‘Livestrong’, Live Wrong

Sports Editor
Up until this year, Lance Armstrong stood as an inspirtation and role model to many Americans.
Armstrong not only battled cancer in his life, but he also won a record seven consecutive Tour de France titles between 1999 to 2005.
During one of those Tour de France races, I remember Armstrong lagging behind the first place cyclist by over ten minutes.
Armstong suddenly went into high gear, pushing and eventually passing his opponent.
Many Americans, like myself, were proud of our overcoming champion.
At least until he was disqualified and banned for doping offenses by the United States Doping Agency last year.
He was stripped of every single one of his victories because of his charges.
Instead of remaining a pinnacle of American pride, Armstrong now stands as a prime example of athletic disappointment.
Following his banning, his cancer foundation changed its name from the Lance Armstrong Foundation to the Livestrong Foundation.
Armstrong’s story represents the story of many American athletes who fall prey to using drugs to pump up their play.
In my personal opinion, drugs do absolutely nothing for the players or for any type
of competition, from cycling to baseball to football.
Competition and sports are driven by athletes pushing themselves to score the last point or beat the opponent by that last second at the finish line.
In competition not affected by drugs, the game is purely influenced by the player’s skill and natural ability.
The use of drugs to enhance certain players play unevens the competitive field.
Some may argue that using enhancing drugs makes the playing field more even and competitive because some players have certain God- given characteristics that set those taller, bigger and faster players apart.
back after the embarassment he has endured, or race all races cleanly?
Many athletes pride themselves on successes, like winning national championships and getting individual awards.
With the assistance of enhancing drugs, these athletes cannot take full pride in what they have accomplished because thier success depended on factors outside their own skill.
For doping issues, the most recognized sport is baseball.
Athletes such as Gary Sheffield, David Ortiz, Mark McGwire, Jason Giami, Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds are among the many baseball players who have been involved in doping offenses.
I would argue that differences between players However, cycling has
andsomeplayersbeingbetter than others are what makes sports interesting.
Additionally, many players who use drugs to enhance themselves don’t really need the drugs anyway.
For example, as previously mentioned, Armstrong won seven Tour de France races.
The drive needed to accomplish something as phenomenal as that doesn’t come from taking drugs.
That force that caused him to push back all obstacles, from cancer to cycling, came from within himself.
Granted, Armstrong may not have won all seven Tour de France races by himself.
He may have only won half of those races.
But is it better to win seven races and have to give them
just as many, if not more, offenders of doping abuse than baseball.
Athletic drug abuse doesn’t just affect American sports. For example, 48 hours before last year’s Olympics, nine global competitors were suspended.
In summary, the amount of athletes who use drugs for sports is staggering.
In my opinion, it is better to play as yourself than to play with a drug that aids you to play “better.”
As cliche as it sounds, stay true to yourself and avoid drugs to enhance your play.
For more information about drugs used in sports, visit the Athletes Against Drugs website at www. athletesagainstdrugs.com.