What we can learn from the Armstrong case

Does it make sense to talk to a doper, fraud and criminal? Is he honest about his confession or still defending his actions? Does this even matter?

Lance Armstrong participated in a Q&A with Professor Roger Pielke, Jr. and the Introduction to Sports Governance class at the University of Boulder/ Colorado on Monday. Armstrong, former pro-cyclist (was stripped of all his Tour de France (TdF) titles because of extensive doping), spoke to the CU sports governance class in Boulder/ Colorado. He promised:“ You’re not going to hear any bullshit today. Everything you hear today is true.“ The first question was wheather Armstrong could have won the TdF titles without blood doping. His answer was: no.


Interesting remarks during the Q&A:

  • „This era that we were in, this era of doping was so powerful.“
  • “EPO in that era was not like testosterone, HGH or cortisone.“
  • “I often refer to it as high-octane and low-octane. HGH, testosterone, cortisone (…) It’s kind of low-octane, those are one-percenters; EPO is a 10-percenter.“
  • “In any sport, if you throw 10 percent into it (…) You might find some success on a stage by stage basis, in a one-day race, but you won’t get over the mountains and win time trials with other guys that are high-octane.”
  • “They say they had to do this, but to go back 10 to 15 years to bring a marquee case. (…) I don’t know how John Elway would feel if they went back and stripped him of his ’99 Super Bowl title.“

Armstrong was very precise regarding his opinion about the US Anti Doping Agency (USADA). Armstrong stated: „The organisation is absolutely necessary. It’s probably the most inefficient and ineffective organisation in the world with the amount of money it has.“ Armstrong’s remarks about the USADA are provocative, critical, but at the same time interesting. It’s informative to have an elite athlete (no matter if covicted of doping or not) talk about the anti-doping programs. Armstrong said that USADA was using him as a scrapegoat and used his case to show that the organization was effective. Whether Armstrong is correct regarding his remarks is debateable, but there are clear differences between different professional sports. In some leagues testing is very rare or nonexistent. For instance the doping cases in the NBA are inexplicable low in comparison to other professional sports leagues (for example the MLB) ( Doping in der NBA – Folge 1 ).

But what about some of Armstrong’s remarks? What striked me are the similarities to statements made by some anti-doping researchers. For example Armstrong said that USADA is ineffective because only about 0.2-0.7% get caught („But if you consider a budget of $10 or $15 or $20 million a year, and then you lay that out over the testing results, which come back at (…) 0.2% (…) 0.7% come back as positive, we know that is not a realistic number. I don’t know what the number is, whether it’s 10 or 20 or 50, I don’t know“). In many countries this number (of caught athletes) is even lower. Many national anti-doping agencies don’t catch cheats, so the numbers support Armstrong’s argument. Many anti-doping experts would support Armstrong’s argument that national anti-doping agencies are weak.

Similar remarks come from Prof. Perikles Simon, one of the most regognized anti-doping scientists in Germany. The percentages of the actual doping cases are low. Armstrong isn’t sure how many athletes are doped. He says as high as 50% is possible. Molecularbiologist Prof. Simon thinks that more than 50% have used performance enhancing drugs during the Olympics. Even in funsports doping is common. Dopers seem to be smarter than ever (Link:http://www.faz.net/aktuell/sport/olympische-winterspiele/doping-experte-perikles-simon-60-prozent-aller-olympia-starter-sind-gedopt-12785060.html).

Whether the USADA budget is appropriate is a tougher question. It seems that the budget of USADA is rather low. If you compare it to the money professional sports has at its disposal, the financing of anti doping agencies internationally is fractional.

So is it important if Armstrong is honest or still defending some of his actions? It doesn’t really matter, more important is to give both sides the chance to speak about the issues. Events like at the University of Boulder can only be supported to find out more about the current state of professional sports and the thinking of professional athletes.

One question remains: Would Lance Armstrong do it again? 😉

Interesting Links:

Deceptive behavior in doping related interviews: The case of Lance Armstrong

Using the Rhetoric of Atonement to Analyze Lance Armstrong’s Failed Attempt at Redeeming His Public Image

The dynamics of doping: Lance Armstrong, the United States Anti-Doping Agency and th
e regulatory governance of professional cycling

The dynamics of doping : Lance Armstrong, USADA and the regulation and... (2015)

Der Fall Armstrong (GERMAN)

Bei einer Diskussion an der University of Boulder kristisierte der ehemalige Tour-de-France-Gewinner Lance Armstrong die US-Anti-Doping-Agentur (USADA) deutlich. Armstrong griff sowohl die USADA als auch den Chefermittler Tygarts an und beschrieb sie als „eine ineffektive und ineffiziente Organisation“. Armstrong selbst sieht sich als prominentes Opfer der nationalen Anti-Doping-Agentur und zeigte wenig Einsicht hinsichtlich seiner Vergehen. Er glaubt für die Glaubwürdigkeit der Organisation geopfert worden zu sein. Ganz unrecht wird er mit dieser Aussage nicht haben. Wie ist es sonst möglich, dass es z.B. in der NBA nahezu keine Dopingfälle gibt. In einer Liga die mindestens 82 Saisonspiele für jede einzelne Mannschaft vorsieht ( Doping in der NBA – Folge 1 ).

Der Molekularbiologen Perikles Simon sieht dies ähnlich und glaubt, dass mehr als 50% der Athleten bei Olympia 2012 gedopt waren. Selbst in sogenannten Funsportarten werden Dopingmittel genutzt um Leistungen zu steigern. Die Doper agierten dabei „klüger und hartnäckiger“ als jemals zuvor.

Einen weltbekannten Doper zu interviewen ist der richtige Weg, nur über Konversationen kann mehr über die Athleten und ihre Gedanken und Einstellung gelernt werden. Veranstaltungen wie die an der University of Boulder/ Colorado sind zu unterstützen. Beide Seiten sowohl die USADA und Lance Armstrong zu Wort kommen zu lassen, erweitert den Horizont hinsichtlich dieses schwierigen Themas. Die Diskussionsveranstaltung der University of Boulder/ Colorado drehte sich insgesamt um die Arbeit von verschiedenen Sportorganisationen.

Lance Armstrong Interview 2014

Outside the Lines

Autor: derballluegtnicht

Writes about the politics of sports. For him sports and politics always mix.

Kommentar verfassen

Trage deine Daten unten ein oder klicke ein Icon um dich einzuloggen:


Du kommentierst mit deinem WordPress.com-Konto. Abmelden /  Ändern )


Du kommentierst mit deinem Facebook-Konto. Abmelden /  Ändern )

Verbinde mit %s


Insights on sport business, culture, and ethics.

The Olympians

From 1964 to 2020

Moritz Cleve

University of Florida Doctoral Fellow

sport and politics always mix (Blog)

NYT > Top Stories

sport and politics always mix (Blog)

Edge of Sports Recent Columns

sport and politics always mix (Blog)


sport and politics always mix (Blog)

der ball lügt nicht

sport and politics always mix (Blog)

%d Bloggern gefällt das: