The new Hunger Games movie essentially dominated this weekend and nothing else new came out. Not a sci-fi guy, so was I not going to see this flic and was hard pressed to find something interesting.
Stumbled about the document "The Armstrong Lie" playing in Red Bank. I took my son Josh who is a triathlete. Previews had pretty much told this story of a guy who did a documentary on Lance Armstrongs 7th consecutive and final Tour de France winner (legendary 2,000 mile+ bike race in 3 weeks (up and down monsterous, curvy mountains as well as a few flat courses) in 2005
The story has been told many times of Lance's amazing battle with testicular cancer, brain surgery to 7 time Tour De France winner and his huge Livestrong foundation.
Accusations of drug performance enhancement followed him from the days of his first tour win in 1999 and every year after. In those early years, the testing was very weak and the ultra competitive Armstrong was able to stay ahead of the testing via research, teammates and a talented medical team.
It was common knowledge that Lance was using enhancements and what was most stunning was that a vast majority of the top echelon bikers used drugs too. One amazing fact stated was that in the 7 tour races that he won, all but 1 of the bikers who stood on the podium winning 2nd or 3rd subsequently were found guilty of performance enhancing drug use (PED's).
Clearly the Armstrong 'comeback story' was as disney-esque as there could ever be and this was true. Since everybody was using PED's, he just was better at hiding it. Plus with the vast sums of $ this uber-biker brought into the sport, the powers to be looked away as long as possible.
The documentary was a bit redundant pounding home the point that these are utterly amazing athletes and that most everybody cheated. What an amazingly tainted sport!
The segments of the documentary that spoke do his cancer with pictures was most insightful plus the time with his kids (never saw a mom or wife).
This guy has tons of personality, killer good looks and tremendous talent.
Essentially he had the "total package" and used it to charm & intimidate his fans, the media, and to some extent the testers to appear "clean".
Well he clearly wasn't and most of his fellow riders weren't either. He just got away with it longer while he was at the top of his game. His failed attempt to return to the tour in 2009 at age 40 (4 years after his last win) was clearly blurred by his "can't be touched" arrogance. It rekindled the efforts by his haters to find the smoking gun...they found several.
So he finally fesses up on Oprah, losses all this titles, is removed from his foundation and more. However, the documentary actually to me "lessens" his disgrace because all the top bikers take PED's ... he just was more arrogant than any other riders and got caught.
No surprise and still a heck of an athlete whose name will not be forgotten. Yes a bit disgraced but that is not so uncommon in high level American sports. We forgive and move on.
At the end of the day, this was a forgettable documentary. Most interesting part to me was the actual footage of the tour, the craziness of the fans and the danger on the course.