Lance Armstrong's Slide into Self-Deception
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In 2001, Lance Armstrong made an anti-doping commercial for Nike in which he strongly disavowed using illegal drugs. In the commercial, Armstrong boldly states, "This is my body, and I can do whatever I want to it. I can push it. Study it. Tweak it. Listen to it. Everybody wants to know what I'm on. What am I on? I'm on my bike busting my [butt] six hours a day. What are you on?"
In 2006, during sworn testimony in a dispute over his $5 million bonus, Armstrong said he wouldn't take drugs because he had too much to lose. "(The) faith of all the cancer survivors around the world. Everything I do off the bike would go away, too …. It's not about money for me …. It's also about the faith that people have put in me over the years. So all of that would be erased."
In October 2012, Armstrong was stripped of his seven Tours de France victories and permanently banned from cycling and any World Anti-Doping Agency sanctioned events. Travis Tygart, the CEO of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, claimed that Armstrong's USPS team "ran the most sophisticated, professionalized and successful doping program that sport has ever seen." Tygart also said, "The USPS Team doping conspiracy was professionally designed to groom and pressure athletes to use dangerous drugs, to evade detection, to ensure its secrecy and ultimately gain an unfair competitive advantage …." It was a doping program "organized by individuals who thought they were above the rules."
Possible Preaching Angles: Integrity, Honesty, Character—This illustration is not intended to bash Lance Armstrong. Instead, it should cause all of us to reflect on our own integrity—the gap between what we say and how we actually live our lives.