According to Merriam-Webster the definition of ambivalent is "simultaneous and contradictory attitudes or feelings (as attraction and repulsion) toward an object, person, or action." I did not need to look up cheat. Unlike Armstrong, I was already quite certain of the definition. I really hope I never find myself searching for a semantic loophole to slip through in that definition.
I am not very passionate about sports. I can't say there has ever been an athlete I looked up to the way it seems people seem to worship (worshipped?) Lance Armstrong. Perhaps Mildred Ella "Babe" Didrikson Zaharias. Babe never doped. At the time of her death at the age of 45, from cancer, she was the top-ranked female golfer. If you would like to delouse yourself from this Lance Armstrong thing, read about Babe, read about Jackie Robinson, Wilma Rudolph, read about Jesse Owens. Read how the Basque Steeple Chase runner alerted the Kenya runner that he had mistaken the finish line and was not actually finished the race. Google it. I have never been an athlete but I have always known that "sport" is more about spirit than framed jerseys or endorsements.
I usually have opinions about things - ill-conceived or too rooted in emotion they may often be. There are few topics I was more ambivalent about than Lance Armstrong. Then I watched the Oprah interview and saw the 60 Minutes Sports piece. People have been worshipping a bully. A narcissistic, remorseless bully. It's not the cheating, it's the threats and intimidation that are chilling.
When I was in my 20s I worked for a man who was lying about everything. His education, his certifications, his work history - he even claimed to have played for a professional hockey team. He too was a bully and loved to threaten people. As the corporate powers that be closed in on his charade he became uglier and uglier. Being within arm's length of such a desperate person is something I hope I never experience again. In a very tiny way I can relate to what Emma O'Reilly and Betsy Andreu experienced - a very tiny way. Desperate people are dangerous. His actions toward innocent people are unforgivable.
I can't think of a longer, harder, more deserving fall from grace. So many people seem to be at a loss for what to do now that the source of their inspiration was a mere mirage. Ah but that's just it isn't it? It's always a mirage. All we ever see in other people is what we choose to see. People are our mirror. When we see good things in them, we are seeing the good things we see in ourselves. When we vilify someone we recognize something in them with which we (would rather not) identify.
I am not sure what the future holds for Lance Armstrong. But this I do know. Personally, what I love more than a victor is a Phoenix that rises from the ashes. So...we shall see.