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Lance Armstrong Needs Our Sympathy

by Lindsay Ferrier on January 16, 2013 at 11:32 AM

Lance ArmstrongFew public figures are more hated right now than Lance Armstrong.

In an interview with Oprah Winfrey that airs tomorrow night at 9 p.m. EST on OWN, he reportedly admits publicly for the first time to using performance enhancing drugs during his professional career as a cyclist.

On Facebook, Twitter, and blogs, many are responding to the news with anger and disgust -- but at least one writer says Lance Armstrong deserves our sympathy.

Here's why.

In The Daily Caller, television anchor Laurie Dhue writes that like much of nation, she'll be tuning in to the interview tomorrow night. She writes:

I’ll be watching not just to see an admission of guilt, but to see an admission that he’s an addict, just like me, and needs help, just like I did.

Dhue, herself a recovering alcoholic, believes that Armstrong became addicted to doping not for the high, but in order to meet the extraordinary pressure he faced to win. This from her post:

Many people assume that steroids and performance-enhancing drugs are not addictive because there is no “high” associated with their use. But there is, according to Dr. [Scott] Bienenfeld. “Once you try it and it works, you’re expected to perform at a higher level,” he told me. “You taste success and victory and there is definitely a high that comes with it. You realize that you need to keep employing that external enhancer in order to keep winning, otherwise you’ll just be with the herd.”

She hopes to see Armstrong admit not only to doping during Oprah's interview, but also to being an addict. And while she believes he should be held accountable for his actions, she urges us, particularly those in recovery, to show empathy for Armstrong.

Judging from the reactions I'm seeing online, empathy is the last emotion on the minds of most people when it comes to Lance Armstrong. Americans don't take it well when one of their heroes turns out to be a fraud.

As a mother, Armstrong's admission is particularly disappointing -- Lance Armstrong is the kind of man that we want to present to our kids as a role model. To find out he was cheating on such a grand scale is a huge letdown to so many families who viewed Armstrong as a symbol of perseverance and overcoming the odds.

Still, I think Dhue makes some interesting points. What about you?

Does Lance Armstrong deserve our sympathy or our condemnation?


Image via Splash News

Filed Under: scandal, sports


  • Pinkmani


    January 16, 2013 at 11:37 AM

    I don't see what the big deal is. Lance Armstrong is NOT the first athlete to use steroids, but people are making it such a big deal.

    Yes, he should have lost his medals. As far as sympathy goes, I don't care that much to even been bad for him or be upset with him. It was expected.

  • missusmc


    January 16, 2013 at 11:43 AM

    The big deal is he has cashed in with sponsorships and received donations for his Livestrong foundation under the guise that he was a healthy, honest individual.  He was the epitome of health and revered for overcoming great obstacles and achieving greatness.  By doping and qualifying for the races, he beat out those who perhaps did not cheat and fell short of his times; those people were unable to have a chance at fairly racing. 

    Forget the point that many athletes use steroids for a second.  It's a very sad day when someone can cheat and dupe the public and receive accolades, and in response the public says "so what?"  Honesty and integrity are important characteristics to have, and more people in public should have it.  What he did is a majorly big deal. 

  • peanu...


    January 16, 2013 at 11:44 AM

    Nope, no sympathy for him. He LIED, lied and then lied some more. He had a chance to make it right the first time he got caught, but he has denied it over and over.

  • Patty
    -- Nonmember comment from


    January 16, 2013 at 11:47 AM
    Lance Armstrong didn't take steroids, or he would have been caught on one of the thousands of drug screening tests he has taken...and passed. I keep hearing about "blood- building" and ways to increase the oxygen in his blood stream. What knd of drugs are these and are they illegal?? Sounds like what they legally give race I missing something??
  • MsRkg


    January 16, 2013 at 11:59 AM

    As I see it, he took a sport the no one cares about really and donated millions to a cause that everyone cares about it.  The end justifies the means, at least to me in this scenario.

  • Scott...
    -- Facebook comment from

    Scott Rita Tierney

    January 16, 2013 at 12:05 PM
    i think Obama's lies are a bigger deal lets see him go in public and answer for all his lies and deceitfulness. he has a lot to answer for and keeps hiding least this man is coming out . deal with it this is what life is all about , no longer the good neighbor it all about me and who i can screw over to get there .. Obama has proven that over n over again .
  • My turn
    -- Nonmember comment from

    My turn

    January 16, 2013 at 12:30 PM
    Not only did he lie, but he bullied, threatened, and sued anyone who dared to try and tell the truth. That's what really bothers me. Wreck your own life and destroy your reputation but don't take down others with your lies.
  • Fondue


    January 16, 2013 at 12:51 PM

    This is the man who left his wife during her cancer treatments for Sheryl Crowe.  The same wife who stood by him during his cancer treatments.  What kind of a human being does that?  He doesn't deserve sympathy, as far as I'm concerned.

  • Jalestra


    January 16, 2013 at 1:13 PM

    I think everytime we let someone go for questionable behavior publicly, we are sending a message to our children. It's ok to be dishonest if you're famous, if you're rich, if you do "good" with it, if you win enough games, etc. I don't care about Lance Armstrong as a person, I don't know him (though this behavior does indicate he's of a character I don't want to associate with). However, he won't be someone I encourage my children to admire for various reasons.

  • Karen...
    -- Facebook comment from

    Karen Rouchon Haught

    January 16, 2013 at 1:41 PM
    He is only human after all we are not on this earth to judge another human being!Do you hate for what reason, you don't know him? There is so much hate in this world already show some compaction it makes life much easier to live in! Give peace a chance--
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