27July06 Thursday 7:33pm
Apparently Floyd Landis, the winner of the Tour de France, tested positive for too much testosterone in his system (probably from anabolic steroids). Sounds like he's about to be stripped of his win. Here we go again.
What do I do about people who inspire me when their whole source of inspiration is a falsehood? I feel like the kid that said to Shoeless Joe, "say it ain't so Joe, say it ain't so!"
I was so excited when Floyd Landis won even though I didn't actually get to see him win. It was funny that reading the articles on the internet and in the newspapers was just as exciting to me. When he won I actually highlighted inspiring lines from one of the articles I'd read:
Lance Armstrong's key principles to win:
1 - forget pain
2- overcome mishap
3- Crush self doubt
4 - focus only on your victory
Floyd Landis' key principles to win:
1- Keep fighting, never stop believing
2 - spend 100% percent of time and energy believing it is possible to win
3- take the risk and place everything on one project (in the race it's one rider). It's the best way
4- Make your mind and your will your strength
5- Turn humiliation into triumph
6 - Head straight, mouth closed, eyes fixed, move with relentless conviction
7 - Never say die attitude
8 - Be modest
I printed those little bad boys up and added it to my folder with my morning prayers. So inspiring, Lance who fought back from life threatening Cancer and then Floyd taking his place and working through the pain of an essentially dead hip. Is that why Floyd was so modest?
I really hope his back up sample doesn't test positive. I love believing in inspiring people.
It brings me back to 1988, Ben Johnson, the Seoul Olympics. Back then the letters to the editor in the Toronto Star were about people bitching about how much attention Ben Johnson got in the Canadian media. Why don't you mention other Canadian athletes? People asked. But Ben was our hopeful for Canada who rarely fares well in the Summer Olympics. We've been embarrassed by the States and Germany and China and Russia who had the superior athletes, who walked away with medals in the double digits. If we got a gold medal we would rejoice in the streets. Ben gave us that gold medal.
AND THEN HE TESTED POSITIVE FOR STEROIDS.
I refused to believe it. I wanted to wait until he said something, anything. Ben went from being a Canadian to Jamaican born Johnson. It was heart breaking. I can remember the cover of the Toronto Sun a huge colored picture of Ben with super large letters, WHY BEN? I couldn't bear it. I still have friends who say that they haven't watched the Olympics since Ben. Oh!
We've never heard from Ben again, not in any substantial way as an athlete. We loved Donovan Bailey mind you but with a cautious heart. He soothed some of the Ben scars. I still remember the quick newscast showing Carl Lewis skinning and grinning when he got Ben's stripped gold. I swear at the time I thought Carl Lewis looked like the devil. It was such high emotion.
I love to watch sports. I love the Olympics and the Tour de France. I love to watch some one do something beyond their apparent capabilities. I am inspired by the agony of victory. Yes I know it's the agony of defeat but there is agony in victory too. It's so disheartening to have to acquiesce and say that maybe they do all cheat.
I have to believe that some of them really don't cheat. I have to believe because I gain so much inspiration from watching.
The alternative is to have one more thing in our sphere that tells us that we can't believe in each other and that just plain sucks the big one.