If there’s ever a sure-fire way to get lots of web hits and a good mix of comments, all you ever have to do is post something about Lance Armstrong.
The cool thing about blogs, Twitter, or heck – plain old conversation – is that folks are allowed to have an opinion and share it. I received a fair share of comments on this post (as comments on this blog, over at TriCrowd, on Twitter, and via email) – some of it fair, some less so. I LOVE getting comments….whether they agree with me or not. So if you posted or sent me a comment, thank you!
And while I don’t usually want to write a rebuttal or come-back, this is one time where I want to defend myself because from the general tenor of some of the feedback that I’ve received, it looks like a lot of folks didn’t really get the point I was trying to make. So, I’m going to try to be more clear about it here.
I don’t have an issue with Lance Armstrong. I don’t have any problem with him racing triathlon again. In fact, in my original post, I called him a “certifiable stud”. I absolutely hope he has a great season (even though with the results he has had so far, that he’s had more than a “successful” season). Would it be cool to see him do well in Kona? Sure thing.
Nope. My beef isn’t with Lance. It’s with the triathlon media.
My take is that the media have built the guy into such a huge event and enormous persona that it almost seems that everything else about our sport (and it is our sport….as we all participate in triathlon….I’m not being exclusionary here) is seemingly rendered somehow of lower quality. It’s like none of the fantastic athletes that have been in triathlon have ever really accomplished anything.
And that’s not true. I think of the professionals that bust their tails every week. I think of age groupers like me – and probably you, too – who have to balance life, work, kids, social engagements, etc. We are what makes this sport special. Not a seven-time Tour de France winner. Not a huge marketing machine.
Triathlon shouldn’t be better because Lance Armstrong does triathlon. Lance Armstrong should be a better person because he does triathlon.
But if you read the web, magazines, or online forums, it’s almost as if the media is trying to tell us that the sport is better because of him and his reentering triathlon. And my opinion is that’s not the case. I think that Lance brings almost too much notoriety to the sport. He’s overshadowing. He diverts significant attention from other deserving athletes. The largeness of the Lance Armstrong machine seems to overpower everything else. I think that in and of itself is a bad thing.
Hope this makes my points a little more clear. Feel free to still disagree – and if you do, please comment!