Lance Armstrong

Lance Armstrong's lifetime ban is well-deserved

PUBLISHED : Monday, 21 January, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 21 January, 2013, 3:35am

Again and again, cyclist Lance Armstrong lied. Race after race, he cheated, using drugs to win his sport's greatest accolades and riches. He bullied those who came after him, suing those who made accusations, using his influence to silence and even banish opponents. His story of untruths and deception has now been revealed; he must never be allowed to compete again.

Armstrong wants otherwise. In a long-winded interview last week with US television personality Oprah Winfrey, he laid bare what he claimed was his soul. Three months after being stripped by cycling's governing body of his titles, seven Tours de Frances among them, he confirmed what we suspected - that being honest is not his strong point. But that out of the way, he then asked for understanding and even leniency, calling his life ban from cycling a "death sentence".

To his mind, he should be given another chance. As a cancer survivor, he knows only too well about life and death and his beating the disease allowed for what he had us believe was a fairytale comeback. But as much as he tried to make his case, he also gave cause as to why such thoughts have to be rejected. That moment hit home as, close to tears, he told of how he felt when having to admit to his son that he was a liar and a cheat.

Millions of others have had to face that difficulty. Parents, children and athletes inspired by his story have had dreams shattered. Those he defeated and tormented have suffered. Sponsors and competition organisers have been cheated. Cycling in particular, but sport in general, has been tarnished.

Armstrong was obsessed with winning, but drugs made him what he was. There will be other sports cheats; as long as there are glory and wealth to be had, there will always be someone willing to break the rules. His long-overdue chance to explain himself has revealed his feelings and hopes, but done little to make clear the gravity of his wrongdoing. His confession given, it is time to move on - and the best way that can be achieved for sport and those he fooled is for the lifetime ban to be as it says.