A Worthy Ideal: Excellence, Friendship and Respect

A Worthy Ideal: Excellence, Friendship and Respect

We’ve teamed up with Marilyn Trout, certified USA Cycling Elite Coach to answer Voler Newsletter List members’ training questions. You can view her coach profile at http://www.linkedin.com/in/mountainpedalscoaching80903 Send your cycling inquiries to Marilyn, and for a limited time, if yours is selected to be answered in our Training column, Voler will send you a $20 gift certificate that can be used towards any purchase from the Voler Store at http://www.voler.com. To submit your inquiry, e-mail her at Marilyn@MountainPedals.net, and type “Voler Training Question” in the subject line of the e-mail.

It’s interesting and wonderful to live in Colorado Springs for many reasons. To go out for a ride through Garden of the Gods and along the Front Range, we count ourselves blessed to be able to be refreshed in such beauty in a simple lunch hour ride.  First class international events, Paralympic and Olympic, are here with regularity.  A ride of a few blocks from my home, we can be swept up by the thrill of the U.S. Pro Challenge, U.S. Sprint Gran Prix, World Student Blind Games, U.S. National Track Cycling Championships and the list goes on.

It’s an interesting place to live because the powerhouses of organized sport, the likes of U.S. Olympic Committee, U.S.A. Cycling and U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, make their home here as well.  Of course there’s also Carmichael Training Systems whose owner has been given accolades and endorsed by Lance Armstrong for decades now. “(He) has always been an innovator. I’ve relied on his training methods for 20 years.” 

That’s also very interesting. 

The other day, our Pioneer Museum made a few changes to an exhibit leaving the wall bare where the U.S. Postal Service jersey autographed by Lance Armstrong had hung. The museum director didn’t destroy it in disgust, as some may suggest, but was “updating it to reflect its changing status from a cherished souvenir to sad sign of our times… It feels like the rest of the story. I don’t know what taking down the jersey would accomplish, that would feel a little like trying to sanitize history. We’re not interested in that. And I like having a local connection to the story.” There will be many people, young and old, viewing this “update.” Certainly, it’s a visual for the original Olympic Ideal gone bad.  Excellence, Friendship and Respect sure has taken a beating over the years.

Someone once said, “The role of amateurism in the development and survival of the athletic ideal is inestimable. If athletes competed for money, the values and virtues of the athletic ideal are destroyed.” How true. Certainly a case can be made for athletes making a living, but indeed something has been lost with the Wall Street mentality of sport.  (Perhaps another event can be created comparable to the Olympics for professional athletes who roll in the big bucks and have the win-at-all-cost mentality.)   Just sayin’  :)

While reading through our newspaper the other day, I came across a letter to the editor from a distinguished cyclist with numerous titles from National Championships to 2-time Olympian. Erin Mirabella, who lives up the pass in Woodland Park, shared some personal thoughts about the drug wars in cycling resulting in someone’s brainwave idea of removing cycling from the Olympics. It’s a good thought-provoking read from an insider who had her own battle on the velodrome with those competing outside of their God-given abilities.

May excellence, friendship and respect live on in the great sport of cycling.

After 35 years, I remain in it for the long haul,


Cycling Isn’t the Only Dirty Sport

The Gazette, Letter to Editor  – Colorado Springs 1.19.13

The idea of removing cycling from the Olympics is akin to putting a Band-Aid on a gunshot wound. Yes, cycling is a dirty sport, but it’s not alone. Every sport that requires athletes to go higher and faster and to be stronger has had its share of doping scandals. We now have proof that the superhuman performances in cycling were done through drug use; are we to assume that the superhuman performances in other sports are clean? The truth is that most of the athletes involved in the Lance Armstrong scandal never tested positive. You can bet that there are plenty of athletes in other sports who are just as guilty and haven’t tested positive either.

Road cycling may be the headline today, but many sports have shared the spotlight; track cycling, track and field, weight lifting and swimming are just a few that have been marred in controversy. Kicking cycling out of the Olympics wouldn’t solve the problem; it would just hide the real, much bigger problem.

It’s hard to deny that each sport’s National Governing Body is partly to blame for the culture of doping in their sport. There is no way that the National and International Governing Bodies aren’t aware of the rampant drug use in their sport, and cycling is no exception.

As long as athletes aren’t getting caught the National and International Governing Bodies are happy to turn a blind eye because awesome results mean more money for everyone. As soon as an athlete tests positive, they throw them under the bus.

There are two big problems standing in the way of clean sports. First, there is too much money in Olympic sport for it to be clean. Winning an Olympic gold medal or Tour de France doesn’t just earn you a lot of money, it can set you up for life. The other problem is that not all countries are motivated to clean up sports. Even if the United States completely cleaned up its sports program it would be short-lived unless the international community followed suit. U.S. athletes would quickly realize they couldn’t compete internationally unless they cheated too and the cycle would start all over again.

I don’t want to let cycling, Lance Armstrong or any of the other admitted dopers off the hook. All of the dopers cheated other riders and defrauded their sponsors and fans.

Lance Armstrong broke the hearts of millions of fans and cancer survivors and doesn’t deserve pity or sympathy. They all need to face the consequences and cycling, as well as many other sports, needs to get serious about stopping the doping.

Erin Mirabella

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