A brief thought about Lance Armstrong

January 5, 2013 at 5:58 pm (Icepick) (, , )

Part of Lance Armstrong’s cancer treatment was chemotherapy. Is it any wonder he became convinced of the truth of better living through chemicals?

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8 Comments

  1. chickelit said,

    Lance has moved on to bitter living through chemistry.

  2. Icepick said,

    Oh I don’t know about that. What little I’ve read suggests he was always a jerk, so I don’t think anything has really changed.

  3. mockturtle said,

    I may have suggested this before but it’s entirely possible that his testicular cancer was caused by his use of testosterone, just as using estrogen can cause breast cancer in women.

  4. Icepick said,

    Possible, but there doesn’t seem to be a link in the literature, despite at least some studies being done. It also appears that testosterone supplements for hypo-gonadal men has been a common treatment for over six decades.

    Given the things he likely would have been taking for cycling performance enhancement, it looks as though Armstrong’s cancer was likely just a fluke. I’m willing to consider any other evidence anyone has, though.

  5. karen said,

    Was there ever any evidence(of his cheating) through testing, anyway? I’d always heard he tested clean.

    Truthfully- all performances of athletes cause me to wonder- and i never really was that way- was more in awe of what hard work and determination and focusfocusfocus can create as opposed to what one injected or ate or however things get done.

    Once i saw how prevalent these enhancement drugs seemed to be in baseball, i lost all awe of the power and prowess of these people. Just overpaid and over bulked. Too bad for me, really. I remember writing to the ball outfits and getting stickers and a form letter about the clubs.

    Time. It’s hard to look back and see how trusting i once was. That things could be exactly as they seem.

  6. Icepick said,

    karen, none of those ‘roided up monsters accomplished anything without a helluva lot of talent and hard work. ‘Roids and Human Growth Hormone in particular aren’t going to do a couch potato like me much good. (I don’t know enough about EPO and blood doping and that kind of thing to comment on what they might do for me.) Pump me full of the same stuff and I would probably get a tiny bit leaner and a little more muscular, but mostly I’d just be at risk of getting acne and cranky(-er) attitude.

    I recently watched a documentary on the 1988 Men’s 100M sprint at the Seoul Olympiad, the one where Ben Johnson set a new world record (9.79 seconds) and almost immediately tested positive for horse steroids. It was called 9.79* and was part of ESPN’s “30 for 30″ series. I highly recommend it. I think 6 of the athletes in the finals were ultimately tainted by PEDs in some fashion or another. But when they were talking to some of the people involved one of them mentioned that when clean people could lift their maximum once a day about every second or third day. When on the juice, they could lift their maximum two times a day every day. That’s up to a six-fold increase in work capacity! What would you do if you could work six times as much in the same amount of time?

    And what counts as an illegal performance enhancer versus a legal one? Steroids were legal and permitted in the NFL up until sometime in the 1980s. Something that doesn’t get mentioned often, but doesn’t get mentioned every now and again is that one reason the Pittsburgh Stealers were so dominant in the 1970s is that they were systematically using steroids. Sports Illustrated and others have written about this from time to time. Others had pioneered the use of ‘roids in pro football (most well known was Lyle Alzado of the Denver Broncos, Cleveland Browns and Oakland Raiders), but the Stealers at some point started doing it very systematically, with the team doctors involved IIRC. But that doesn’t get talked about much, and hey, it was legal!

    Another legal use of a steroid was when Kirk Gibson hit the game winning home run in Game 1 of the 1988 World Series. He could barely even walk, but they shot him up with cortisone and he was able to work through the pain for one at bat! Of course cortical steroids work differently than anabolic steroids. But the point is that cortisone shots are still in use, and they sure as Hell enhance performance! What is legal and what isn’t is rather arbitrary.

    But none of this stuff (or the currently popular PED of choice, Adderral) will do anyone any good unless they have talent and work hard. So to an extent some of the things we admire about athletes are still true, even for some of the most notorious cheaters.

    Incidentally 9.79* is on right now! Mostly over, though. It will be on again on January 12 at 2 PM on ESPN, although I’m sure that schedule could change.

  7. Icepick said,

    And no, Lance Armstrong never failed a drug test during his years of dominance. But neither did lots of other guys that got caught from those years. Some of them (I believe Jan Uhlrich was one) were caught when the people smuggling the drugs got caught, and investigating their office paperwork turned up some of the culprits. Not failing a drug test isn’t actually proof that one isn’t juiced up!

    And a lot of people that eventually fail a drug test (Ben Johnson was one) had passed many drug tests while they were cheating. In fact, Johnson only got caught because they goofed up his schedule of intake. Or perhaps because Carl Lewis had a friend give Johnson a tainted beer in the testing room after the race!

  8. karen said,

    I guess i spoke poorly, above. The dedication and other obvious necessary traits are present of all great athletes- and it isn’t that they work less because of the ~juice~. I just think it’s pretty unfair tot he equally talented athletes that refuse to go the hepped up route.

    How could a great player ever compete against the prevalence of dirty usage?

    It’d be great to watch regular-yet talented- people play sports against e/other on pure skill and hard work- w/out the faker y. Haha- ck out the spell checked word:0).

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