Lance Armstrong to compete in USMS meet?

edited April 2013 in General Discussion
This discussion was created from comments split from: Drug testing.
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  • timsroot said:
    I was wondering when someone would mention Lance Armstrong and USMS. So many questions:

    What do you think of Lance Armstrong competing in USMS events?

    How would you feel if you traveled to a USMS open water championship and he was there?

    How would you feel if you did the One-Hour Swim or any other postal national championship, and you did your best, but he beat you?

    What do you think about USMS publicly courting him to join the organization and participate its events?

    Why is USMS the only sporting organization in the world that would allow him to compete?
  • Just my personal opinion, and I'm biased because I've never liked him. Also im slow so my opinion is irrelevant. Id hate it and his "honour" is irretrevable at this point. But if he showed up at an OW swim he'd probably be in a wetsuit and that's ok
  • edited April 2013
    Lance can't swim.
    Just read that the FINA has forbidden it and they hold the USMS to it.

    http://sports.nationalpost.com/2013/04/04/lance-armstrong-drops-out-of-swimming-event-after-fina-outcry/
    http://openwaterswimming.eu - Cold, wind, waves, sunburn, currents, jellyfish and flotsam! Hop in and join the fun!

  • I was wondering when someone would mention Lance Armstrong and USMS. So many questions:

    What do you think of Lance Armstrong competing in USMS events?

    How would you feel if you traveled to a USMS open water championship and he was there?

    How would you feel if you did the One-Hour Swim or any other postal national championship, and you did your best, but he beat you?

    What do you think about USMS publicly courting him to join the organization and participate its events?

    Why is USMS the only sporting organization in the world that would allow him to compete?

    I understand why he would want to compete, since that's what he's done his whole adult life. That said, USADA have offered him ways to get the suspension reduced (to probably 8 years or so), but he refuses, saying he'd rather testify to WADA. That's ignoring that USADA has been freely sharing information with other anti-doping agencies. I'm rambling... Anyway, while I'm sure they would gripe about the expenses, I'd gladly pay an extra $5 a year to have the peace of mind that USMS was a WADA signatory organization. I think it's silly that people would cheat in masters swimming, but I'm sure it happens far more than we care to admit.

    If Lance showed up at a USMS OW Championship I was competing in, I'd be very disappointed, bordering on angry. The thing that I like about USMS events is that they are low(er) key. Having a bunch of media types roaming around undermines that. If he beat me in a postal swim, that wouldn't bother me. Lance is a faster swimmer than me, drugs or no drugs, and he's not in my age group.

    I didn't realize that USMS had openly courted Lance, although I'm less than shocked. Before the suspension, I suppose it was fair, innocent until proven guilty and all that, but I think that the glorified no comment from Rob Butcher is a huge chicken-shit move. Either have some principles, or say that we're letting him swim for the media coverage. Pick a side.

    Sadly, USMS isn't the only organization to allow him to compete, although they are far and away the biggest. He has competed in some unsanctioned mountain bike races:

    http://www.coloradodaily.com/ci_22768524/usa-cycling-cracking-down-pro-mountain-bikers-unsanctioned?source=most_viewed#axzz2PVs2Hif4

    Last year the Leadville Race Series' Alpine Odyssey race in Crested Butte chose to unsanction its race so the dethroned Lance Armstrong could compete while under a worldwide ban from all sanctioned races. The race series has since nixed the Alpine Odyssey race.

    Say what you will about the American Swimming Association, and their strange (but very skilled) director Keith Bell, but they were very quick to uninvite Lance from their events, including the Lake Travis Relay he had swam in a couple times. Why USMS hasn't done the same? That answer would have to come from Sarasota.
  • I wouldn’t be border line angry, I’d be hopping mad. The Armstrong saga is so much more then just illegal drug use. He acted as a Mafia Don, under his instruction the Lance Armstrong cabal ruined the lives of people who were his friends, trusted and supported him. What he did was criminal; as far as I’m concerned losing his seven tour titles is not enough for what he put people through. That Rob Butcher of USMS thought this was a good idea just astonishes me.
  • edited April 2013
    This is pretty embarrassing for USMS. How did Rob Butcher not see this coming?

    Quote from original AP article announcing LA's participation:
    US Masters Swimming executive director Rob Butcher claims nobody had raised formal objections to Armstrong competing. He said: “The purpose of our organisation is to encourage adults to swim.”
    Quote from latest AP article announcing LA's withdrawal:
    "He doesn’t want to cause any more harm to any more organizations,” Butcher told The Associated Press. “His interest was around fitness and training. In light of FINA and the other political stuff, he will not be swimming."
    Political "stuff," eh? He didn't have a better prepared quote than that?

    How much money are USMS members paying this guy for his leadership? Is it enough to cover the insurance premium for OW events?
  • lakespray said:

    I wouldn’t be border line angry, I’d be hopping mad. The Armstrong saga is so much more then just illegal drug use. He acted as a Mafia Don, under his instruction the Lance Armstrong cabal ruined the lives of people who were his friends, trusted and supported him. What he did was criminal; as far as I’m concerned losing his seven tour titles is not enough for what he put people through. That Rob Butcher of USMS thought this was a good idea just astonishes me.

    I agree that what he did was criminal. If he was Italian instead of American and had done the same thing, he would have been prosecuted for sporting fraud by now (see Ferrari, Michele). I guess part of the reason that I don't get as worked up about it is because of the prevelance of PEDs in a lot of sports. 90's-2000's era cycling especially. (slightly related, my favorite sports nickname probably is Mr. 56%, dubbed to Bjarne Riis, for his apparent hematocrit level when he was winning the Tour de France. This was before the days of the enforced 50% hematocrit leval that's in place today. Coincidentally, Mr. Riis is still a prominent personality in cycling, even after he admitted to having doped as a rider.)

    To be fair, I'd be pretty disappointed if I had to swim in a meet with Ryan Lochte or Michael Phelps, too. They are excellent swimmers, but their quality as human beings seems a little...lacking to me.
  • evmo said:

    This is pretty embarrassing for USMS. How did Rob Butcher not see this coming?

    How much money are USMS members paying this guy for his leadership? Is it enough to cover the insurance premium for OW events?

    Given the timing of his suspension, and the fact that he swam a USS meet sometime last year, I'd be willing to guess he was a USMS member before the shit hit the fan when he admitted to doping this January. With all the hubbub surrounding the Open Water sanctioning, and whatever else those folks in Sarasota do, I'm willing to cut them the benefit of the doubt and say they didn't know their membership rolls well enough to know that Lance was a member. If they knew it, they probably figured that it wouldn't be an issue, and that he'd respect his suspension (kind of laughable, since he's raced in unsanctioned mountain bike races since his ban started, but I'm still willing to cut them slack on that part).

    What does surprise me is that there weren't other conversations that happened out of the public eye when he entered the meet. If I was a meet director and noticed that he had entered, I'd probably call him up and ask what was going on. I'd alert at least my LMSC chair what was going on, and hope it went up the chain, and something was figured out.

    It wouldn't surprise me a bit if Rob Butcher got blindsided by the news when it broke this morning (last night?). But I do agree that, yet again, the public relations side of USMS laid another egg.
  • Interesting that on the USMS forum, the general opinion seems to favor letting Lance compete. Opinion on this forum seems to be overwhelmingly against it.

    (I know you're on the edge of your seats to hear MY opinion, so here it is: NO on Lance.)
  • WaterGirl said:

    Interesting that on the USMS forum, the general opinion seems to favor letting Lance compete. Opinion on this forum seems to be overwhelmingly against it.

    Bear in mind that the general opinion on the USMS forum was for allowing tech suits and adding 25 yard sprints.....
    ...anything worth doing is worth overdoing.
  • Internet forum's tend to amplify the few over the many. I'd speculate if USMS truly polled there membership, they would have voted down Lance's meet participation.
  • timsroot said:

    With all the hubbub surrounding the Open Water sanctioning, and whatever else those folks in Sarasota do, I'm willing to cut them the benefit of the doubt and say they didn't know their membership rolls well enough to know that Lance was a member.

    They knew: http://www.usms.org/hist/oly/olympian.php?oid=993
  • OK. Mea culpa. I didn't realize they had courted pharmstrong so strongly. I don't see any way to spin this into any positive light.

    Does anyone know how closely USMS's relationship is with FINA. I know that FINA is a WADA signatory.
  • irishpolarbearrobcopeland explained it this way on the USMS forum:
    USMS is a member of United States Aquatic Sports (USAS), along with USA Swimming, USA Diving, USA Water Polo and USA Synchronized Swimming. USAS is the nation federation member to FINA from the United States. So there is a relationship between USMS and FINA, through USAS.

    Unlike USA Swimming, Diving, WP and Synhro; USMS is NOT an NGB member of the US Olympic Committee. And therefore does not have a contract with the USADA. It was the lack of formal agreement between USMS and USADA that allow Armstrong to enter the meet.
  • edited April 2013
    Mr Butcher himself explains:
    USMS is affiliated with FINA (Federation Internationale de Natacion) through United States Aquatic Sports. ....
    The World Anti-Doping Agency has banned Mr. Armstrong from competition. FINA accepts the WADA Code and USMS, as a member of United States Aquatic Sports, recognizes and respects adjudications under the Code.
    http://www.usms.org/articles/articledisplay.php?aid=2701
    http://openwaterswimming.eu - Cold, wind, waves, sunburn, currents, jellyfish and flotsam! Hop in and join the fun!
  • My many carefully researched and reasoned analysis (ie rants) on this subject and other Lance issues can be found in many places on the internet. Unfortunately, my posting most directly on point has evaporated into the ether and can no longer be found.
  • timsroot said:
    Yes. While it is "the spirit and purpose of USMS is to encourage adults to swim", it is to do it cleanly and without PEDS. I would hope that any USMS coach who was told by one of his swimmers that he is "juicing" for the season would quickly kick the person out the door.
  • i predicted after the interview that he would attempt a channel swim .... this latest development brings that possibility closer imo

    careful what you say here @evmo - you may yet end up as his observer !!
    What would I know, never been further than 10k ....
  • evmo said:
    I agree with Julie. USMS and Rob Butcher caused the whole thing by repeatedly and publicly inviting Lance Armstrong to compete, and then when others started complaining, Butcher started backpedaling and making things up to avoid taking the blame.

    Did Rob Butcher contact Jim Wood, or the other way around? The New York Times, and the rest of us, would like to know.

    (I think I know the answer. Jim Wood has no reason whatsoever to lie about something like that).
  • I agree with Julie. USMS and Rob Butcher caused the whole thing by repeatedly and publicly inviting Lance Armstrong to compete, and then when others started complaining, Butcher started backpedaling and making things up to avoid taking the blame.

    USMS seems to go into blame avoidance a lot. They seem to be remarkably bad at it.
  • edited April 2013

    i predicted after the interview that he would attempt a channel swim .... this latest development brings that possibility closer imo

    If that's the case the CSA and CS&PF should execute their rules about doping and test Lance before and after the crossing. (will be a first I believe. no scouts honer this time.)
    http://openwaterswimming.eu - Cold, wind, waves, sunburn, currents, jellyfish and flotsam! Hop in and join the fun!
  • Maybe the current USMS members can answer this question:

    Are you comfortable with an executive director who lied to the Associated Press?
  • I have never been a huge fan of USMS but have always been forced to stay a member for insurance reasons - No more (-:
  • Lance would be welcome at the SCAR SWIM in Arizona. Many people turn to swimming to heal a physical injury. Others swim because they feel it's good for their soul. Open water swimming may be the best way for him to heal. I lean towards forgiveness and redemption - just seems like the healthy way to go for me.
  • Then mb USMS should offer his victims a free membership
  • edited April 2013
    KNicholas said:

    Lance would be welcome at the SCAR SWIM in Arizona.

    Kent - as an organizer of a non-sanctioned event, that's your call to make. Just as it's your call to run a marathon swim without insurance.

    It would be interesting to know how many of your current SCAR swimmers would be comfortable participating in your event alongside Lance. Or does that figure into your calculation at all?
  • edited April 2013
    Kent are you seeking free publicity?
    If you're serious you could always enter him under a different name.
    http://openwaterswimming.eu - Cold, wind, waves, sunburn, currents, jellyfish and flotsam! Hop in and join the fun!
  • I have been very critical of LA since I read his federal lawsuit against USADA which he filed ahead of their report. That being said, I have no problem with him participating in any "fun" event. However, if it was designated as a race (with or without awards) I wouldn't have anything to do with it and would demand a refund regardless of the sport.
  • "The executive director of US Masters Swimming explains how Lance Armstrong withdrew from competing in a Texas swimming event after Fina, world swimming's ruling body, asked organisers to ban him."

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/sport/video/2013/apr/05/lance-armstrong-withdraws-swimming-event-video
  • evmo said:

    KNicholas said:

    Lance would be welcome at the SCAR SWIM in Arizona.

    It would be interesting to know how many of your current SCAR swimmers would be comfortable participating in your event alongside Lance. Or does that figure into your calculation at all?
    I'm at a time in my life where I value swimming with more than against others. If LA were interested in participating in this or some other open water event... No problem. I think a situation that can potentially have an outcome where an admitted doper wins a race by a few or few hundredths of a second raises people's blood pressure a bit, and it should. If LA were to swim 8 Bridges, his time would be recorded and listed next to his name. I don't imagine anyone viewing those results wouldn't have their own opinion as to how it compares to other participants so to list it under a separate category would have little effect.

    I hope to have the good fortune to spend a few hours swimming next to others in the shadows of those beautiful AZ canyons. As long as I don't bump into OJ Simpson out there it should be bliss!
    ...anything worth doing is worth overdoing.
  • Maybe the current USMS members can answer this question:

    Are you comfortable with an executive director who lied to the Associated Press?

    No. I am not. I feel that USMS has lost a lot of credibility with the way they've handled both this and the open water insurance issues.

    That said, the club I train with requires membership. I'm very happy with my club, so I'll stay with them. I'm not thrilled with the LMSC board that I serve on, either, and may back out of that, although I doubt they'd find anyone else to serve as open water chair.

    So, I'm pretty unhappy with USMS both locally and nationally, but am stuck for a few reasons.
  • edited April 2013
    evmo said:

    KNicholas said:

    Lance would be welcome at the SCAR SWIM in Arizona.

    Kent - as an organizer of a non-sanctioned event, that's your call to make. Just as it's your call to run a marathon swim without insurance.
    Niek said:

    Kent are you seeking free publicity?

    I think there is a place in open water marathon swimming for people to heal wounds. I feel good about facilitating it - even for those that have drawn heavy duty worldwide criticism. Perhaps it's the 19 years of being a criminal defense attorney that I can't shake. There isn't any calculation involved in saying that Lance would be welcome because I've eliminated two predominately driving forces in many high profile marathon swims - profit and charity. Whether Lance would swim really makes no difference to me - but he is welcome to come sans pseudonym.

    I've been surprised by the swimmers who gravitated to Arizona for the SCAR Swim. I hesitate to call the SCAR Swim a "race" because the swimmers might not see or take the time to appreciate the swim. I don't have awards. Everyone gets a swag bag whether you swim one or all four swims. Everyone is entitled to chose between water, Gatorade, coconut water or a local craft beer (Mr. Pineapple) following their swim. The swimmers that come will make of it what they want - whether it's to race, grind, train, thrown in some backstroke or float and stare at the stars on our last swim. I'm the guy that stopped swimming in the Catalina Channel because I wanted to hear the bagpipes - and not just a note or two from Greg Elliot. I wanted to hear ALL the notes and I did. So if Lance chooses to swim - he gets a swag bag like everyone else.

    Interestingly enough, there is more than one Triple Crown swimmer coming to simply hang out - but I won't mention names because I don't want to stir (God forbid) the publicity pot Niek.

    I'm a bit reluctant to say that I elected to insure the swim - which is contrary to my vision of SCAR. The more red tape involved in a swim the less passion I have for it. SCAR simply grew to the point that it seemed like "insurance" was something I should do. However I remain, as you can probably guess, adamantly independent. And isn't it funny that seeking a "sanctioned" open water event really lost it's luster lately?
  • I would not compete in any event if I know Armstrong will be participating. I could care less about his steroid use as I believe that sport is rampant with it so who cares. What I object to in regards to him is his blatant threats and the damage he did to those who spoke out against him. He was an arrogant bastard during the Oprah interview showing only remorse for himself and not for those he trampled along the way. In order to receive kindness one must give kindness. Remember the golden rule: Do unto others as you would have done to you. LA does not know how to do this.
  • KNicholas said:

    I think there is a place in open water marathon swimming for people to heal wounds. I feel good about facilitating it - even for those that have drawn heavy duty worldwide criticism.

    firebah said:

    I would not compete in any event if I know Armstrong will be participating.

    I understand both of these arguments, but I think I fall somewhere in the middle. If I had already signed up for a swim, and Mr. Armstrong showed up, I suspect I'd be disappointed. I wouldn't seek out meeting him, and would be annoyed by the extra media scrutiny that it brought with it. Mostly because of the inevitable media coverage, if I knew he was registered in an event, I'd probably not sign up for it.

    But, hey, if a race director wants to allow him to swim, and understands that he's going to get some criticism for it, that's the race director's choice. I don't think that all of the criticism on the race director would be fair (really, if Armstrong wants to compete again, he's been offered a chance to get the suspension reduced, and has declined to cooperate), but it would happen.
  • I would find it hard to justify not accepting someone's entry because they were an arrogant bastard on Oprah. The media circus that will continue to follow LA around would be a hardship, and might very well overshadow the message and spirit of OW swimming for the moment, but in the end it will only be a tiny footnote in the history of the sport.
    ...anything worth doing is worth overdoing.
  • Sorry if I am being misunderstood. My not wanting to be in an event with him is because of what he did to people's lives not because of how he acted on Oprah. Yes, he was arrogant during the interview but that was to be expected. When those whose lives he ruined say all is forgiven then I will have no problem being in an event with him.
  • KNicholas said:

    Interestingly enough, there is more than one Triple Crown swimmer coming to simply hang out - but I won't mention names because I don't want to stir (God forbid) the publicity pot Niek.

    Thank you. Because this thread is about Lance Armstrong, not about your swim. Your swim already has its own thread.
  • Interestingly enough, there is more than one Triple Crown swimmer coming to simply hang out

    I hope they and all the other swimmers will have the opportunity to withdraw without costs if LA does join.
    http://openwaterswimming.eu - Cold, wind, waves, sunburn, currents, jellyfish and flotsam! Hop in and join the fun!
  • I would find it hard to justify not accepting someone's entry because they were an arrogant bastard on Oprah.

    How about someone serving a lifetime ban from all sports that signed the WADA code? That is to say all olympic sports plus some others.
  • Couldn't it then be argued that we should test everyone for banned performance enhancing substances?
    I'm not interested in playing that game. Its enough to enforce the rules that we have adopted.
    ...anything worth doing is worth overdoing.
  • How about someone serving a lifetime ban from all sports that signed the WADA code? That is to say all olympic sports plus some others.

    The problem is, it's organizations that sign their agreement to adhere to the Code, not sports. This has caused some problems, with some banned athletes competing in unsanctioned events, and now some organizations (UCI most notably) enforcing rules not allowing their lisenced athletes to compete in unsanctioned events.
    Niek said:

    I hope they and all the other swimmers will have the opportunity to withdraw without costs if LA does join.

    So, if someone I don't like enters a swim I'm doing, I'd be allowed to withdraw and get a full refund? I don't agree with this. I understand that LA would draw a lot more attention than the random person I don't like for whatever reason, but I don't like the precedent that it sets. I can understand avoiding an event because you know it will have more media attention than you like, or because you don't like the cause it supports, or something like that, but if an individual has THAT much pull over your decision making progress, you may be taking things a bit too seriously.

  • edited April 2013
    @timsroot You're not banned from Olympic sports for life. You've not treated others who told the truth like shit (because you could).
    If I had signed for a race and then hear that you're coming having done those things I would certainly reconsider my entry for the event.
    http://openwaterswimming.eu - Cold, wind, waves, sunburn, currents, jellyfish and flotsam! Hop in and join the fun!
  • It's ludicrous for LA to even try to compete while he's banned from almost every sport. Is he pouring thru the pages of Obscure Sports Quarterly to find an event that will take him? If not Marathon Swimming, maybe Dodgeball?

    Below a certain level, people have all kinds of reasons for wanting to compete--get fit, have fun, make friends, push their limits, enjoy the outdoors, etc. If LA has developed a longing for those things, he should join the Peace Corps. He's poisoned the well as far as competitive sports are concerned.
  • Niek said:

    @timsroot You're not banned from Olympic sports for life. You've not treated others who told the truth like shit (because you could).
    If I had signed for a race and then hear that you're coming having done those things I would certainly reconsider my entry for the event.

    I get that part. If I knew lance was going to be at an event in advance, I probably wouldn't either. But if, say, I find out next week that lance is going to be at the kingdom swim, I'll be disappointed, bit I'm still going to show up. If I decided not to show up, I'm not going to demand my money back from Phil.
  • edited April 2013
    You would not but I would. Phil or any other organization shouldn't accept LA application, period.
    Maybe harsh but that's the consequence of using doping. If he'd took the blame in the first place and confessed, he could have participated again after serving the 2 year ban for first offenders.
    http://openwaterswimming.eu - Cold, wind, waves, sunburn, currents, jellyfish and flotsam! Hop in and join the fun!
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