Floyd Landis – I want to be a catalyst for positive change
I do not wish to use the conference as a “soapbox,” nor do I wish “hijack” the world championships. I will not and cannot discuss events or circumstances related to the ongoing investigations and lawsuits involving Lance Armstrong and certain of his current and former business associates and teammates, including what I saw and heard during the relevant time periods.
For more information on the New Pathways for Pro Cycling conference click here.
By way of recent background I provide the following:
The purpose of the New Pathways for Pro Cycling conference is to,
…bring together cyclists, administrators, academics, journalists, fans and others to discuss the the future direction of professional cycling as changes occur within the process of its globalisation.
Floyd’s attendance at the New Pathways for Pro Cycling conference has been controversial.
Earlier this week journalist Leo Schlink of the Melbourne Herald Sunreported comments from UCI Road World Cycling Championships event media director David Culbert:
THE spectre of notorious drug cheat Floyd Landis continued to hover over the world road cycling championships in Geelong after it was confirmed the American would appear at a Deakin University conference.
The Melbourne 2010 organising committee immediately withdrew its support for the New Pathways for Professional Cycling conference as pressure built to scuttle the invitation.
“The official imprimatur of the organising committee has been withdrawn.We believe the conference and the whole discussion around doping in sport – and particularly cycling – is worthwhile. But we believe it is inappropriate to have Floyd Landis attend the world championships, particularly when the federal investigation in the US into his allegation is still on-going.”
On Friday morning the Reuters newsagency published further comments from David Culbert on behalf of the UCI Road World Cycling Championships organising committee:
“Certainly the organising committee thought it would be a relevant adjunct to the championships, but … for him [Landis] to stand on his soapbox and continue on is not something we can be party to in any way, shape or form.”…”(We’ve) suggested that it might be an error of judgement to involve Floyd Landis and turn what is potentially a worthwhile debate to take the topic forward into a circus.”
Culbert said the conference would no longer be held in an official venue of the world championships, and he cast doubt on the cyclist’s intentions. “There are some who suggest that Floyd has seen the error of his ways in raising the issues he believes need to be raised and there’s a way to do that.”
“Some may suggest the way that Marion Jones has done that — do the mea culpa, say how sorry you are and work to try to redeem yourself — is the way to do that”…”Then there’s another way of doing that and that’s to stand on the soapbox and sling mud at anyone who might be within distance,” added Culbert.
The role and reputation of a university is based on its ability to contribute to informed public debate on matters of importance to society. The topic of doping in cycling is such an issue.
We recognise it is a controversial one, and is therefore, worth discussion in itself. The conference is a place for serious and positive discussion of this topic. Deakin University firmly believes in the value of open, rational and transparent interrogation of all views and perspectives.
We know that this cannot occur without a robust exchange from a diversity of views from people, including Mr Landis, who are prepared to speak openly and be part of the solution for the sport. Deakin is proud to make a positive contribution to public debate in this regard.
We look forward to constructive communication that can take cycling further in the 21st century. We support academic freedom and encourage staff members to comment on matters within their research expertise.
Statement by Floyd Landis 18 September 2010
As you may know, subsequent to winning the 2006 Tour de France, I failed a drug test and was ultimately disqualified and suspended from professional competition for 2 years.
During and following that suspension, I had a fair degree of time to reflect on the decisions made by and for me related to my activities as a professional bicycle racer, including, specifically, the use of banned performance enhancing drugs. The conclusions reached and the learning taken away by me during that time* are now moving me to correct, to the extent possible, the effect of those decisions on others and on and to speak out in a manner so that today’s young and future professional and amateur athletes can learn from my choices and, hopefully, avoid the same painful consequences which I have suffered and which I continue to suffer today.
In other words, like Deakin University, I too want to be a catalyst for positive change.
Effective partnerships often present themselves in unusual forms and at unusual times. My knowledge of and participation in professional cycling’s culture of dope and my participation in a conference intended to chart a new direction for cycling may seem inconsistent and inappropriate to some, including especially those that seek to maintain the status quo or otherwise cover up the extent of the doping problem and the resulting corruption under which the sport currently labors. That said, my knowledge and participation in the culture that the conference is seeking to improve, and my work with the conference organizers in that regard, is exactly the type of partnership that can and will deliver effective, progressive, relevant analysis that can be used to begin the process of repairing the currently broken sport of cycling and its governing institutions.
My intention in participating in the conference is simple. By offering an inside perspective of an athlete confronted with decisions regarding the use of banned performance enhancing drugs, I hope to be able to contribute to a better understanding of how those decisions come to be made, and how athletes can be better supported by those in a position to facilitate better decisions and decision making, including owners, sponsors, doctors, directors, riders and fans.
I have always loved racing my bicycle. For me, racing as a professional was a dream come true and it represented the culmination of years of very hard, very painful, dedicated work.
Having felt those dreams collapse, having experienced the result of my work publicly evaporate and having subjected the sport I love to unnecessary criticism, I now must be of service and do what I can to help others avoid a similar fate. And it was with that intention, not one of scandal and attack as has been suggested by my critics, that I accepted Mr. Hardie’s invitation to participate in the conference.
To be clear, I do not wish to use the conference as a “soapbox,” nor do I wish “hijack” the world championships. I will not and cannot discuss events or circumstances related to the ongoing investigations and lawsuits involving Lance Armstrong and certain of his current and former business associates and teammates, including what I saw and heard during the relevant time periods . Indeed, the behavior and comments of the persons and organizations that seek to shut down the conference as a consequence of my participation demonstrate that they are interested only in selfishly perpetuating their own positions and purported authority at the expense of progressive reform and in total disregard of the sport’s long-term interests, including those of the riders and fans, which they are charged to protect.
* I hope you can appreciate my effort here to footnote some of those conclusions and learning which provide important context to the discussions concerning my disclosures and their purpose, but which are not necessarily relevant to the purpose of this statement. The most important of these conclusions and learning are not cycling specific and appear to me now as common sense solutions to living at peace with oneself and the world; solutions to which I was blinded by a desire to win in a sport that all but requires its participants at the highest levels to disregard the rules in order to effectively compete.
Attempting to create and sustain a truth that does not square precisely with one’s reality will always ultimately fail. The energy and efforts expended in that attempt are wasted and can never be recovered or recycled into more productive or fruitful personal or social endeavors. The emptiness and unease that results from such a waste create a rattle within that can only be quieted by ongoing efforts to live in integrity and truth, and one cannot permit their past mistakes and indiscretions to forever commit them to travel a road on which they are no longer comfortable. I’ve traveled that troubled road and the consequent pain remains fresh with me. Integrity and truth cannot be nuanced or partial. Truth is nothing if it is not complete, and the story of my life cannot truthfully be told if facts important to it are omitted such that the story continues to mislead. My decision to disclose the regular use of banned doping products by me and by others with whom I have been associated is simply part of my process to square all the realities of my life and to make amends to those other than myself that have also suffered as a consequence of my poor choices.
Attempts by others to make that process into something other than I have described above, and to discredit my current efforts by pointing to my past mistakes (which I have acknowledged), simply represent their continuing, misplaced, misguided and fear-driven efforts to temporarily sustain a manufactured truth that does not square with reality of their life