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Letter to the Editor: U.S. Anti-Doping Agency’s Crusade against Lance Armstrong Misplaced, Misguided

Sports, sports, sports. ... We love them 24/7. We have favorite teams, heroes, yellow towels and painted faces. This time we have a new twist in the case of Lance Armstrong. Even the name seems invincible.

Lance saved the sport of cycling, the Tour de France, and has made surviving cancer an art form. He has a legion (28 million) of cancer survivors who owe their Livestrong lifestyle to his foundation. Cycling is a grueling sport, underfunded and governed by domestic and international organizations that don’t always agree on “anything.” Their processes in governing, in this case is not relying solely on drug testing but the testimony and recollections, from up to 10 years ago, from the convicted, the envious and the disgruntled, all having made a living on Lance’s coat tails.

The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA, which means “worn-out in Spanish), has taken up the mantel of judge, jury and executioner. They’ve pursued cycling’s “big fish” to improve the world of cycling in order to satisfy the existence of their quasi-government agency. Lance has never failed a drug test! He has been accused of everything the past 10 years, save creating a hoax about his cancer survival. The agency’s collection of testimony is of the “he said, she said” quality with no room for due process. Their witnesses are a ragtag group of riders like Floyd Landis, a turncoat Amish lad who dumped his family in Lancaster and just couldn’t make it.

There’s nothing about professional sports that is fair. From the salaries, the equipment or what everyone is looking for: the level playing field. Sports are entertainment! We don’t care about the NFL’s health care or the NHL’s suicide rate. We just love the games. The Olympics advocated “amateurism.” Tell that to the Russians, the East Germans and the Chinese. Life goes on, and there more important issues ... like drug testing for bureaucrats and rock bands.

The Lance Armstrong Foundation is a much bigger organization than USADA, and has a more humanitarian mission. Before the USADA keeps talking about “stripping “ titles and placing asterisks in the record books, I’d like to remind them of presidents, Wall Street moguls and even the clergy who have not attained sainthood and who have skated through their worlds unscathed.

Robert N. Lettieri
Fastrack Bicycles
Santa Barbara

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