Tell that to Lance Armstrong and now Julie Miller
It’s an age old adage right? If you cheat, you lose. “Play by the rules” we’re told; we tell our kids. Yet, time and again, it appears the lure of ‘winning’ causes commonly good people to do bad things.
Julie Miller is this week’s poster child of poor sportsmanship and race behavior. Of course, everything she’s been accused of is alleged so let’s not say we have definitive evidence lest we somehow get punished by way of slander. But what we can say is that based on the evidence presented, it’s nearly impossible for her to have literally ‘run the race’ that she’s been photographed running. (For those of you who don’t follow sports but somehow find yourself here at this blog…or missed the well written New York Times article, Julie Miller is a mid 40’s Ironman Triathlete at the highest level.) She’s elite level, and wins many races. Or, at least she’s awarded the 1st Place Prize in her age group regularly. She was just awarded 1st Place in the latest one in Squamish, Canada. Until others spoke up, and did the heavy lifting for the Race Officials to prove there were some things that just didn’t add up. By the way, there’s plenty of coverage and if you’ve got a bit of time, I suggest you simply Google “Julie Miller Squamish Ironman” to find enough content to fill an evening of light reading.
What we can’t figure out here at isplack is; what possible gain is there to cheat in this instance? Lance Armstrong’s 7 make that 0 Tour De France wins were worth tens of millions of dollars to him in terms of endorsements. And even still, he raced the entire race. But that’s fundamentally different than cheating in what amounts to a ‘non-revenue’ sport, by not even racing the race course.
Turns out dopers AREN’T the lowest common denominator in the world of endurance sports. Even lower than the athlete who props him or herself by the use of Performance Enhancing Drugs (PEDs) is the athlete who ducks the ropes, cuts the corner, and basically doesn’t race the course.
And the question that keeps coming to mind is: why?
There has to be a fundamental flaw in the wiring of people like that. Wear some eye black to reduce the glare of a fly ball in a baseball game. Put some face paint (war paint) as a football player to intimidate your opponent, looking for that small edge. Maybe start to drink a cup of coffee for the caffeine before a race to slightly improve your endurance. Are these examples of cheating? Then what if an athlete is found to be taking some meldonium to improve your recovery for the next day’s training session? Is THAT cheating? It’s a slippery slope that I’m sure many, MOST, athletes at the elite level of their sport are constantly walking. (No we aren’t condoning either the coffee or Sharapova cocktail. But naturally we do condone the use of eye black!) And it’s probably very easy to slip up. But it’s one thing to drink Gatorade when others drink water, and an entirely different thing to rip a computer chip from your ankle, cut the course, and accept a medal (repeatedly) that you didn’t earn. Isn’t it?
What’s the meaning of sport? Why bother? Julie Miller believes in her mind she didn’t cheat. She’s adamant. And she’s wrong. Cheaters never win.
Get Your Colors On
Peter Zana, VP Sales