Lock up the EPO: Lance Armstrong is returning to competitive sport for the first time since his doping mea culpa on Oprah, in a local swimming race for veterans... with no drugs testing.
Update: oh no he isn’t! Sport’s biggest villain had entered a senior swimming meeting at the University of Texas in Austin, his home town, but pulled out last night after Fina, swimming’s international governing body, raised concerns.
To which I say: good, and, how depressing. Armstrong’s lifetime ban did not cover competitive swimming (he was a triathlete before cycling so knows his way around a pool) but he should be man enough after everything to prohibit himself.
This is a man who relinquished his right to race when it emerged to what extent he had ruined the lives of those who dared question his record, threatened the reputation of a sport and fooled generations of fans including children and fellow survivors of cancer. He is, for good reason, among that select group of fallen figures to whose name “disgraced” will forever be attached.
I would have pitied his competitors, who may well have lost to a man with relative youth and fitness on his side (even I wouldn’t have expected him to have doped). Imagine it. You’re 50, you train after work, you like racing. And there goes the disgraced cyclist in lane four. Go Lance! I would have been insulted.
Armstrong’s real drug of choice is evidently competition. Perhaps he can’t enjoy life if he isn’t beating someone, which almost makes me feel sorry for him. Almost. Let it go, Lance. Enjoy your life with your family. Race your kids to the tree at the end of the garden and back, take them to the pool. Leave honest people to compete cleanly and move on.