Being a cancer survivor and having had past experiences with LIVESTRONG I have been heavily following what has been going on with Lance Armstrong. I watched the first part of his interview with Oprah and will most definitely be watching the second part tonight. I have also spent the better part of this morning exploring many different news articles, blog posts by both cancer survivors and your everyday citizens. I also tuned in to watch Doug Ulman on the Today show (well I watched it online as I missed the original broadcast).
As far as my own perspective on Lance I must say that I always knew that the likelihood of him having been involved with doping was far greater than him not being involved. When this all came about these past few months I had just been involved with LIVESTRONG at the YMCA and was sporting the famous yellow LIVESTRONG wristband. I can't tell you the number of people that commented on it whether it be positive or negative. I was always more upset by the negative comments but that is because the bracelet means something entirely different to me but I will explain that later.
I must admit that I do feel some sense of anger, disappointment and just plain betrayal from Lance for denying it for so long and going to the lengths he did to try and hide the truth. I will certainly not say that what he has done to his former teammates, their families as well as many others in the cycling community has any justification because quite frankly I don't believe it does. What he did was just flat out wrong and to carry on the way he has for so many years made it that much worse.
Having said that I also have to ask, with everything that he has done at this exact moment who is it really coming down on? You could argue many things here, the cycling community, LIVESTRONG, his fellow teammates, etc. However in my opinion it is really only coming down on Lance. He is the one that is being striped of all his medals and titles, he has lost the respect of lots of people, he has burned bridges with more people then we as the public probably know about, he has even lost the foundation that; despite what many think; he worked so hard to build. I am sure there will be even more fall out in the form of law suits and such as the weeks/months continue. As he said in his interview, all of this is everything that he deserves, he made his choices and has to live with the outcome of finally admitting what he did. I know it will certainly be a long time until he has earned back my trust, however his personal actions will never cause me to not support LIVESTRONG.
I will always and most likely forever be an advocate and supporter of LIVESTRONG. I have not removed my LIVESTRONG bracelet during any of this and I will not. I wear it for what it means to me and to me it does not represent Lance Armstrong. It represents my own journey that the LIVESTRONG Foundation has helped me immensely with. I can honestly say that without their survivorship programs I would not be living the life that I am today. On the same token those programs would not be in existence without all the people and organizations that support LIVESTRONG. I view LIVESTRONG and Lance Armstrong as two separate entities. I have very high hopes that LIVESTRONG will continue to get the support and do amazing things for the cancer community. I say bravo to all LIVESTRONG staff and program creators for all their hard work. Take it from me what they do is truly life changing.
I know there are many different opinions right now, this is just my own.
I live strong and will continue to LIVESTRONG.