I want to thank you, Bjarne Riis.
I want to share the burden you've made part of the public discussion about doping in the World's Greatest Sport: cycling.
I want to let you know, that there is nothing to me that would equal what you've done. (Photo credit: www.hiboox.com, edited by ZENmud)
You, who have felt the innocent desire that pushed you, adolescent, towards being the best athlete you could be. You, who began his career long before Lance or Floyd, you said this last Friday:
"I don't want the mistakes of my personal past to stand in the way of the work we are doing today. I did what it took to compete at the highest level back then, and it's a deep satisfaction for me that those days are long gone and the sport has moved in the right direction. If that wasn't the case, I wouldn't be here today."
I have long stressed the hypocrisy in a sporting world (that is ALL sports, which merit TV contracts, equipment sponsors and lucrative media interactions) that demands so much from its competitors: that hypocrisy, is that we want to 'believe' that you, 'they' are clean... and we demand this, to the point of ignoring the signals.
Bjarne, I believe your statements are cathartic.
I believe you have done the right thing. Whether a flood of confessions would follow is up to the KARMA of the other riders of your days. And those riders still, from epochs prior or post-Riis; will they contribute to this soul-cleansing?
Further, are we going to hear from the Futball stars, the hockey stars, the American-sports stars (football? Basketball? Field and track?), the Tennis world?
The worst thing that will come of this, Bjarne, is if your 'accomplishment' is not used to render positive the current, globally supported push for a clean, dope-free sporting world.
As you said:
"It's possible that I'm not a hero anymore," he said. "I'm sorry if I've disappointed people. And for those for whom I was a hero, I'm sorry. They'll have to find new heroes now."
You are more my hero now, than in these last years of 'did he/didn't he' debates! After all, look at those who followed you: Ullrich, Jan (same team, same suspicions for the rider from the former EAST Germany); Virenque, Richard (FESTINA team leader; confessed after two years of insinuations and denials: need we say more?); Dufaux, Laurent (Also FESTINA, but confessed nearly instantaneously (in itself a good, courageous confession)
That could be perverted, if the Christian Prudhomme's of the world attack your confession, if your 'mea culpa' is used as cannon-fodder to offer, disingenuously, 'proof' that the powers-that-be (DICK POUND, this means YOU; Travis Taggart, this means YOU) are themselves the source of the solution.
After all, Prudhomme's actions since taking over the Tour from preceding Director Jean-Marie LeBlanc have not produced a cleaner tour. One who never suffered on his own cycle, Prudhomme dances to the tune his paycheck offers...
Bjarne, let us think and be reasonable:
what could be worse, than having someone else who MIGHT confess, see what happens to you, and then decides for him or herself, against a similar cathartic moment of truth?
The World loses, and the world of SPORT would be the lesser.
You will sleep better and we, your fans, will also sleep better, in finding new hopes through the lessened hypocrisy of these times -
When the PAST generations tell the PRESENT athletes, as you have now done:
"We were wrong to win as we did, and we were wrong to insist that you speak the truth now, to incur this wrath that you haven't earned alone ..."
Then the FUTURE can be awash in heroic sporting accomplishments again.
ç*””*”*”*ç*””* ZENmud *””*ç*”*”*””*ç