In light of his recent admission that he will stop fighting the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency's accusations about his alleged steroid use, legendary cyclist and 7-time Tour De France winner Lance Armstrong is expected to receive a lifetime ban and have his 7 titles stripped away. As a fellow Texan, cancer survivor, and inspiration to many, do these allegations tarnish his legacy?
Sophomore athletic training major Kenna Hodeaux seems to think we should look for more concrete evidence before we judge a man so brutally.
"I mean, rumors can kill a person's career and I definitely think they need solid proof before they rip everything away from him." said Hodeaux of Armstrong. "He's worked so hard and just because someone is claiming he took steroids doesn't mean we should judge him on that one instance, especially if he hasn't done anything wrong."
For those unfamiliar, Lance Armstrong hasn't ever officially failed a drug test. The allegations from the USADA stem from claims originally made by Armstrong's former teammate Tyler Hamilton in May 2011. In his recently released book, The Secret Race, Hamilton claims that he and Lance used performance-enhancing drugs together. He also states that Armstrong and the International Cycling Union covered up a failed drug test in 2001 before the Tour of Switzerland.
When asked if he thought these allegations tarnish Armstrong's legacy in any way, junior nursing major Mark Neal said, "I don't think it's completely ruined, I think he has still inspired people. The fact that his titles have been stripped does put a dent in his reputation though."
Through all the rumors and supposed dirty laundry, Armstrong's supporters seem to be sticking by his side. While they don't love what they're hearing about the scandal, they do recognize the massive amount of achievements that the cyclist has made for the cycling and cancer communities. I think it's important to wait until all the facts are out in the open, however. Without solid proof, it's not fair to condemn a man based on the words of a man who is undoubtedly profiting from the scandal.
Many times, sports heroes have failed drug tests or have been put in a negative light by the media. Ultimately, people forget the rumors and scandals but remember the stories that made those people legends in the first place. How many people are still talking about Yankees third-baseman Alex Rodriguez's admitted steroid use? How about NFL Hall of Famer Michael Irvin's substance abuse scandal? Exactly. In time, people grow and move on.
It is my firm opinion that we should remember Lance Armstrong for the strides he and his organization have made in the cancer community. We should not judge a man solely based on mistakes he supposedly made 10 years in the past while we continue to praise others who have done the same. What's ultimately important is the here and now. Everyone makes mistakes but Armstrong's contributions are unquestionable and his story is absolutely remarkable, steroids or not. Rumors and scandals will fade with time. Legends, however, live strong.
Lauren Hart is a sophomore writing major from Atlanta, GA. Jordan Ray is a sophomore journalism major from Houston, Texas.