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Writing and writers

Jan 17, 2013

Ten (Australian) questions for Cancer Jesus

If Cancer Jesus ever returns to Adelaide he can expect to be dragged from his private jet at the airport, hitched to the back of a truck with a rope, hauled into the city down Anzac Parade and his lifeless body hung for display from a light standard in Victoria Square while the crowds that once sang his praises to the sky bay for his blood. He doesn't deserve any better.

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Unlike the several hundred thousand Australians that will be glued to their small screens on Friday and Saturday nights this week watching a marshmallow “interview” the biggest fraud in sporting history I’ll have something better to do.

Like eating my own liver. Or standing outside a bar in Darwin’s Mitchell Street picking fights.

I’ll do just about anything to avoid the biggest media stunt in (recent) sporting or political history.

I satisfied myself that Lance Armstrong (aka Cancer Jesus) was a liar and a cheat quite a few years ago and have devoted more than a few hundred column inches and hours of my time convincing others to that view. Most likely, as is the way with anyone going up against a criminal enterprise of the massive scale set up and maintained by Cancer Jesus, with varying degrees of success.

Earlier this week David Walsh, senior sports journalist with The Sunday Times and one of the few that has pursued, and been pursued by, Cancer Jesus and his criminal crew, published ten questions that he thought should be asked of the Texan by the Marshmallow.

• Did you tell doctors at the Indiana University Hospital on Oct 27, 1996 that you had taken EPO, human growth hormone, cortisone, steroids and testosterone?

• After returning from cancer how did you justify putting banned drugs in your body? 

• Did you have any sympathy for those rivals determined to race clean?

• Do you regret how you treated Betsy Andreu, your former masseuse Emma O’Reilly and Greg LeMond?

• Do you admit that your friend Dr Michele Ferrari fully supported your team’s doping?

• Is it your intention to return the prize money you earned from Sept 1998 to July 2010?

• Did you sue The Sunday Times to shut us up?

• Was your failure to understand Floyd Landis the key to your downfall?

• Do you accept your lying to the cancer community was the greatest deception of all?

• Why have you chosen Oprah Winfrey for your first interview as a banned athlete?

I’ll bet London to a brick that the Marshmallow didn’t put any of Walsh’s well-informed questions to Cancer Jesus during their cosy fireside chat.

I’ve not been asking questions about Cancer Jesus as long as David Walsh and others pursuing him but have been doing my best to poke sharp sticks under the fingernails of those closest to him in this country since 2009, when Cancer Jesus returned to professional cycling in the South Australian government-run Tour Down Under, an annual early-season down-under training run for pro-cyclists escaping the European winter.

I’ve asked questions of a lot of people in South Australia and beyond associated with cycling and Cancer Jesus over the years. Usually – no surprise here – my questions have been about money, along the lines of “How much did you pay Cancer Jesus this year?

I’ve yet to receive any meaningful response from anyone at any government or non-government agency that has tipped money into Cancer Jesus’ pockets over the years. You can catch up with a few of my pieces here or by a quick search at The Northern Myth home page.

In the unlikely event that Cancer Jesus decides to return to Australia in the near future, here are ten questions that we could ask of him.

1 – How much were you paid by the South Australian Government to appear at the Tour Down Under in 2009, 2010 and 2011?

2 – If, as you claimed in 2010, that money was your personal income, how much Australian tax did you pay on that money?

3 – Will you release copies of the agreement/s between you and the South Australian government. If not, why not?

4 – While competing in the Tour Down Under in 2009, 2010 and 2011 did you take any performance-enhancing drugs (EPO, human growth hormone, cortisone, steroids and testosterone) or engage in the practice commonly known as “blood-doping.”

5 – If you did take those drugs or engage in that practice, what drugs and/or equipment did you bring into Australian, how did you bring them in and who assisted in that enterprise?

6 – Who in Australia knew, or could reasonably have known, that you were engaging in such practises while here?

7 – South Australia Premier Jay Weatherill has asked for the repayment of the several million dollars in appearance fees paid to you for the Tour Down Under cycle races in 2009, 2010 and 2011. What say you?

8 – Will you apologise to the Australian cancer community to whom you have given such false hope for so long?

9 – What arrangements existed – including payment for using the Livestong.com/org image and name – between you, Livestrong.com/org and the Flinders University LIVESTRONG™ Cancer Research Centre?

10 – Please identify the Australian cycling administrators, director sportifs, race directors and officials, media commentators who knew, or could reasonably have known, that you had taken PEDs or engaged in blood doping?

Cancer Jesus is scheduled to be back in this country in December 2014 when he is, apparently, scheduled to be a guest at the World Cancer Congress in Melbourne. You can see his performance in Montreal – just days after USADA announced it had imposed a sanction of lifetime ineligibility and disqualification of competitive results achieved by Cancer Jesus since August 1, 1998 – at the 2012 World Cancer Congress here

If Cancer Jesus does come to Australia next year he will be well advised to stay away from Adelaide and anyone to do with Australian cycling, the Tour Down Under and the Flinders University LIVESTRONG™ Cancer Research Centre.

The Flinders Centre has already removed his image from their walls and businesses in the city have torn down the enormous posters of his face that were once emblazoned across down-town Adelaide.

Lance Armstrong” and “Livestrong” were once words associated in the City of Churches with sporting glory and hope against terrible despair and pain. Now those words only bring forth ugly images of fraud and a grand deception on a scale hitherto unknown.

If Cancer Jesus ever returns to Adelaide he can expect to be dragged from his private jet at the airport, hitched to the back of a truck with a rope, hauled into the city down Anzac Parade and his lifeless body hung for display and public humiliation from a light standard in Victoria Square while the crowds that once sang his praises to the sky bay for his blood.

He doesn’t deserve any better.

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