Roy Exum: Now Will You Believe Lance?

Thursday, January 17, 2013 - by Roy Exum
Roy Exum
Roy Exum

On the floor of my closet is a pair of the finest running shoes in the world. They are three shades of bright blue, made of different fabrics, intricate stitching and the very finest of materials. They are equipped with a full air-sole in the style of Nike’s best-selling AirMax model, but these are extra special. They are custom fitted and even have bright yellow tips on the blue laces to match the discreet yellow “LiveStrong” emblem on each shoe’s tongue.

Again, they are the finest in the world, having been made in something like three different continents before the final touches were done by hand in Vietnam, but suddenly the shoes have lost their luster. They are Lance Armstrong commemoratives – made as a smart tribute to the man who became the greatest cyclist and cancer-fighting humanitarian of our lifetime.

Today the shoes are still spectacular, in my mind the best ever, but Lance Armstrong is no longer viable. In what we are promised will be a “forthcoming” admission of guilt, Lance will be portrayed as a self-admitted liar and a despicable cheat over the next two nights. In a Hollywood-style confession that promises to be almost as sick as the decade of deceit and deception our former hero foisted on the world’s ever-gullible public, Armstrong has indicated he will finally tell the truth.

Armstrong will be interviewed both tonight and Friday by Oprah Winfrey, an equally-thirsty voice on her syndicated OWN (Oprah Winfrey Network) channel at 9 p.m. and the biggest question will be that posed to every viewer - if Lance Armstrong lied over blood-doping, illegal drugs, and cheating while winning a record seven Tour de France titles, how are you going to believe anything that the publicity-starved 41-year-old ego maniac might tell Oprah? Who is to really know?

We all remember when he suffered testicular cancer in 1996– and we gobbled up whole armfuls of the “Livestrong” rubber bracelets – but when he started that unprecedented march to those Tour de France titles from 1999 to 2005, it was almost too good to be true. He taught us about determination and rising above the odds. He made us appreciate cycling as one of the world’s greatest sports and his wholesome image generates hundreds of millions in very worthy donations for his cancer foundation.

But soon there were growing signs it was all a sham. Armstrong fought his accusers in a vicious way. He sued, he bullied, he ranted – all in a way where had he been Pinocchio he would have had no face to lose. As the noose tightened, he should have known the truth will always come out at the end but he fought until, at long last, he bitterly realized the real truth – that he had hung himself on his very own coil of rope.

So the next two nights of revelation – redemption is still too big a gamble here – is being viewed by cynics as a public-relations spin faster than the costliest graphite wheel and, no matter whether he can twist a lifetime ban into an eight-year sentence, our most glimmering star of just 10 years ago will be remembered for all time as a loathsome cheat who broke the very rules in sport he once so dutifully espoused.

In the past 24 months he has lost heavily. His lucrative Nike contract has not just been stripped away, his name on buildings and all memorabilia have been secreted away; believe this, the shoe giant was taken in just like the public. The honorary degrees, those seven yellow jerseys, and the international accolades have all been vacated.

The fraud that Lance Armstrong now represents is hideous, but far more taxing is the betrayed faith of the thousands of fellow cancer patients who pledged they would “Live Strong,” the innocent French children who stood by country roadways to wildly cheer the American on, and a grand sport that is now as devastated by repeated scandal as its one-time star.

Sure, he raised millions for cancer and was valiant in increasing awareness towards the disease, but he will now and forever be known as “Lance the Liar,” which is the saddest and most brutal epitaph imaginable for he who was once named King seven different times on the Champs-Elysees. No matter what Oprah might say and no matter how many sad violins might play, Lance Armstrong will now admit that his life’s crowning moment came only when he broke the world’s heart.

The shoes on the floor of my closet are still the best running shoes in the world. They are stunning with their high technology, their brilliance of design and their feel when you move. But they no longer have that luster, much like the truth itself after it has been bitterly and unfairly lost.

royexum@aol.com



Send Your Opinions To Chattanoogan.com

We welcome your opinions at Chattanoogan.com. Email to news@chattanoogan.com . We require your real first and last name and contact information. There is no word limit, but if your article is too long you may lose your reader. Please focus more on issues than personal attacks. (click for more)

Supporting Dr. Mary Headrick

I had the pleasure of meeting Dr. Mary Headrick two years ago when she first ran for Congress. I was convinced then and am even more convinced now that she is the best choice for the 3rd Congressional District. Dr. Headrick has degrees in math and computer science, which shows she has a brain and in medicine, which shows she has a heart. She is superbly qualified to serve our ... (click for more)

Architect/Contractor Selected By Erlanger For New Children's/Women's Hospital

HKS has been selected as the architect and McCarthy as the construction manager for a new Children’s and Women’s Hospital at the Erlanger campus on East Third Street. The Atlanta team competed against another Atlanta group for the major construction project. Erlanger officials announced Monday that $11.5 million is being set aside in a debt restructuring for the new $30 ... (click for more)

Westfield Charged In Burning, Torture Of Kitten At Cleveland

An arrest has been made in the case of a kitten who was burned and tortured in Cleveland, Tn. At 12:50 p.m. on Tuesday, Gary A. Westfield, 31, of Cleveland, was placed in custody on a warrant obtained by Lt. Robert Harbison and Detective Matt Jenkins of the Criminal Investigations Division. Westfield was charged with aggravated cruelty to animals, which is a Class E felony. ... (click for more)

Mihaescu, March Win Region 3-A/AA Cross Country Titles

The weather wasn't quite as nice as it was last week, but it was still sunny and warm on Tuesday afternoon for the Region 3-A/AA cross country championships, which were held on a flat course at Camp Jordan in East Ridge. Sequoyah senior Danielle March was the female winner as she toured the 5K course in 21 minutes, 46 seconds to win by almost a minute over KiAnna Queener, ... (click for more)

Boyd-Buchanan Defeats East Ridge 7-1 In Soccer Semi

The Boyd-Buchanan girls’ soccer team has already made history this season, but coach Todd Ledbetter’s Lady Bucs are hungry for more. After winning the school’s first district title last week, they moved a step closer to another championship with a Region 3-A/AA semifinal victory at home on Tuesday. Boyd-Buchanan, the 5-A/AA champion, defeated District 6 runner-up ... (click for more)