May 24, 2011

A Sad Day* for Cycling

*technically that day was Sunday, but I was getting back from a long weekend away, so I wasn't able to blog about it until today ...

As you may know, Miss Ice Charades is a big fan of cycling and especially the Tour de France. From 2003 - 2008, I watched almost every day of the twenty-one day race. That's a lot of hours watching guys ride a bike when it was nice enough outside that I should have been riding my own bike. The only reason I didn't watch as closely these last two years is because I couldn't. That's how much I got sucked into the sport.

And while I'm still not the Aaron of Axels, Loops, and Spins of the cycling world, I do know enough about the race to make me dangerous in my analysis. So here I go with my opinion of the latest bombshell that was dropped on "60 Minutes" on Sunday.

Former US Postal Service teammate of Lance Armstrong, Tyler Hamilton, confessed to his own drug use and blood doping and implicated Lance in the same, as well as covering up a positive test in the Tour of Switzerland. What the papers often don't say is, Lance failed part A of the test, but part B, which is needed to claim he failed a drug test, was not conducted.

Anyone who follows the Tour de France closely has seen one rider after another implicated in cheating and it seems impossible that Lance was always clean. Four of his teammates have testified to federal authorities that he cheated. The lastest coming from his closest teammate George Hincapie, probably hurts the most.

And I don't want to see Lance taken down. Watching that episode on Sunday felt like watching a car crash in slow motion. If cycling is going to clean up its act, it looks like it is going to scorch a lot of earth along the way. It has to, because I think almost all of the top cyclists are guilty.

Excuse me, Miss Ice Charades, you know I always ask this, but what does this have to do with figure skating?

Thanks for asking. Two things -

1: I'm glad that figure skaters haven't been prone to these cheating scandals. Much like gymnasts and divers, figure skaters don't use performance enhancing drugs. Why? I think it's because they haven't invented one - yet - that enhances all the things skaters need like strength, endurance, agility, gracefulness and more.

This scandal is not unlike judging in figure skating. Many times, suspect judging ruins the credibility of the sport. Books have now been written exposing the many instances of judges being corrupt. That alters skaters entire lives. Think of gold medalists that didn't really earn it or more tragically, ones that should have been gold medalists but were denied specifically because of judging. I'm sure you can think of some names.

Tell me what you think - should judging in figure skating have a trial, the likes of the federal investigation?


Anonymous said...

It's not the same for skating. If Lance cheats and then has his title taken away, he brought that unto himself.

If a judge is corrupt the outcome affects the skater as well as the judge.

But if a judge is merely bad, not corrupt, the result is still the same that the skater didn't get what they deserved. That's the subjective sport for you. If the skater doesn't like it, go with a different sport.

Anonymous said...

I think some kind of trial on judging would just be ugly.