While it’s not the first time Lance Armstrong has been equated with disease, this time it seemed a bit more measured. In 2008, Irish journalist Paul Kimmage called the American cyclist the sport’s cancer. “Well he is the cancer in this sport,” Kimmage said. “And for two years this sport has been in remission. And now the cancer’s back.”
On Monday night, Greg Lemond, the only American to officially win the Tour de France, said that doping, the type of which Armstrong had been found guilty of, was a sickness. “‘There’s a sickness in sports,” Lemond said on CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360°. “If somebody is better, really just more talented, egos of all these other athletes don’t believe that that person is that much better. They believe that guy has got to be cheating. And they cheat. I think I was very fortunate to be extremely talented. I never even had to think about [doping] to perform.”
Lemond insisted that he would have spoken out about doping in cycling regardless of who what committing the crime. In the case of Armstrong, it just happened to be a fellow American with an amazing comeback story. “That was actually the thing that got me the most was that he manipulated the cancer community,” said Lemond. “I mean, I had family members with cancer. Everyone has been affected by cancer, but was the manipulation of using that as a way to—it was like Teflon. He used the money, he used the foundation to not only cover for him but to destroy people.”
Cooper asked Lemond about the idea of Armstrong doping to even the playing field. “He couldn’t race on a level playing field,” replied Lemond. “that’s why he bribed the governing body.”
Lemond concluded that Armstrong’s activity was criminal and that he should go to jail.