Hickman: Lance Armstrong’s legacy forever tarnished - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports, Social

Hickman: Lance Armstrong’s legacy forever tarnished

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Cyclist Lance Armstrong was a superstar on two levels.  As a man who won his sport's Super Bowl, the Tour De France, seven times. He helped grow the sport in the United States, and became a world famous icon in his own right.

More important to many, his battle with cancer, the birth of the Live Strong foundation which raised more than 500 million dollars for cancer research, made him a champion for good to who knows how many cancer survivors.

But, both reputations have become irreparably damaged by Armstrong's self inflicted wounds caused by blood doping and the alleged use of other performance enhancing drugs.  He was stripped of all titles back to 1998 by the U.S. Anti Doping Association, and issued a lifetime ban from competition.  Through it all, Armstrong vehemently denied ay use of PED's… period.  That in the face of more than 1,000 pages of evidence presented by the USADA.  Armstrong did not contest the findings through arbitration, and instead decided to pursue his case through the Federal Courts.  No court date, ironically, has been set.

Enter Oprah Winfrey, and her OWN Network which will air a two part interview this week with Armstrong in which he will allegedly come clean and admit he's been lying all these years.  We'll see what he says, although Winfrey herself says Armstrong may not have been as forthcoming or contrite as one would expect of a man who is falling on his sword.

Here's my big question.  Why now for the Winfrey interview?  Could it be that just days before news of the "tell all" interview became known; The New York Times reported Armstrong might be trying to offer a confession to the USADA.  Both the agency and the Armstrong camp either deny the report, or offered no comment.

Why would Armstrong, after all these years of denial, be willing to offer such a confession?  This: offered by VeloNews, a reputed cycling publication.  Perhaps it is because he is looking for a lightening of his lifetime ban so that he might compete in triathlon competition and perhaps regain some status as product endorser.

Be all of that as it may, the more disturbing thing to me is the way Armstrong appears to have dump trucked so many people along the way.  Former Tour champion Greg LeMond who claims Armstrong would destroy him if he didn't go along with Armstrong's PED program.  The list of cyclists, team members, assistants and others who have claimed to have been bullied, threatened, and coerced by Armstrong over the years is inexhaustible.  But, all feel they have been wronged by the real bad guy in this whole scandal… Armstrong himself.

The Sunday Times of London was sued for libel by Armstrong, settled out of court, and is now suing Armstrong for 2.5 million dollars in damages.  There are other promotional companies on various continents threatening to sue Armstrong for millions, feeling they to have been defrauded, and that could involve triple civil damages in the worst case for Armstrong.

He's said to be worth over 100 million dollars.  ESPN legal analyst Roger Cossack said that all those he's allegedly wronged along the way could blow through that money in a hurry.

As for the Live Strong foundation, and what it's done for cancer, that's wonderful.  Undoubtedly, someone out there reading this commentary either knows someone or IS someone who is alive today because of the research it founded.  Then again, there have been bad guys throughout history who've donated ill gotten gains to the needy.  In my opinion, that doesn't make the bad guy any less bad.

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