Mailbag: Aboud rips Lance, gets hate mail

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

Last week, Sports Editor Malcolm Aboud took on seven-time Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong in his column “Lance is no better than Bonds.” Reader response was strong, with letters supporting both Armstrong and Bonds. Here are few we received:

To the Editor:
I’ve followed the Tour de France extensively and watched nearly every stage for the last four years. I’m an avid cyclist and ride a Cervelo time-trial road bike.

How often does Bonds get tested? How often did Lance Armstrong get tested? Oh, that’s right " before races, during races, after races and lots of other times.

Many have labelled him “the most tested athlete in the world.” Yes, there have been allegations, but they’ve been unsubstantiated, amounting to little more than tabloid journalism in large part by the French media.

Aboud wrote “Armstrong is the nice guy who conquered France despite having to overcome cancer " who wouldn’t want to see him win?” Clearly, you don’t know what you’re talking about. French fans have been known to literally spit on Armstrong during races. He’s American, they’re French " you do the math.

Many French people believe the drugs he received during his bout with cancer were in some way performance-enhancing. Cyclists using performance-enhancing drugs like Hamilton or Landis got caught.

But seven Tours? First of all, he had a pro team purposefully devoted to keeping him at the front by drafting or keeping tempo. Secondly, the man has a heart 33 per cent bigger than the average human, a VO2 max of nearly 84 when in top shape, and excels in the individual time trials, especially hill climbs where the Tour is typically won.

To quote Armstrong, “Everyone wants to know what I’m on. What am I on? I’m on my bike busting my ass six hours a day. What are you on?”
"Chris Prouse
Economics IV

To the Editor:
Malcolm Aboud asks why Lance Armstrong isn’t on the list of athletes who test positive for steroids. The reason is simple: Lance hasn’t tested positive. I figured you would have at least known that fact before trying to fit Armstrong into such a group.

Aboud says Armstrong is directly linked to doping. Why does he still have his seven titles? Why is he still considered a hero? There is a huge difference between Bonds and Armstrong.

Firstly, Lance has an entire nation (France) trying to prove he’s doped. He was the most heavily-tested athlete in sports.

That’s why Bonds isn’t guilty of anything yet. If the NHL, NBA, NFL, and MLB all tested as rigorously as the Union Cycliste Inernationale did, there wouldn’t be enough players to fill starting lines. Cyclists are tested for everything.

Sure, Armstrong is considered a hero to lots of Americans while people hate Bonds for what he’s done off the field, but that doesn’t change facts.

Lance Armstrong has taken eight years of abuse and has more people after him than Barry Bonds does.

The infinite number of steroid tests should speak for itself. Next time, you should write more facts instead of ranting about Lance’s perception in society. Feel free to prove me wrong and let me know how Armstrong broke any rules. You wouldn’t get away writing this stuff about a hockey player, so I’m making sure you don’t get away with it here either.
"Brandon Throop
Social Science III

To the Editor:
I read your piece in which you assert that “we all know” Barry Bonds has used steroids. I’m surprised to see a philosophy major join the irrational mass that “knows” what hasn’t been proven.

Though “we” think we “know” Bonds has used steroids, it hasn’t been proven. As selfish and anti-social as Bonds can be, I’m very troubled by the climate in American journalism, even at the college level, that sets aside its tradition of journalistic objectivity to participate in the lynching of an unconvicted person.

Perhaps your participation on the school newspaper is where you let your emotional side have a life. I suspect there’s truth in that intuition. I suspect your soul is a haven of animosity.

Of greater interest is what psychological complex possesses those to crucify another human being. There’s a cruelty in that, which surpasses anything Bonds has done by being a pain in the ass.
"Dave Hallock
Seattle, WA

Follow Chris, Brandon, and Dave’s lead and send your letters to You could send us a nice letter if you feel like it. No? Maybe not? Sticking with the hate mail? Ok.

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