|Armstrong training ride, Rocky Mountains, Colorado.|
Here in the United States we have this quaint tradition of innocence presumed until proven guilty. Now not everyone the state fails to prove guilty is innocent, but our tradition is that the onus is on the state, acting on behalf of the people, to prove their allegations before taking action.
The question of whether or not cancer survivor and elite distance athlete Lance Armstrong has used performance enhancing substances is not new to the world. People, usually French press, French fans and the occasional French magistrate, have been alleging there must be some reason this rider has been so strong, and in their wistful, whimsical way dismiss the tremendous natural ability he possessed, which was magnified by his burning desire to succeed and willingness to put himself through a tremendous amount of physical pain, and to do it over and over again. If you are French, it is easier to simply allege he took unfair advantage. Thus, they have pressed and pushed to protect their national sport from interlopers from across the sea. To that end, Mr. Armstrong has been scrutinized more intensely then any other rider. Over 500 tests were taken. Urine tests. Blood tests. Tests after stage wins. Random tests throughout the race season. Random tests through the off season. Random tests through the preseason training period. Throughout it all he has obliged the governing bodies of cycling, making himself available and producing sample after sample, all of which were tested, and through the twenty years he was competing they consistently showed no evidence of illegal drug use.
''Any time we have overwhelming proof of doping, our mandate is to initiate the case through the process and see it to conclusion as was done in this case,'' said USADA chief executive Travis Tygart.What a bonehead.