Along with countless others, Lance Armstrong inspired me like no other elite sports athlete.
From the very first page of his book “It’s Not About The Bike”, I was captivated. His steel determination to overcome terminal cancer, winning the world’s most elite cyling tournament, even having children against the odds; it made the markings of a truly remarkable individual.
All of that has collapsed into a heap of lies and deception.
The world is still stunned. Twitterdom has gone into overdrive in showing just how filthy angry we all are.
I wanted to join in the army of Lance haters, all those people who felt they were betrayed.
But something stopped me.
All the vitriol made me uncomfortable.
Because, unless we are one of the many (and there seems to be a large number) who were bullied, vilifeid, and even sued, why do we – the general public – feel that it’s within our rights to judge him?
Why do we as human beings always take the easy route and hate? To turn around and fight vindictive or wrongful behaviour with a quick point of the finger of blame?
I’m certainly not condoning his actions. At first, while carefully watching his body language and analysing his calculated answers on the Oprah interview, all I could see were the traits of an arrogant, narcissistic sociopath.
It was gobsmacking how little remorse he showed.
I was adamant that it would be near impossible for anyone to ever forgive such a ruthess, cheating and deceitful man.
Armstrong’s explanations for his doping or hurting so many people made no sense at all.
Then I realised why.
I’ve never walked in his shoes, or taken a ride in his bike saddle.
I’ve never fought Stage 3 cancer. I wasn’t born with a relentless spirit to win and to stay number one. I’ve never been so fixated and focused on one particular goal that I would do anything to get there. Even cheat.
So, I cannot judge.
By the end of the interview, I decided being angry was futile.
Instead there was a wave of disappointment and the realisation that despite all the years of having him on a pedestal, Lance Armstrong is, shockingly, also human. With faults. With mistakes. With issues.
Coming to terms with the hard reality, everyone’s got a “behind the scenes” version of themselves. Whether it’s good or evil.
In its entirety, with all those who have been left heartbroken, including a 13 year old boy who defended his dad all these years, it’s a shameful situation that requires compassion.
It’s takes more effort. It’s always harder to find. And it certainly can’t be offered so easily.
The Armstrong case is yet to continue. He has countless apologies to make. He will eventually have to face the imminent federal investigation set against him.
As all of the saga unfolds, it will cost me nothing to have an open mind.
Joining in the awesome IBOT linky over at Essentially Jess.