Armstrong named Sports Illustrated ‘Anti-Sportsman of the Year’
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Thursday, November 29, 2012

Armstrong named Sports Illustrated ‘Anti-Sportsman of the Year’

by Shane Stokes at 6:43 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Doping
 
Unenviable accolade for former pro, Hindes also faulted

Lance ArmstrongTen years after he topped its rankings and achieved a title that only Greg LeMond had achieved before him, the 2002 Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year Lance Armstrong has been slated by that same magazine, and told that it would revoke his award if it was possible.

The US publication has nominated the Texan as one of fourteen ‘Anti-Sportsman of the Year,” putting him first in its list and reserving some strong language for him.

“These days it seems like for every sports hero, there is a cheater. For every "good sport," a bad one. Whether it was by trying to game the system or by flat-out cheating, spouting profanities at a fan or directing racist epithets at an opponent, athletes have given sports fans a fair share of stupidity to endure this year,” it stated.

“Lance Armstrong tops the list of athletes who should have his or her Sportsman of the Year Award revoked. Armstrong's legacy crumbled faster than his steroid-fuelled thighs used to take him up France's Pyrenees Mountains; former teammates admitted that not only had Armstrong constantly used steroids, but also that he practically forced his teammates to do the same. Not that he'll admit to any of it.”

For many years one of the most revered of American sportsmen, and enjoying what was initially very favourable press when he returned to the sport in 2009, Armstrong’s sun was gradually eclipsed when allegations against him by former team-mate Floyd Landis were echoed by numerous other past US Postal Service riders, and eventually backed up by a USADA investigation.

Long regarded as someone who never quit, Armstrong walked away from USADA’s charges against him, refusing to contest them after a Texas court rejected his bid to have the arbitration hearing blocked.

Then, following the publication of one thousand pages of evidence, his sponsors began to leave the sinking ship. Nike was first, then others followed suit; in fact, losing those backers wasn’t the biggest blow, as he also rescinded his chairman’s position with the Livestrong foundation and ultimately conceded his place on the board.

Armstrong has thus far refused to acknowledge any wrongdoing. Some suspect it is down to pride, while others believe he’s fearful of the possibility of a perjury case against him or perhaps the whistleblower lawsuit which appears to be moving forward.

However with many prominent media outlets echoing his own sponsors and saying that rules were clearly broken, the Texan’s denials do little to convince people that USADA got things completely wrong. The Sports Illustrated anti-hero award is the latest reflection of his fall from grace.

Armstrong is however not the only cyclist in the list. Also there is Great Britain’s track rider Philip Hindes, who received a slating for his actions during London 2012. “Early on in the men's cycling team sprint, Olympian Philip Hindes saw that he and his Great Britain teammates hadn't gotten off to a good start,” Sports Illustrated wrote. “Rather than try to stage a comeback, Hindes fell down on purpose, forcing the race to be restarted. Hindes' team went on to win the gold medal.”

The Briton thus finds himself in unenviable company but can take a little consolation that his error was gamesmanship rather than the pronounced, repeated and cynical rule breaking displayed by Armstrong over the course of much of his career.

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