Friday, August 24, 2012

The Armstrong Duo

I am not sure who irritated me more—Lance Armstrong or his mother Linda. A bunch of us Philadelphians used to gather at Monika Koval’s house in Roxborough every June for a bike race party. We could watch the bikers on TV and then, just as they approached Ridge Avenue. we would run out to the bend in the road and cheer them on.

In 1993 when Lance Armstrong won the CoreStates USPRO national championship in Philadelphia, Armstrong sat up on his bicycle on the last lap, took out a comb, smugly combed his hair, and then smiled his victory smile for the cameras. Lord, I hated him then. But it was his blond, hovering, over-weaning stage-mother Linda who was really annoying. And she was always there…preening, smiling, cheering, fawning…she was the most saccharine-sweet, self-promoting, cloying, over-protective mom the small screen had ever seen because in those years Dance Moms had not been invented yet.

When Lance developed testicular cancer in 1996, a tumor metastasized to his brain and lungs and things looked bad for him. But he beat it and went on to win the Tour de France every year from 1999 to 2005.

While everyone canonized Lance Armstrong after he beat cancer, I became convinced he was using the fact he had to ingest doctor-prescribed drugs to hide the fact he was doping. Yes, he did a lot of charity work but at core he was always a spoiled brat coddled by a sycophantic mom.

Today, Lance Armstrong was stripped of all his titles and perks because the biking world had become convinced he had been doping during his whole career. And in the face of his cohorts, friends and trainers attesting that Armstrong has been a liar and a doping fake his whole life, Lance Armstrong at age 41 is still a self-righteous momma’s boy who says his accusers are tainted and corrupt while he is the only one in the biking world who is pure.

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