It was an unlimited supply of ammo for every ugly American, and boy did we milk it.
Their confusion as to how he was so much better than them made it all the better. At one point, there were people trying to suggest that him having one testicle was a competitive advantage because it made him more aerodynamic.
That seriously happened.
But jokes about mocking the French aside, I’ll give you one real reason why none of his cheating matters — in fact, I’ll give you 470 million reasons.
In 1997, Armstrong founded Livestrong, his foundation which forever changed how people raised money for research and has raised $470 million since its inception.
Livestrong made donating money more than something to do for charity; it made it cool.
I bet every single person reading this had one of its yellow arm bands, and I bet most of you had about a dozen others comprising every color of the rainbow, with each representing a different cause that realized it could raise money the same way.
We’ve all cheated before — whether it be on a test, or homework or in Monopoly because the game has been going on for five hours and as the banker, you hold the power to end everyone’s pain — but how many can say that it positively impacted anyone but themselves?
I know Armstrong didn’t cheat to raise money — he did it to win — but at some point, the ends justify the means. Simply put, the world is a better place because he cheated.
And while I’m not necessarily saying the “everybody’s doing it defense” is a good one, it is notable that Armstrong’s only two adversaries, Jan Ulrich and Alberto Contador, have also been banned for life. They all cheated … he was just the best at it.
If Pat McQuaid, president of the cycling union (an organization that I’m sure has far more power than it should), really wants Armstrong to be “forgotten in cycling,” that’s fine.
I’ll just go back to forgetting the Tour de France exists. Come to think of it, I already have.