The Highest Filth

That the seven-time champion of the Tour de France doped in a world such as cycling, in which it is no secret that doping is normal, causes no one to speak worse of Armstrong than of those who are responsible for controlling illegal substances — those who were unable, and are still unable, to develop more efficient technologies than the ones cyclists use to dope without being discovered. Many deaths and unfair judgments could be avoided if doping was legalized and technological efforts were employed to control the health of the athletes.

What worries me most is that the world is firing its bursts of outrage against a human being who is accustomed to winning according to the Machiavellian maxim that moves the real world: The end justifies the means. Armstrong overcame cancer and won the Tour de France seven times, becoming the superhero of humanity. While Armstrong swallowed the story and constructed his life on the obligation to win, always evading defeat, it is the same drive that dogs him now.

He bears a large share of the responsibility; just because everyone violates the regulations does not justify doing so. He could have been a hero if he had denounced what happened and had led the abolition of this useless culture of doping control. However, it is necessary to put away the guns. It is we who have integrated and constructed this society, this unconscious collective that measures our fellow human beings by the yardstick of success, we who have propagated the existence of these paper heroes. Unless we as a society give equal importance to how the goals are sought as to the result, nothing will change. Many idols will rise only to later transform into scum.

If we were to look at the lives of the others with the same eyes, we would know that the one who finishes last is as much of a hero as the champion, or as the one who did not finish but intended to. We would know that defeats, like victories, are a part of life and that, as Bielsa said, there are many more defeats than victories. This is not about valuing mediocrity; it is about learning to lose without fear of feeling like a failure, learning to win knowing that it will not last forever and learning to enjoy the journey along the way.

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