The Daily Juggle
The Daily Juggle
The real tragedy of the Lance Armstrong saga
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I assumed the Lance Armstrong discussion with my sons would be met with lots of questions. But they were all over that piece of news and weren't fazed by it, or even surprised.
My sons get their news online. Before I'd read The Australian over breakfast, they'd read enough online news reports on the subject to explain the Lance Armstrong saga to me.
The boys check their laptops and phones before they have breakfast. So when I asked if they'd heard about Lance Armstrong, they both said, "yeah ", before one added, "they say he's a drug cheat".
When I enquired if they knew how he'd allegedly managed to avoid detection for so long, I was told: "something to do with blood transfusions".
Were they surprised? "No. Why? Lots of sports people seem to cheat."
And that's the real tragedy of the Lance Armstrong saga. I don't care if Armstrong's career and reputation have been ruined. But I do care that young people will start to believe that cheating your way to victory is normal. Too many sports people have been caught out in modern times to not be concerned by this.
We should also be concerned that parents may deter their children from a career as an elite athlete due to a fear that doping is rife. I know that it would make me think twice.
Its certainly not uncommon for parents to be concerned about their child's future. Thirty years ago I told my parents that I wanted to be a journalist and they were far from thrilled about it. The reputation of journos as chain-smoking alcoholics was what they feared. They assumed I'd be caught up in that tainted world. Unfortunately when I arrived home from my shift on The Daily Mirror smelling like an ashtray from passive smoking my days away between two chain-smoking alcoholics their fears were confirmed. Of course there were many more journalists who were neither chain smokers or alcoholics. And I remained one of them.
I remind myself of this when I start to worry about my youngest son's desire to be a musician. Instead of thinking Kurt Cobain I need to reflect on the lifestyle of Chris Martin.
Similarly, parents of children with elite athlete potential need to focus on the many, many sports men and women who have achieved without illegal assistance. Athletes like our champion netball team The Aussie Diamonds, Olympic gold-medalists Melanie Schlanger and Sally Pearson, and next generation athletics star Steve Solomon have shown that hard work, dedication and determination can turn gifted athletes into winners.
I am hopeful that the Lance Armstrong story will offer new hope to our future cyclists and athletes. With arguably the most cunning scam blown open I would imagine that it will be more difficult for any form of doping to go undetected in the short term. And that can only be a good thing for the sport.
Do you have a child with a creative or sporting talent? Would you talk them out of pursuing their passion due to lifestyle concerns?