Fall from Grace…
Armstrong-the-World-Beater to Armstrong-the-Cheater
Lance Armstrong 7 time ‘Tour De France’ – ‘World biggest cycling challenge’ Champion
- Lance Edward Armstrong , born as Lance Edward Gunderson, September 18, 1971 is a world champion, or rather he was a world champion in the eyes of people around the world till very recently.
- Armstrong won the Tour de France a record seven consecutive times between 1999 and 2005.
- Even in 2012 when he was he was disqualified from all the results since August 1998 for using and distributing performance-enhancing drugs and was banned from professional cycling for life, he continued to be the world champion in they eyes of his admirers around the world.
- Even though Armstrong repeatedly denied doping, he did not appeal the decision to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
- But finally it came down to this a few days back on the sets of America’s favorite agony aunt Oprah Winfrey‘s show that he admitted to widespread use of performance enhancing drugs throughout his career. Still he is not ashamed, he’s still not accepting that he cheated, his defense, everybody was doing it, so he did not have any advantage over others by using the performance enhancing drugs.
- At 16, Armstrong began competing as a triathlete and became a national sprint-course triathlon champion in 1989 and 1990.
- In 1992, Armstrong began his career as a professional cyclist with the Motorola team.
- He had notable success between 1993 and 1996, including the 1993 World Championship, Clásica de San Sebastián in 1995, an overall victory in the penultimate Tour DuPont and a handful of stage victories in Europe, including the stage to Limoges in the Tour de France.
- The cycling world was in deep shock and pain when Armstrong was diagnosed with testicular cancer in October 1996, that had spread to his brain and lungs. His cancer treatments included brain and testicular surgery and extensive chemotherapy. In February 1997, he was declared cancer-free and the same year he founded the Lance Armstrong Foundation for cancer support.
- By January 1998, Armstrong had renewed serious cycling training, having signed a new racing contract with US Postal. He was a member of the US Postal/Discovery team between 1998 and 2005.
- On July 24, 2005, Armstrong retired from racing at the end of the 2005 Tour de France, but returned to competitive cycling with the Astana team in January 2009 and finished third in the 2009 Tour de France.
- Between 2010 and 2011, he raced with the UCI ProTeam he helped found, Team Radio Shack.
- While facing the in-depth and long investigation from US Federal Investigation investigators, he finally announced his retirement from active competitive cycling on February 16, 2011, still pronouncing himself totally clean from all the accusations.
- In February 2012, he returned to triathlon, competing as a professional in several events.
- In June 2012, the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) charged Armstrong with having used illicit performance-enhancing drugs and in August it announced a lifetime ban from competition, which applies in all sports which follow the World Anti Doping Agency code, as well as the stripping of all titles won since August 1998.
- The USADA report stated that Armstrong enforced “the most sophisticated, professionalized and successful doping program that sport has ever seen”.
- On October 22, 2012, the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI), the sport’s governing body, announced its decision to accept USADA’s findings regarding Armstrong.
Finally in January 2013, Lance Armstrong, under severe pressure he is facing on legal front in US, where, the investigator has got a water tight case against him which will damage him beyond repairs, he finally accepted in a TV show (yet to telecast in India), nonchalantly that he did it, but he did not cheat because every one else was doing the same.
His fan and supporters around the world are, well not really shocked, but saddened, by yet another sign of his arrogance and disregard for the basic sporting spirit. It would not have mattered if he was a business tycoon trying to use the loopholes in the law to make money. It may not have been so sad if he was a gullible athlete duped into it by some coaches and sports boards. But to know that he did all this, fully knowing what he was doing, with the intent of winning and earning a name for himself in sports field and fooling millions of sports fans around the world is the saddest part of this Live Strong Saga. This is the sad end of innocence, if there was any left in the World of Sports.
Did he really thought about the innocence of sports, his fans, okay leave all that aside, even about his own family and what would be the consequences of his action for them?
I was pained when Ben Johnson was stripped of his Gold medal…
I lost faith in the Cricket world after the betting and match fixing allegations hit it big time some years back here in India.
I have complete lost interest in watching sports now, a really huge fall from the sky into the darkness, from the days when I was crazy about all sports as a teenager to now when I do not watch it at all.
Paradise Lost by John Milton
The Fall of Lucifer (Biblical Story)
LUCIFER in heaven, before his rebellion, was a high and exalted angel, next in honor to God’s dear Son. His countenance, like those of the other angels, was mild and expressive of happiness. His forehead was high and broad, showing a powerful intellect. His form was perfect; his bearing noble and majestic. A special light beamed in his countenance and shone around him brighter and more beautiful than around the other angels; yet Christ, God’s dear Son, had the pre-eminence over all the angelic host. He was one with the Father before the angels were created. Lucifer was envious of Christ, and gradually assumed command which devolved on Christ alone.
The great Creator assembled the heavenly host, that He might in the presence of all the angels confer special honor upon His Son. The Son was seated on the throne with the Father, and the heavenly throng of holy angels was gathered around them. The Father then made known that it was ordained by Himself that Christ, His Son, should be equal with Himself; so that wherever was the presence of His Son, it was as His own presence. The word of the Son was to be obeyed as readily as the word of the Father. His Son He had invested with authority to command the heavenly host. Especially was His Son to work in union with Himself in the anticipated creation of the earth and every living thing that should exist upon the earth. His Son would carry out His will and His purposes but would do nothing of Himself alone. The Father’s will would be fulfilled in Him.
Lucifer was envious and jealous of Jesus Christ. Yet when all the angels bowed to Jesus to acknowledge His supremacy and high authority and rightful rule, he bowed with them; but his heart was filled with envy and hatred. Christ had been taken into the special counsel of God in regard to His plans, while Lucifer was unacquainted with them. He did not understand, neither was he permitted to know, the purposes of God. But Christ was acknowledged sovereign of heaven, His power and authority to be the same as that of God Himself. Lucifer thought that he was himself a favorite in heaven among the angels. He had been highly exalted, but this did not call forth from him gratitude and praise to his Creator. He aspired to the height of God Himself. He gloried in his loftiness. He knew that he was honored by the angels. He had a special mission to execute. He had been near the great Creator, and the ceaseless beams of glorious light enshrouding the eternal God had shone especially upon him. He thought how angels had obeyed his command with pleasurable alacrity. Were not his garments light and beautiful? Why should Christ thus be honored before himself?
He left the immediate presence of the Father, dissatisfied and filled with envy against Jesus Christ. Concealing his real purposes, he assembled the angelic host. He introduced his subject, which was himself. As one aggrieved, he related the preference God had given Jesus to the neglect of himself. He told them that henceforth all the sweet liberty the angels had enjoyed was at an end. For had not a ruler been appointed over them, to whom they from henceforth must yield servile honor? He stated to them that he had called them together to assure them that he no longer would submit to this invasion of his rights and theirs; that never would he again bow down to Christ; that he would take the honor upon himself which should have been conferred upon him, and would be the commander of all who would submit to follow him and obey his voice.
There was contention among the angels. Lucifer and his sympathizers were striving to reform the government of God. They were discontented and unhappy because they could not look into His unsearchable wisdom and ascertain His purposes in exalting His Son, and endowing Him with such unlimited power and command. They rebelled against the authority of the Son.
Angels that were loyal and true sought to reconcile this mighty, rebellious angel to the will of his Creator. They justified the act of God in conferring honor upon Christ, and with forcible reasoning sought to convince Lucifer that no less honor was his now than before the Father had proclaimed the honor which He had conferred upon His Son. They clearly set forth that Christ was the Son of God, existing with Him before the angels were created; and that He had ever stood at the right hand of God, and His mild, loving authority had not heretofore been questioned; and that He had given no commands but what it was joy for the heavenly host to execute. They urged that Christ’s receiving special honor from the Father, in the presence of the angels, did not detract from the honor that Lucifer had heretofore received. The angels wept. They anxiously sought to move him to renounce his wicked design and yield submission to their Creator; for all had heretofore been peace and harmony, and what could occasion this dissenting, rebellious voice?
Lucifer refused to listen. And then he turned from the loyal and true angels, denouncing them as slaves. These angels, true to God, stood in amazement as they saw that Lucifer was successful in his effort to incite rebellion. He promised them a new and better government than they then had, in which all would be freedom. Great numbers signified their purpose to accept him as their leader and chief commander. As he saw his advances were met with success, he flattered himself that he should yet have all the angels on his side, and that he would be equal with God Himself, and his voice of authority would be heard in commanding the entire host of heaven. Again the loyal angels warned him, and assured him what must be the consequences if he persisted; that He who could create the angels could by His power overturn all their authority and in some signal manner punish their audacity and terrible rebellion. To think that an angel should resist the law of God which was as sacred as Himself! They warned the rebellious to close their ears to Lucifer’s deceptive reasonings, and advised him and all who had been affected by him to go to God and confess their wrong for even admitting a thought of questioning His authority.
Many of Lucifer’s sympathizers were inclined to heed the counsel of the loyal angels and repent of their dissatisfaction and be again received to the confidence of the Father and His dear Son. The mighty revolter then declared that he was acquainted with God’s law, and if he should submit to servile obedience, his honor would be taken from him. No more would he be intrusted with his exalted mission. He told them that himself and they also had now gone too far to go back, and he would brave the consequences, for to bow in servile worship to the Son of God he never would; that God would not forgive, and now they must assert their liberty and gain by force the position and authority which was not willingly accorded to them.
THUS IT WAS THAT LUCIFER, “THE LIGHT-BEARER,” THE SHARER OF GOD’S GLORY, THE ATTENDANT OF HIS THRONE, BY TRANSGRESSION BECAME SATAN, “THE ADVERSARY.” –PATRIARCHS AND PROPHETS
The loyal angels hastened speedily to the Son of God and acquainted Him with what was taking place among the angels. They found the Father in conference with His beloved Son, to determine the means by which, for the best good of the loyal angels, the assumed authority of Satan could be forever put down. The great God could at once have hurled this archdeceiver from heaven; but this was not His purpose. He would give the rebellious an equal chance to measure strength and might with His own Son and His loyal angels. In this battle every angel would choose his own side and be manifested to all. It would not have been safe to suffer any who united with Satan in his rebellion to continue to occupy heaven. They had learned the lesson of genuine rebellion against the unchangeable law of God, and this is incurable. If God had exercised His power to punish this chief rebel, disaffected angels would not have been manifested; hence, God took another course, for He would manifest distinctly to all the heavenly host His justice and His judgment.
War in Heaven
It was the highest crime to rebel against the government of God. All heaven seemed in commotion. The angels were marshaled in companies, each division with a higher commanding angel at its head. Satan was warring against the law of God, because ambitious to exalt himself and unwilling to submit to the authority of God’s Son, heaven’s great commander.
All the heavenly host were summoned to appear before the Father, to have each case determined. Satan unblushingly made known his dissatisfaction that Christ should be preferred before Him. He stood up proudly and urged that he should be equal with God and should be taken into conference with the Father and understand His purposes. God informed Satan, that to His Son alone He would reveal His secret purposes, and He required all the family in heaven, even Satan, to yield Him implicit, unquestioned obedience; but that he (Satan) had proved himself unworthy of a place in heaven. Then Satan exultingly pointed to his sympathizers, comprising nearly one half of all the angels, and exclaimed, “These are with me! Will you expel these also, and make such a void in heaven?” He then declared that he was prepared to resist the authority of Christ and to defend his place in heaven by force of might, strength against strength.
Good angels wept to hear the words of Satan and his exulting boasts. God declared that the rebellious should remain in heaven no longer. Their high and happy state had been held upon condition of obedience to the law which God had given to govern the high order of intelligences. But no provision had been made to save those who should venture to transgress His law. Satan grew bold in his rebellion, and expressed his contempt of the Creator’s law. This Satan could not bear. He claimed that angels needed no law but should be left free to follow their own will, which would ever guide them right; that law was a restriction of their liberty; and that to abolish law was one great object of his standing as he did. The condition of the angels, he thought, needed improvement. Not so the mind of God, who had made laws and exalted them equal to Himself. The happiness of the angelic host consisted in their perfect obedience to law. Each had his special work assigned him, and until Satan rebelled, there had been perfect order and harmonious action in heaven.
Then there was war in heaven. The Son of God, the Prince of heaven, and His loyal angels engaged in conflict with the archrebel and those who united with him. The Son of God and true, loyal angels prevailed; and Satan and his sympathizers were expelled from heaven. All the heavenly host acknowledged and adored the God of justice. Not a taint of rebellion was left in heaven. All was again peaceful and harmonious as before. Angels in heaven mourned the fate of those who had been their companions in happiness and bliss. Their loss was felt in heaven.
The Father consulted His Son in regard to at once carrying out their purpose to make man to inhabit the earth. He would place man upon probation to test his loyalty before he could be rendered eternally secure. If he endured the test wherewith God saw fit to prove him, he should eventually be equal with the angels. He was to have the favor of God, and he was to converse with angels, and they with him. He did not see fit to place them beyond the power of disobedience.
- IOC strips Lance Armstrong of Olympic bronze medal (3news.co.nz)
- Lance Armstrong Interview: Cyclist Confesses Doping To Oprah (huffingtonpost.com)
- Interview: Bike Pure speaks on Armstrong confession, Independent Commission and more (velonation.com)
- Armstrong left it ‘all on table’ with Oprah (nbcsports.msnbc.com)
- LIVESTREAM: Lance Armstrong talks to Oprah (3news.co.nz)