Author Roger Pielke Jr. dropped by CBS Sports Radio on Monday to discuss his new book, “The Edge: The War against Cheating and Corruption in the Cutthroat World of Elite Sports.” The book explores how athletes cheat to gain a competitive advantage in their respective sports and offers suggestions to maintain the integrity of competition.
Pielke, who has spent much of his career studying science and climate change, discussed cheating in various sports, including tennis, football, the Olympics, and cycling – which means, yes, Lance Armstrong. Interestingly enough, Armstrong, as well as USADA’S Travis Tygart, visited one of Pielke’s courses at the University of Colorado.
“It’s interesting because Lance got in trouble for two big things,” Pielke said on Ferrall on the Bench. “One is cheating in sports, doping. But that didn’t make him unique. The part that made him unique – and he said this out loud in my class – he said his colleagues, people that supported him, reporters, he threw people under the bus. I think a lot of the anger at Armstrong is not just that he cheated in sport – because most cyclists in that era were cheating exactly like he was; it’s just that he was not a good person.”
Armstrong was apparently very open with Pielke’s students.
“It was really interesting,” Pielke said. “My class was called Introduction to Sports Governance. I had about 85 students in my class. He tweeted out the night before (that he was coming to my class). So I had international media, I had a standing-room-only crowd, I had police, university officials – but I give him props for coming and taking all questions from the students. The first question from a student was, ‘How can you show your face in public?’ He had an interesting mix of being defiant and apologetic. (He’s) obviously still working through issues, but it was fascinating having him there and giving a human face to the students who hear about doping and cheating in sport. People asked him, ‘When did you start? Why did you do it?’ and so on. He didn’t seem to back away from any of the questions.”