Lance Armstrong Is Still a Hero

USADA's effort was a 'slam job': Buzz Bissinger

By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff

Posted Aug 27, 2012 12:21 PM CDT

(Newser) – Lance Armstrong may have been stripped of his Tour de France titles, but he hasn't lost his legacy. This is a man who inspired us by overcoming life-threatening cancer to achieve the seemingly impossible. The cyclist "is a hero, one of the few we have left in a country virtually bereft of them. And he needs to remain one," writes Buzz Bissinger in Newsweek. Authorities' apparent desperation to catch him doping looks a lot like a "witch hunt"—and the cyclist's decision to stop fighting the charges wasn't an admission of guilt.

It was a result of mental exhaustion from years fighting never-proven charges. The US Anti-Doping Agency was pushing charges as old as 13 years, even though it has an eight-year statute of limitations. Even a judge who ruled for the agency in an Armstrong lawsuit questioned its motivations. And if he was doping, who cares? "He was leveling the playing field," Bissinger notes. "What point is being served here besides the USADA’s own desperation to prove to the public that it is cleaning up sports? It’s a slam job, and Armstrong is the victim of that slam." Click for Bissinger's full column.

Lance Armstrong follows a trail on his way to a second-place finish in the Power of Four mountain bicycle race at the base of Aspen Mountain in Aspen, Colo., on Saturday, Aug. 25, 2012.
Lance Armstrong follows a trail on his way to a second-place finish in the Power of Four mountain bicycle race at the base of Aspen Mountain in Aspen, Colo., on Saturday, Aug. 25, 2012.   (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
In this July 24, 2005 file photo, Lance Armstrong pedals past the Arc de Triomphe in Paris on his way to win his seventh straight the Tour de France.
In this July 24, 2005 file photo, Lance Armstrong pedals past the Arc de Triomphe in Paris on his way to win his seventh straight the Tour de France.   (AP Photo/Peter Dejong, File)
In this July 24, 2005, file photo, Lance Armstrong holds the winner's trophy after claiming his seventh straight Tour de France.
In this July 24, 2005, file photo, Lance Armstrong holds the winner's trophy after claiming his seventh straight Tour de France.   (AP Photo/Bernard Papon, Pool, File)
In this July 24, 2005, file photo, Lance Armstrong signals seven for his seventh straight win in the Tour de France in Corbeil-Essonnes.
In this July 24, 2005, file photo, Lance Armstrong signals seven for his seventh straight win in the Tour de France in Corbeil-Essonnes.   (AP Photo/Peter Dejong, File)
In this July 22, 2005 file photo, overall leader Lance Armstrong reacts as he crosses the finish line to win the 17th stage of the Tour de France.
In this July 22, 2005 file photo, overall leader Lance Armstrong reacts as he crosses the finish line to win the 17th stage of the Tour de France.   (AP Photo/Laurent Rebours, File)
In this July 24, 2005 file photo, Lance Armstrong signals seven for his seventh straight win in the Tour de France.
In this July 24, 2005 file photo, Lance Armstrong signals seven for his seventh straight win in the Tour de France.   (AP Photo/Peter Dejong, File)
In this file photo taken July 24, 2005, Lance Armstrong carries the US flag during a victory parade on the Champs Elysees after winning his seventh straight Tour de France.
In this file photo taken July 24, 2005, Lance Armstrong carries the US flag during a victory parade on the Champs Elysees after winning his seventh straight Tour de France.   (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)
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