I remember the swell of pride every time Lance Armstrong beat those snobby French dudes during his winning streak of Tour de France. The whispers and gossip about him doping to win, plus his alleged physical advantage of only having one gonad giving him the edge just seemed like a bunch of haterade at the time, especially when test after test showed no trace of performance enhancing drugs in his system. Armstrong was the great American success story–overcoming cancer to achieve greatness.
Armstrong received kabillions of dollars in endorsements–Nike, Michelob Ultra (my fav!), Radio Shack, and a slew of sports equipment suppliers and health food companies. I thought, at the time, that he deserved every cent of it.
Now it appears it was all a lie. He was doping, and a parade of former team mates finally fessed up about it. Now Armstrong is like the horrendous fart no one in the room wants to claim, and his endorsements are dropping off daily. The Wall Street Journal reports that Nike is one of the latest to jump ship, citing the overwhelming evidence that the shamed cyclist doped himself to win. According WSJ:
Nike’s relationship with Mr. Armstrong began in 1996, and when previous allegations that Mr. Armstrong doped surfaced, Nike had consistently backed Mr. Armstrong following his denials. Even last week, after the report, Nike issued a statement that it was standing by the athlete.
In 2000, Nike portrayed Mr. Armstrong to the public as a clean athlete, when it began airing commercials in which Armstrong is shown taking a blood test in front of reporters and then addressing allegations that he doped. “What am I on? I’m on my bike, six hours a day, busting my ass,” he said, in the spot.
Once again, proof that if it seems too good to be true, it probably is. It’s a betrayal.