Everyone Is Welcome In Obstacle Racing (Unless You Are Lance Armstrong)
We sing accolades to the sport.
All hail the all-inclusive and all-welcoming sport of obstacle racing.
Unless you are Lance Armstrong, apparently.
Judging from some of the discussions I have seen:
If you are Lance Armstrong, you can go to hell, drop dead, burst into flames, and get eaten by hyenas. Not necessarily in that order.
I find that incredibly strange given how “welcoming” and “inclusive” we are.
Clearly, the kumbaya does not extend to everyone.
The backlash can be boiled down to two things:
1. BEING A CHEATER
“I do not want him to do a Spartan Race! He will skip burpees for sure!”
Either that, or he will be the person with the most perfect burpees the world has ever seen, for the exact reason that everyone knows who he is, and will be watching him like a hawk.
It’s the innocuous looking 23-year old girl with a blonde ponytail that falls of the monkey bars, shrugs and skips along (and places ahead of you), while you have your face in the dirt, pumping out 28th, 29th, and 30th burpee, you should be worried about.
Not Lance fucking Armstrong.
“I do not want to be beat by someone who is doping!”
Sweetie, you may already be being beat by someone who is doping.
The implicitly accepted rule in the major leagues is not “Don’t use PEDs”, it’s “Don’t get caught, using PEDs”.
And I believe the correct expression here “WAS doping”. The AA-esque “once a doper, always a doper” argument is infantile and simplistic.
The basic premise is still, I believe, “innocent until proven guilty”.
Or does this only apply the first time around?
Once you are proven guilty once, does the expression flip and becomes “guilty by default, until proven innocent”?
But… what if he wins?
What if he does?
Is there a shred of doubt in your mind that if Lance wins the Spartan World Championship, he would be tested and re-tested – as he should – and would most likely be squeaky clean?
He is a lot of things, but he is not an idiot.
Lance Armstrong is serving a lifetime ban from competing in all sports that follow the World Anti-Doping Agency code.
According to the original article in NBC Sports:
“Specific to his current eligibility for ultra or obstacle course races, so long as the event is not under a code signatory and the event does not otherwise recognize a Code sanction, then there is no prohibition as set forth in the WADA Code.”
If I understand this correctly, Lance would then NOT be able to compete at events like OCRWC and the Toughest – the only two events in the sport right now that adhere to WADA protocols AND test their athletes.
If this is not a motivator for other race series to get on board with standard procedures for drug testing, I don’t know what it. And please note that Spartan Race and WTM both have disclaimers in their consent forms where athletes acknowledge that they must comply with WADA and MAY be tested at any time.
Trust in Armstrong has been lost. There is no doubt about it.
Yet, let’s wait for those results every single time before we re-crucify him all over again, ok?
2. BEING AN ASSHOLE
Ahhhh… This argument is my favorite.
Lance Armstrong is a sociopath.
Lance Armstrong is a liar.
Lance Armstrong has betrayed friends, and destroyed relationships.
Lance Armstrong is an awful human being.
All that may be true.
These characteristics may not land you in heaven (if you buy into that premise, of course), but last time I checked none of them were illegal.
Since when obstacle racing became the fucking moral high ground?
We may not WANT assholes in our sport, but we can’t BAN assholes from our sport based on the fact that they are assholes.
And that would make for a pretty empty field.
Hell, I don’t think I’d make it.
Do we ban someone from the sport for cheating on their spouse?
Anyone with a criminal record?
Crimes? We have a legal system.
Cheating? We (should) have regulatory bodies.
As for “he betrayed his best friend”, “he broke up a marriage” arguments – they may warrant NOT inviting him to your wedding, but they are hardly reasons for turning someone away from a sport.
Lance was an asshole.
That does not mean he IS an asshole. That does not mean he WILL be an asshole.
And that definitely does not mean YOU have to be an asshole.
Whatever (the fuck) happened to the all-forgiving church of the trail?
Do you feel that Lance Armstrong should not be allowed in obstacle racing?
I am assuming that you are now developing action steps towards forming unified regulatory bodies in the sport, and towards wider acceptance of the WADA protocol.
“You may say I’m a dreamer…”.
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