to ignore any facts that would contradict their hagiographies.

I couldn't agree more that it's stupid to think we should care deeply about the personal lives of all of our public figures. But short of becoming a hermit, there's not much I can do to stop hearing about how great Lance Armstrong is. Yes, he's a great athlete. But it never stops there, we always have to hear what an inspiration he is, and I for one don't find him inspiring.

I mean, look, I certainly don't think I agree with this guy on too many issues, but I think he has a point. I believe Lance's twins were less than a year old when he and his wife separated. What on earth was he doing bringing two children into the world (and it was a very deliberate, conscious act to bring these children into the world, since they used in-vitro fertilization) if he was in a relationship so weak it would fall apart before their first birthday?

And, finally, I do think it's relevant that the person he now chooses to be with is a celebrity. Some men see the women they date/marry as status symbols, and a man who leaves his wife and shacks up with a celebrity soon after (I don't know if he started dating Ms. Crow while he was still married), certainly appears to be one of them.

dhodge said...

Good points all around. I admire Lance's cycling ability and the awareness he has raised for clinical trials in the cancer community. A lot of people who are battling cancer find his story inspiring, and if that helps them battle this dreaded disease, more power to them.

I guess I was being somewhat naive when I said we shouldn't care about the personal lives of public figures. What I should have said is their personal lives shouldn't affect the way their professional achievements are viewed. OJ shouldn't be removed from Canton for his off-field behavior, for example. I never really bought into the idea that Lance was a saint, hence he didn't fall too far in my book when he did the old spousal trade-in/trade-up. There are a lot of people who think Lance can do wrong because of his remarkable cancer story and cycling accomplishments. There are a small number of people who think Lance deserves no laud, even for his cycling accomplishments, due to his dysfunctional moral compass. I think both groups are wrong.