Armstrong, disgraced but honest in exit
By Jesus A. Garcia Jr.
FINALLY the Lance Armstrong doping scandal that has baffled world cycling fans is over. Armstrong obviously exasperated, tired and maybe pressured during the last two years for being accused of using performance-enhancing drugs to catapult him to win seven Tour de France (TdF) diadems consecutively, eventually succumbed to the extreme tension that he has been subjected to and decided to admit his guilt. He confessed that he used an artificial stimulant to win the world’s most prestigious bicycle race TdF. The disgraced cyclist from Austin, Texas made the declaration of guilt to Oprah Winfrey in her television program during an interview taped last Tuesday (PH time) and expressed remorse as he apologized to the world cycling fans saying “I’m Sorry.”
His confession did not really surprise me. But what baffled me was his repeated denials during and after his stint in the TdF. After years of public statements, press conferences and court proceedings over the last decade, in the end he admitted his guilt. Obviously he was zealous about protecting his image as an icon in world cycling being the champion of TdF seven times straight, an accomplishment that nobody ever did. But in the end, I believe Armstrong, now 41, a devoted Christian, realized and maybe touched by the words of God in the Good Book: “Thou shall not bear false witness against your neighbor”, which is one of Yaweh’s Ten Commandments.
The embattled Armstrong, a cancer survivor who founded the Livestrong Foundation in 1997 that has already helped a lot of cancer patients, finally repented and came up clean to stop the brouhaha that has been hounding him. Whether his admission will start his healing and repair his stained reputation, that remains to be seen because I expect that some lawsuits will eventually be filed against him by some of his adversaries like his former 11 teammates who disclosed everything, his compatriot and three-time TdF titlist Greg Lemond who first exposed Armstrong’s doping. Hopefully I’m wrong. But the London-based Sunday Times already filed a lawsuit against him to recover about $500,000 it paid him to settle a libel case. Let’s just wait and see. Armstrong was a hero in the TdF and the most adored rider in the world, but in a stunning reversal has become the villain. The only credit due him for his confession as of this time is his honesty, which is very important in everyone’s life and of course in the eyes of Almighty God. Amen.
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I was surprised to hear that an elite basketball team like the multi-titled Lyceum Northwestern University (LNU) Dukes suffered a devastating defeat with a margin of 20 points, 88-68, during the Jimmy Fernandez Cup in the hands of its archrival, the former PRISAA Region 1 champion, the University of Luzon Golden Tigers. The Dukes, who will represent our region in the National PRISAA Games next month in Lingayen, were certainly humiliated. Many were wrong and ate their words when they said the Perez boulevard-based Tigers coached by Byron Vidal are on the wane. Maybe challenged by that perception, the Tigers silenced their detractors by plastering the heavily favored Dukes being temporarily coached by Julius Puzon. Well, “The Ball Is Round” as the saying goes. Maybe the Dukes were over-confident and also lacked the capability to stifle the Tigers rifleman Nikko Cresencio who pumped in a league record of nine treys (27 points) beyond the rainbow line. Better luck next time, Dukes. I believe you need more intensive training to hone up your championship skills.
Still in basketball, I was surprised to know that the former University of Pangasinan basketball player Jennifer “Epey” Marzan met his untimely death last Tuesday in a road accident in Barangay Pandayan, Alaminos City. First District Board Member Teofilo Humilde, Jr. informed me about this and later confirmed by the victim’s brother, the well-known former PBA player Porfirio “Jun” Marzan. Still active in playing basketball before his demise, the six-foot-three Epey Marzan, 35, used to be the best player of Alaminos City who together with Lordy Tugade helped make Alaminos the champion of the province-wide SK basketball championship in the late1990s. Together, they swept the Sta. Barbara team in the finals spearheaded by ex-PBA player Christian Calguio. My deepest condolences to his bereaved family. May the good Lord put him in the restful place and in peace.
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QUOTE OF THE WEEK: In flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power. 2 THESSALONIANS 1: 8-9