Riding into infamy
Another public figure has crashed and burned.
Champion cyclist and cancer survivor Lance Armstrong can ride, but he can't hide.
Long a celebrated figure in American popular culture, Armstrong's public reputation is slowly being shredded by near-irrefutable disclosures linking him and many of his riding teammates to an institutionalized program of using drugs to boost athletic performance.
Americans have seen this before with athletes, politicians and other celebrities who continued to deny any improprieties until they could deny it no more. The names of baseball star Pete Rose, who bet on baseball and was banned from the Major Leagues, and former President Bill Clinton, who dallied with an intern and was impeached for denying it under oath, come immediately to mind.
Armstrong still continues to deny any illegal drug use, but a recent 200-page report, backed by 1,000 pages of documents and testimony, provides devastating evidence against him.
As a result, Armstrong has become a toxic figure. His many corporate sponsors, including Nike and Anheuser-Busch, have dropped him. He has had to resign as chairman of his own charitable Livestrong Foundation aimed at supporting those suffering from cancer. To make matters worse, his troubles have just begun.
It's always disappointing to see revered public figures with feet of clay. It's even more disappointing when they cling to incredible denials to shield themselves from the truth.
But it's nothing new. Armstrong is just the latest example of high-profile personalities brought low by the truth they tried to hard to evade.