The Armstrong Lie
Cycling is one of the most physically punishing sports. And of course do not mean a simple ride through your town; I’m talking about the kind of biking that requires several miles of pumping up and down a mountain, with both legs feeling like they’’ burn off, only to have another stage the next day. Now that is something I believe that even if I were to start training now for five years in a row, I could never do look like those skinny guys that have been training even before they got training wheels. Cycling may be a serious sport, but it wasn’t even that popular…at least until the late nineties.
For most of middle school and high school, the sport of cycling was suddenly the talk of the quad. It all went back all those “live strong” wristbands that everyone decided was hip. You could see football players or even the big kids wearing them, all because they are fans of Lance Armstrong. I think we can say that all sports fans or even people that don’t watch sports have at least one favorite athlete, and for some it was that champion, Lance Armstrong. One movie maker set out to make a comeback story, but ended up with something far more interesting in The Armstrong Lie.
It all starts in early 2013 when Armstrong went on an interview with Oprah to finally admit that he was taking illegal enhancing drugs during most of his races. Now this was something that shocked me even at that point. Though I didn’t watch the Tour de France, I still had an admiration for this guy that fought cancer and proved that even the weakest can climb back. This is no sympathy picture. The Armstrong Lie is a deep look into the previous races that he’s cycled in.
Armstrong has had an ambition to push his body to the limit by competing in tougher races. His reputation began to gain when he competed in various tours and the 1996 Olympics. His first win in France in 1999 came as a shock to his doctors that treated him for testicular cancer and his teammates who had not even expected to place high let alone come in first. Though the media loved his survivor story, other bikers were suspicious from the start and looked into just how he trained and won. The movie talks to fellow teammates who felt betrayed, his trainers that has gone to jail during the races, and even with Lance himself who tries explain his actions. The majority of the picture goes into detail with how many organizations were investigating him and that even the Tour’s corporation may have participated in a cover up.
I know that a lot of sports have drug accusations and even that many athletes are guilty of cheating. Now why is it that Lance Armstrong’s doing is the biggest outrage? I think it’s because we saw an American who previously proved that he could do anything, even beat cancer and still be the best. It’s only tragic when this all star boy revealed to be a fraud. This story dos not play nice around him as each person comes to talk about how everyone knew about Armstrong’s drugging.
The Armstrong Lie examines every angle of the doping scandal; it is an interesting subject just to see how much one would defend himself despite being surrounded in evidence. But maybe a little too much. At two hours, this documentary is too long. What this moviemaker needed to do was to trim it and release a companion novel on the situation. There are a lot of points where a lot of the medical mumbo jumbo becomes overwhelming.
I’ll give this four “Live Strong” bracelets out of five. While I think that this is worth at least one sitting, The Armstrong Lie feels like a history lesson then an engaging story. Most of it is great, though it needed a better pace. I guess it should have taken a lesson from real cyclers.