Before the former cyclist Lance Armstrong retired, he was accused of injecting his body with several performance-enhancing drugs including steroids, human growth hormone, testosterone and the red blood cell booster EPO.
Armstrong continuously denied the accusations, despite overwhelming evidence. On Monday, he was stripped of everything that ever made him live strong – his seven Tour de France titles, his endorsements and his reputation.
But, this shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone.
Athletes and celebrities alike are held to higher standards. They are frequently in the limelight and many individuals look up to them as role models, aspirations and, sometimes, even heroes.
But beneath the multi-million dollar salaries, glamorous homes, lavish vacations and designer wardrobes, these icons are human beings who will make mistakes just like average people.
Yet there is something that sets these superstars apart: They have an image to uphold.
Armstrong once faced life-threatening testicular cancer, but he continued pedaling to the finish line, which led him to create the Livestrong Foundation, a nonprofit organization that provides support to people with cancer.
All over the country, fans bought millions of yellow bracelets to support his cause, and cancer patients looked to him for encouragement. He was the light during their times of darkness. Now, that light is gone.
Even people who didn’t have cancer admired the man for never giving up on his dream and fighting for his life the way he did. But no one knew that when the spotlight wasn’t shining on him, he was shooting up, and forcing his teammates to do the same.
Now, many are forced to reconsider their thoughts of Lance Armstrong – a winner turned loser from one day to the next. Taking back everything he ever worked for doesn’t change the fact that he won the title seven times, but it changes the glory that came with his achievements.
He earned his fame, but he didn’t deserve it. Cheating doesn’t make winners.
Students: Learn from Livestrong. Integrity is all we’ve got. Take it with you to the finish line.
Editorials represent the majority view of The Miami Hurricane editorial board.