The Shame of Lance Armstrong is ours too

The story is now familiar, the bullying the doping and the denials. Here is a man where the anger which drives you to success spills over into a different kind of anger, the dark historic kind. This takes you over, tramples over rules and boundaries and can drive any of us to do things we regret.

Underlying this story of bullying and doping is a human tragedy. A man caught in a web of deceit, shame from which ultimately only exposure could release him.

This is a typical example of how anger can lead to beauty and to ugliness, the beauty of his campaign against cancer, the ugliness of success at the cost of honesty.

This is our tragedy too. This sad tale stands in contrast to the joy, glory and pride embodied in the success of our Olympians and Paralympians so recently. It stands in contrast to the tantrums and genius  of McEnroe, even the outbursts of Joey Barton as he struggles to find a place in the world.

This was a deliberate and systematic attempt to hoodwink us and our ideals, our belief in the beauty and purity of the human spirit, that there is something that rises above the commercialism of modern sport.

How Bradley Wiggins and Victoria Pendleton must be feeling today, knowing the efforts they have made to achieve the highest honour in their sport only to find it lessened by these events.

There is redemption, there is the possibility of change and development even for those of us who reach to the bottom of the barrel of our human shame. It seems that sport is a metaphor for the struggles and challenges that all of us face in everyday life, the challenges and the temptations not to be authentic with the person we are, or strive to be.

I would like to take strength from this episode, the wrongdoing of one gives each of us the chance to look in the mirror and ask our own difficult questions. How can I be more of who I want to be? Can I forgive myself for my mistakes?

In our opinions and judgements of Lance Armstrong we have the opportunity to learn more about ourselves. This is worth taking.



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