Newspaper article Sunshine Coast Daily (Maroochydore, Australia)

Hole Deepens for Lance

Newspaper article Sunshine Coast Daily (Maroochydore, Australia)

Hole Deepens for Lance

Article excerpt

Byline: James Lawton

YOU think you might just have seen and heard it all, the good and the bad and in the latter case this may be especially so if you happened to be in Seoul in 1988 when Ben Johnson, broken and yellow-eyed after first taking us to the stars, was unmasked as one of sport's ultimate cheats.

But of course you haven't, seen the worst of it that is, because there is always something else around the corner if the rewards are high enough and the risks deemed acceptable.

We are reminded of this with the latest allegations against Lance Armstrong, who once said that in his mind the only way to equate losing, either a race or the greatest argument of his life, was with death.

Armstrong's decision to end his fight against accusations that he systematically doped his way to seven Tour de France titles, and the announcement of the US Anti-Doping Agency that it plans to strip the Texan of C[pounds sterling]all resultsC[yen] from August 1, 1998, are certainly given a still more shocking context by the charges of his former US Postal Service team-mate Tyler Hamilton in the first published extracts of his memoir from a version of sports hell, The Secret Race.

Most haunting is the casual language of deceit. Hamilton offers us a line that will surely linger as long as the possibility of an ultimate scandal of sport is remembered. He claims that he said it in Armstrong's villa in Nice after fretting over his need for performance-enhancing substances on a transatlantic flight into a new European season. C[pounds sterling]Hey dude,C[yen] Hamilton recalls saying to Armstrong, C[pounds sterling]have you got any Poe I can borrow?C[yen]

Poe? It is the trade nickname for EPO or erythropoietin. Edgar Allan Poe, of course, was a great if somewhat macabre American writer. His name, Hamilton tells us, has become just another phrase in the language of cheating folk. …

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