I once saw a Steve Martin movie in which he played a character, an American, who while visiting France got stopped by the police together with a woman who was not his wife. Worried that somehow the story would leak to his wife he tells the policeman: Well, you understand, “to cheat is French” but the policeman smartly replies. “Yes sir, to cheat is French, but to get caught is American”.
As the whole Armstrong confession happened I remembered this phrase and felt that what’s really embarrassing about the Lance Armstrong investigation is that the US government has been the only one to truly fight in a forceful way by stripping its own national hero of his titles. In the meantime the widespread cheating that has been taking place in the Tour de France for years has gone with lesser punishment to European competitors and that is shameful. Here’s a Wikipedia article on doping in the Tour de France. I have a hard time imagining European nations going through the trouble that the US government went through to strip their national heros of their cycling titles. Because as you read the history of doping in the Tour de France you conclude that it’s been incredibly common and that as Armstrong cheated and rightly got stripped of his titles many others should have gone through the same level of scrutiny and public outrage.
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