Update: Armstrong has pulled out of the masters event after FINA, swimming's world governing body, attempted to block his participation.
Lock up the EPO: Lance Armstrong is returning to competitive sport for the first time since his fireside mea culpa on Oprah... in a local swimming race for veterans... with no drugs testing.
The narcissistic, cheating bully has entered the Masters South Central Zone Swimming Championships, which take place this weekend at the University of Texas in Austin, his hometown.
The meeting is low-key enough to fall outside the US Anti-Doping Agency and World Anti-Doping Agency codes that prohibit Armstrong from competing in accredited races - ever. So he’s free to swim and, at 41, is expected to be among the younger competitors on the blocks.
You might sense in me a certain dislike for Armstrong. You’d be right. Sure, he didn’t kill anyone but he is responsible for a fraud that 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.
So what do I think about his Texan swim? I pity his competitors who may well lose to a man with youth and undeniable fitness on his side (even I wouldn’t expect him actually to dope this time). Imagine it. You’re 50, you train quietly, you like racing. And there goes the disgraced cyclist in lane four. Go Lance! I’ll leave it for those guys to react to the circus that will no doubt descend on that pool, but I’d excuse them for being a little insulted by his presence.
Armstrong’s real drug of choice is evidently competition. Perhaps he can’t enjoy life if he isn’t beating someone, which is sad and almost makes me feel sorry for the man. I say, let it go, Lance. Enjoy your life with your family. Race your kids to the tree at the end of the garden and back. Leave honest people to compete cleanly, and move on.