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Lance Armstrong Still Has Support For Symbolic Reasons

Let's be honest about this situation with Lance Armstrong likely being stripped of seven Tour de France titles for his alleged doping. Cycling isn't baseball. In America, people don't care about the sport nearly as much, so compromising the integrity of cycling isn't quite like "cheating" the sacred record books in baseball.

And Lance Armstrong is still the greatest cyclist any of us have ever known about, whether you take doping into account or not. But Armstrong isn't going to maintain his positive public image because of his pedaling greatness. It's the symbolism he represents in overcoming so much to climb back to the top.

Our very own Bomani Jones always gives the perfect analogy for this.

In that link, Bomani explains how telling people that Armstrong cheated is like telling Luther Vandross fans that he probably wasn't singing to women in his records. No one wants to hear it or believe it because it goes against everything we understood about that particular figure.

But Armstrong is still a sympathetic and inspirational figure for all the same reasons he was before anyone started talking about him failing a drug test at the 1999 Tour de France. All the work he did for cancer patients is still relevant and him winning the Tour is still significant in that regard.

Just like with Luther, even though it was never acknowledged or made public that he was singing to men (he wouldn't confirm or deny being gay when he was asked). Just because he wasn't singing to who we thought he was singing to in those love songs doesn't take away from the fact that a lot of us 80s babies were conceived to those songs.

Stripping Armstrong of his titles doesn't mean he didn't win them and it doesn't mean it wasn't important that he did.

Images by eflon used in background images under a Creative Commons license. Thank you.