RATHBONE: The ugly truth is always better than a beautiful lie
Lance Armstrong has been stripped of his Tour De France titles (AAP)
I remember being given Lance Armstrong’s book, “It’s Not About the Bike”. I burned through it in a weekend.
It was a powerfully moving and inspirational read, the type of book you stop recommending to friends because you know they’ve been there and done that.
After reading Armstrong’s book, I become an evangelical fan of cycling, the Tour de France, and Lance Armstrong.
Which is why I’ve struggled to reconcile the snowballing nature of the accusations against the man. There seems to be a persistent hoard of individuals ready to make damming claims against the tour legend.
We now know that a number of his teamates are drug cheats, that his team doctor, assistant doctor, team manager and team trainer are all accused of being involved in drug violations.
Have we now reached the point where it’s a matter of when rather than if Armstrong will be found guilty?
It’s an ugly thought, no doubt, but one that seems increasingly likely to prove true.
One of the problems with intelligent reasoning and critical thought is that it behoves us to apply such thought consistently.
And so we’re forced to consider which is more likely:
* That Armstrong remained completely drug free whilst dominating a sport riddled with the most advanced performance enhancing drugs ever made.
* That he remained clean whilst his team coordinated an elaborate and long-term drug program.
* And that all his accusers are motivated to lie in the most appallingly immoral way to destroy the legacy of one of sports global icons.
Or should we consider the possibility that Armstrong is another drug cheat in a sport full of drug cheats?
And so it is that current furore around Armstrong elicits the kind of cognitive dissonance that gnaws away at the rational part of my brain.
I want him to be innocent.
I want to cling to the miraculous and inspirational story of the cancer survivor who became a legend. I want none of the exceptionally good work that his story has enabled to be undermined by his fall from grace.
But more than that, I want the truth. I want to know that we’ve not been duped by another athlete or by a sport that has consistently let itself down.
I can’t untangle myself from the fact that the ugly truth is always better than a beautiful lie.
Former Wallaby Clyde Rathbone has returned to Super Rugby with the ACT Brumbies, following an injury-forced retirement from all forms in 2009. He writes guest columns for The Roar, and will blog his journey back to professional rugby in 2013.
The Roar is giving you the chance to win 1 of 19 prize packs to Australian Open 2014! Each lucky winner will receive four evening tickets to Rod Laver Arena, plus access to 3 hours in the Heineken VIP Bar. Enter here.