It's official and not really surprising. Floyd Landis lost his appeal to the Court of Arbitration in Sport and was officially stripped of his 2006 victory in the Tour and probably has to give back the jerseys and the stuffed lions as well.
I haven't read the panel's decision and I probably won't, because all it would do is make me angry and bitter. Floyd will have to sit out this year's Tour and beyond that, going into 2009 with a titanium hipjoint has never been done before. I hope to hell he comes back in 2009.
In the name of all osteoarthritis sufferers, I wish him well and if he was out my way I'd buy him a beer.
The Tour starts this Saturday and of course, I will watch it. But thinking back on it, what you get is this.
What got Floyd across the finish line in Stage 17 was Floyd. It wasn't some damned trace amount of something from who knows where.
It was Floyd. You can take the jersey and the stuffed lions. But you can never take away what he did that sunny day in France.
And if he failed, he failed while daring greatly which is more than a lot of has beens and never was sports fan types can say while they're wheezing on their way to the driveup at McDonalds all full of the righteous anger of people who have never won at anything.
Perhaps this can best be summed up in the words of Theodore Roosevelt.
It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better.
The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.