Armstrong issue should be put in perspective, says Olympic champion
London Olympic Sprint champion Anna Meares has responded to the suggestion by International Olympic Committee member Dick Pound that cycling could be removed from the Olympic programme. Pound's comments come in the build-up to the possible confession of Lance Armstrong in a two-part interview with Oprah Winfrey.
Meare's voiced her opinion on her personal website, expressing her concerns for the younger and upcoming generation who would essentially receive the punishment for the actions of others.
"It would be disappointing to see cycling pulled from the Olympics and we all need to keep it in perspective that it is a Lance Armstrong issue, not every cyclist," said Meares on annameares.com.au.
"Just as we here in Australia have issues with drink driver's on our roads, this does not mean every driver is a bloody idiot; so to that just because cycling in its past and even in its recent past have had issues with a minority of its athletes cheating, doesn't mean every cyclist cheats.
"Drugs have been taken in cycling's past, there is no denying it. I believe we deserve the reputation we have as a result of the bad choices and decisions of some of its athletes, but it is not the only sport with issues.
"It is disappointing reports suggest that from his interview with Oprah, that Lance has been dishonest but this behaviour is not a part of my life practice privately nor professionally.
Meares is one of Australia's most decorated track cyclists, having amassed ten world championship gold medals and two Olympic titles; in Athens, 2004 and London in 2012. She was most recently awarded the prestigious Sir Hubert Opperman Medal at the Australian Cyclist of the Year Awards and was named the 2012 Australian Cyclist of the Year.
"What about the many disciplines under cycling? Track, mountain bike, BMX, Para cycling? Should they all be punished for what happened on the road pre 2000's? What about the younger generation coming through dreaming, aiming, working hard for that chance to represent their country at the Olympics who are today in their teens or younger? Do we say to them; sorry, no more dreaming for you, blame Lance Armstrong?"
Plans for Rio 2016 had yet to be decided following Meares' London campaign and with Pound's comments made public, Meares remains hopeful cycling is not cut from the Olympics.
"Let's wait and see what has been said in the interview between Lance and Oprah before any comments or opinions are made and I hope that if there are any ramifications involved it is reserved for the people who did wrong, not the sport of cycling as a whole."
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