Confessions of an Immoral Mind

As some of you may know I love watching the Tour de France. I have been doing so in my summer vacations since I was a child. I have pleasant memories of sitting indoors on sunny afternoons with my family yelling at riders trying not only to reach the fourth peak of the day but also to do it faster than their closest enemies.

Tour de France

And then there is the doping.

I was happily unaware of the extensive doping programmes until 1998 when the Festina scandal exploded. I believed in Miguel Indurain, Bjarne Riis and Jan Ullrich when they won the race and I believed in them for quite some time after the Festina scandal. I cheered for Bugno, Chiappucci, Virenque and Zülle and was sorely disappointed when the two latter turned out to have been doped.

My disappointment in doped riders have changed since. If I get disappointed it has more to do with my favourite riders not being allowed to race. It doesn’t relate to the doping itself anymore. What I want is not a clean race…I want drama.

This also means that I find Bjarne Riis’s confessions last week uninteresting. Of course he was doped when he won in 1996. I have known that since he said in an interview: “I have never been tested positive”. That was so pathetic – but the confession? Nah – I don’t care. I have found a short clip of his very long confession (in which he also says that he only admits because he has been forced to by fellow riders’ confessions). And it has subtitles.

Riis was doped as the rest of the riders, and he gave us one of the most interesting Tour de Frances ever with his continuos attacks on the summits of the Alps and the Pyrenees. Doped or not – this was epic.

Of course cycling is an unhealthy sport and of course doping is awful. But the fact is that I love the race because these men have sacrificed their health for my entertainment. It looks grim on paper (screen…), but there you have it. And now all there’s left for me is to dream about the happy years when the riders were doped and we didn’t know! I will never enjoy the race as much again since the clean race leaves us with two options:

1. A truly clean race with one slow, boring stage after the other
2. A fake clean race with drama and speed but with our knowledge that they are doped.

My weakness is that I prefer the latter.
And since I am already surfing immoral waters of double standards I have to admit that seeing Lance Armstrong admit an extensive use of drugs would be a great pleasure. What makes the Tour de France interesting is also to see the kings dethroned. Armstrong never allowed to be dethroned and his arrogance left me completely cold.

Just to close with a smile here is part one of a press conference of the Danish Team Easy On. For non-Danish speakers I can recommend to go to 4:45 to hear the list of drugs read out loud in English.

/anna

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June 2, 2007. Television, The course of the year, YouTube.

3 Comments

  1. silke replied:

    Hi Anna,
    You say it! I am with you – I watched the Tour every year but with shrinking enthousiasm. So I seem to come to another conclusion: In my eyes serious sport is dead!!! There is nothing we can do about it. – Clean sports is utopia and fake clean sport is taradiddle.
    I can spot an additional option: Stop doping tests, allow all measures to win – and put an end to all this denial, lying and hypocrisy. Let the athlets decide which risks they are willing to take. Confirm the domination of predatory capitalism over sports. Forget morals. Let loose the monsters. Welcome back, Roman age!

    Sure, we would have drama without hypocracy, but I don’t think that the show would be worth the price. It would be horrible to watch all these Frankensteins fight each other to death for public entertainment.

    Perhaps reason would win in the end – perhaps it would lead us to a post-modern age of Enlightenment, but I don’t think so. Humans are not sensible beings!

    My conclusion: sport is dead!

  2. Confidential Attachées replied:

    As I have been in Sweden the last week I haven’t yet had a chance to watch this year’s Tour since the Swedes don’t report anything from the race on tv. They prefer women soccer and frisbee golf (now you too know that such a sport exists)!
    Anyways… I still haven’t decided whether it’s worth watching or not. But since I have been brought up on this stuff I suspect I will enjoy watching it still. And with Riis in Africa I will not even have to look at his sour face.
    Sport might be dead, but I will be in front of the screen. That’s just me…
    /anna

  3. silke replied:

    Hi Anna,
    Guess, what I just heard in the news!
    Another German cyclists (Sinkewitz – T-Mobile) was tested positive – and because of that reason the two public German TV programs decided today to stop reporting from the Tour de France immediately.
    So, there is absolutely no way to change my mind: I can’t watch cycle races anymore.
    I just wonder what they are going to show for the next 3 weeks. They really have to improvise now, but most probably they have to broadcast old bw movies all summer! 😀 Perhaps there is a chance to buy the broadcasting rights for frisbee golf, what do you think?
    silke 🙂

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