Armstrong nominated for Texan of the Year award
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Thursday, December 27, 2012

Armstrong nominated for Texan of the Year award

by VeloNation Press at 7:02 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Doping
 
“The Armstrong brand will forever be that of a fighter, a survivor and a cunning, steely-eyed liar”

Lance ArmstrongHe’s been stripped of his Tour de France victories, he’s been handed a lifetime ban from competition and his reputation has taken a battering, but Lance Armstrong has been nominated as a contender for the Dallas Morning News Texan of the Year competition, an accolade he won thirteen years ago.

Armstrong’s 1999 victory in that category came after his first Tour victory; if he picks up the title again just over a decade later, the reasons will be very different, with his fall from grace being the cause rather than his prior rise to global fame.

Explaining the reason why he nominated him, SportsDay columnist Tim Cowlishaw made clear that the award is more in the vein of the Time magazine person of the year – in other words, awarded to figures who were influential, even if it was in a negative sense – rather than a praising a great feat.

“Lance Armstrong never longed to be a sympathetic figure. At the end of this year, it’s all he has left, and he’s not there yet,” he wrote in the paper. “Our newspaper’s 1999 Texas Sports Personality of the Year is my nomination for 2012 Dallas Morning News Texan of the Year, but for all the wrong reasons.”

Armstrong’s reputation took a dent back in May of 2010 when former team-mate Floyd Landis made allegations of major doping by him on the US Postal Service team. Cowlishaw said that the Texan was initially able to shrug those off, but that the Teflon wore off as time passed by.

“When he was dismissing the testimony of Floyd Landis and other disgraced competitors, it was easy enough for Armstrong to keep up the fight,” he wrote. “Besides, when you can throw “witch hunt” and “media” and “conspiracy” into one of your diatribes, you’re preaching to a substantial audience right away.

“But when one of his closest friends, George Hincapie, who was a teammate on all seven of Armstrong’s Tour wins, testified that Armstrong had said as far back as 1995 that they needed to start using performance-enhancing drugs to keep up with others, Armstrong fell largely silent.

“When his attempt to stop the USADA’s testimony failed in court, Armstrong said he would fight the charges no longer. It was not an admission of guilt, but the evidence was overwhelming, and within a few days, his sponsors began jumping ship.”

A newspaper editorial relating to the award made clear that it considered Armstrong’s legacy to be profoundly – and almost certainly irreversibly - affected by the events of the past few months.

“The head of the U.S. anti-doping agency revealed him as a serial cheat, the enforcer of ‘the most sophisticated, professionalized and successful doping program that sport has ever seen.’ Sponsors abandoned Armstrong. Nike said he misled the company for a decade.

“Now the Armstrong brand will forever be that of a fighter, a survivor and a cunning, steely-eyed liar.”

The final verdict on the award will be announced in the coming days. The newspaper underlines that the winner may be decided more on notoriety than on success.

“The Dallas Morning News Texan of the Year is a distinction we bestow for impact, be it for better or for worse. It reflects the prominence of what Texans do, not what we’d prefer them to do.”

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