The Mail

Article excerpt

'Winning'

Newsweek deserves praise for publishing Buzz Bissinger's defense of Lance Armstrong (Sept. 3). Armstrong has my respect for his strength, tenacity, and the patience to endure the relentless obloquies. Enough was enough!

Michael G. Driver, Ichihara, Japan

In the late 1980s, 17 Dutch and Belgian cyclists died from use of erythropoietin (EPO), a performance-enhancing substance designed to boost red-blood cells that was prohibited in athletic competition. This eventually led to the development of a test for EPO, but also the equally dangerous (and prohibited) practice of the transfusion of red-blood cells among some cyclists (and other elite athletes). It seems to me that the misuse of a practice that can acutely increase the risk of heart attack, stroke, or embolism does not level the playing field for those elite cyclists who choose not to take these risks.

Lyn Frumkin, Seattle, Wash.

Being able to ride a bicycle really, really fast does not make someone a hero. Neither does being able to throw a football really, really far or hit a baseball out of the park many, many times. Our heroes are those who run into burning buildings to save a stranger, or put themselves in harm's way to protect the innocent, or go to foreign countries to fight for our freedom. Lance Armstrong is a hero because of the strength, courage, and hope he has given to so many cancer patients. And they can't take that away from him. Ever.

Frances Weinstein, Oakdale, N.Y.

I do not know if Lance Armstrong used forbidden enhancement drugs, nor do I know whether he cheated more than others. But I take issue with Bissinger's implied contention that at the end of the day, winning is what matters. Unfortunately, this may well be our national creed. Like a virus, it has infected our lives from the stranglehold that corporate wealth has on politics to shady business practices to the classroom where getting a good grade is more important than knowing the material. …