Lance Armstrong was a role model to so many, a man that looked cancer in the face and defeated it multiple times. Not only did he beat a life-threatening disease on several occasions but he also became the face of elite fitness by winning 7 Tour De France titles, which is equivalent to the Super Bowl in the respective sport of cycling.
For those of you who do not know, these races are 21 days long and are about 200 miles long. But none of that matters anymore because this very same man admitted to Oprah that he used performance enhancing drugs to attain the greatness that cemented him as the undisputed king of cycling.
We saw the dignity of a man who was formerly on top of the world get completely thrown away. We saw his character wash away with his tears of embarrassment and we saw his legacy deteriorate as he was stripped of all his titles. The guy who managed to raise $470 million dollars through his Livestrong foundation and has helped so many fight the battle of cancer is a liar, a cheater, a fake.
Any positive contribution Armstrong had on this world has now been forgotten. No one cares about all the good this man has done or how incredible of an athlete he was. All he will be remembered for now is how he disgraced the sport he made more famous than it ever was before not too long ago.
Of course we see the severity of his actions and of course lying and cheating is bad but we are also here to argue with you that this man didn’t really do anything that catastrophic. He just did what everyone else was doing at the time, the only reason he is in the spotlight for his wrongdoings is because his immense success makes him the poster-boy of cycling.
Life is a competition. We all strive to get ahead, we all try to be better than everyone else and we all have dreams of being on top of the world in our respective industries because the only thing that matters in this country is winning. No one remembers second place. Do you really think that the man that came in second place to Lance Armstrong wasn’t doping as well? Of course he was, but does anyone even know this guy’s name?
We all want to win and will win at all costs, even if we have to cheat to do it. Our modern day society makes it very hard to get to legitimately or fairly reach the goals we feel we need to accomplish. Of course practice and hard work will get you the skills to compete but we don’t just want to compete, we want to win. And that’s why Lance Armstrong did what he did.
Donald Trump once said that if he didn’t bend the rules and do things that might of seemed immoral or incorrect then he wouldn’t be where he was today. Our world isn’t designed for everyone to succeed, it is designed to weed out those who don’t really have what it takes to do so. You have to take risks, bend the rules a little bit and maybe walk on a thin line just so you can end up on top.
It all comes down to how much you are willing to risk and how far are you want to bend the rules to get what you want. Do I really think that Lance Armstrong regrets what he has done? Not even a little bit because he got away with it for so long and was worshiped as a God for several years. No lawsuits or regrets can ever take those years of glory away from him.
It’s rare to find someone who isn’t okay with cheating to reach success at the same level of what Armstrong achieved. All this means is that you have to cheat as well if you want your battle for greatness to at least be a fair fight. Cheating is the American way.
We live in a world that only rewards results, not effort. We look the other way when it comes to the ethical and even criminal transgressions of those who come out on the winning end. Look at Enron, look at Wall Street back in 2007, look at Lance Armstrong and the list goes on and on. You really want to tell me that Warren Buffet got where he is today with 100% honesty and legality?
Even from the time we are little kids, we cheat to get by. We cheat on exams to get ahead so that we can get better grades so that we can go to a good college and get a good job. I cheated on every single test I have ever taken. Why? Because even the A students were cheating, so to keep up with them you had to do the same. It wasn’t about taking the easy way out, it was about staying competitive.
Our world is full of cheaters yet when Lance Armstrong gets caught we want to call him wrong for doing so. Well, why don’t we all look at ourselves in the mirror and ask ourselves how many times have we cheated to get ahead?
Honesty is not praised like it should be these days. Everyone has skeletons in the closet, it’s just about how well you are able to lock that closet and how long it will be until it is opened. Cheaters will continue to win as the chances of being caught are shrinking with the punishments for doing so. The benefits of a successful cheat far outstrip any potential threat of getting caught.
Cheating is embedded in our culture, and this sad world has only embraced and encouraged it. What it all comes down to is greed and ambition. There are those who cheat to stay competitive without getting caught, and those who become too greedy to realize how much closer they are to getting caught.
The truth always comes out at some point but there is no reason to look down on someone when we are all just as bad. As Jesse Ventura said: “Win if you can, lose if you must, but always cheat.”
Preston Waters | Elite.