Armstrong lesson: Crime does not pay
By Al S. Mendoza
THERE is only one lesson to be learned from the Lance Armstrong case: Again, crime does not pay.
By stealing seven Tour de France titles, Armstrong has lost everything except his sanity. For now?
Doping was what propelled him to seven unprecedented victories.
Before Armstrong had achieved that, no one—not even the most celebrated scientist in all of sports—believed it could be done.
Maybe twice or thrice it can happen.
But seven straight Tour de France triumphs?
It has been tagged humanly impossible to achieve that.
Thus, when Armstrong did it, he became an instant world celebrity.
He earned not only praise but prizes of unimaginable amounts.
What added to the drama was Armstrong had battled cancer of the testicles before he made his 7-Tour romp.
How could such a cancer survivor gather himself from the ruins of a life-threatening disease, even collecting a seemingly uncollectible number of wins on the world’s biggest, toughest and most prestigious cycling marathon?
He earned $7 million from his 7 Tour de France titles.
But that was puny, if you compared his take from endorsements, which made him amass millions of dollars. At one point, his total worth was $100 million.
And, then, in one fell swoop, Armstrong transformed from celebrity to obscurity, from cycling icon to con artist.
Officials declared him guilty of having used banned drugs to help him win those 7 Tour de France titles from 1999 to 2005.
Before his conviction, Armstrong had been vehemently denying the charge.
“Never will I ever use dope,” he kept saying.
He was stripped of his 7 crowns and banned from cycling for life.
Officials also declared him off-limits to all events that are Olympic-sanctioned, such as the triathlon and marathon.
Dwarfed by shame, Armstrong left Livestrong, the foundation that he helped found to help cancer patients.
Tour de France officials now want him to return the $7 million that went with his 7 titles.
The Times of London, which lost a libel case Armstrong had filed against the newspaper some years back, now wants to also reclaim the $500,000 it had paid to the Austin, Texas native.
Armstrong was found guilty of doping in October 2012.
He confessed to his sin only early this month, in a taped interview with the popular TV host Oprah Winfrey.
However, in his admission of guilt, not once did Armstrong show guilt or remorse.
Also, not once did he glance at the TV camera during the two-part interview with Winfrey.
Why Armstrong hid his crime for more than 10 years or so, only he has the answer.
Who will be by his side now that he has fallen from grace?
I guess, only his mother.