Cyclist Lance Armstrong has finally admitted to a complex doping scheme that helped him win the Tour de France seven times and turned him into a sports icon. The cancer survivor raised critics’ eyebrows on Monday by suggesting that he simply misunderstood the nature of the charges. “Honestly, I thought they said ‘moping’. That is why I fought so hard. I have never and will never mope and I’m insulted that anyone would think I would. As for doping, yes, I doped for races. But I want to make clear to all of my fans. I am not a moper. That is not who I am as a cyclist or as a man.”
Following the findings of the U.S. Anti Doping Agency (USADA), Armstrong has been stripped of all seven Tour victories, and has been banned from the tournament for life. Armstrong may also be forced to payback bonus and prize winnings. Over the past few months, Armstrong has resigned from his Chairman position at Livestrong, the cancer charity he founded. He has also given up the lengthy legal battle to prove his innocence. In the aftermath however, Armstrong only seems to be concerned about his legacy as a non-moping cyclist. When asked whether he felt guilty for over a decade of cheating he responded, “I would like to get back to the moping issue for a moment. I just want to make clear that even though I am not personally a moper, I do not judge others who choose to be mopers. In fact, I have some good friends who are mopers but that does not mean that I am one. Now what was your question again?”
As the full ramifications from the USADA findings develop, we bear witness to the fall of a sports icon. Whether or not you agree with the rules against athlete drug use, Armstrong appears to have knowingly cheated. The integrity and perseverance which he has been known for are now in question. Tonight, however, when you tuck your children in bed and tell them stories of the greatest cyclist the world has ever known, remember, Lance Armstrong may have doped but he never moped.
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