Success must not compromise morals

Photo by Ariel Bravy

The story of Lance Armstrong was one of the most inspirational stories in sports. A man who at one point thought he might die of cancer was now dominating the sport of cycling. After each Tour de France title, the legend grew more and more. Lance Armstrong became a household name throughout the world and provided hope to anyone with cancer that they too could survive and get back to doing what they love. The story seemed almost too good to be true, and come to find out, it was.

If you’ve been paying any attention to the news over the past few weeks you’ve probably heard about Lance Armstrong finally admitting to using performance enhancing drugs (PEDs) throughout his cycling career.

Although it had been highly speculated in the past, Armstrong had continued denying that he had ever used PEDs. Not only had Armstrong lied for years about using PEDs, but also he would call journalist liars for reporting any story hinting that he may have used them.

I think we can all learn a lesson from Armstrong

Throughout his career, Armstrong had put countless hours of work in to become one of the best athletes in the world. Even with the help of PEDs, I still believe his athletic accomplishments are impressive. I believe anybody that can fight through cancer and then go on to compete at that level has the determination in them that many of us lack.

As an extremely competitive person myself, I can see what drove Armstrong to use PEDs. I imagine that he wanted to win so bad that he was willing to do whatever it took, even if it meant breaking the rules.

The thing that makes it so hard to forgive Armstrong isn’t the fact that he clearly was a cheater, but that he lied about it for so long. Had he just admitted to it after it was initially reported, I would still have respect for Armstrong as a person and I think many others would too. For as much as an inspiration that Armstrong had been to people all the over the world at one time, the only thing that he will be remembered for is being a liar.

As students at one of the best academic institutions in the nation, I think we can all learn a lesson from Armstrong. He spent so many years building up a reputation of being one of the best competitors in the world just to see it all come crashing down from a few bad decisions and a total lack of integrity. Like Armstrong, many of the students here at Tech have great reputations, mainly for being smart. At the beginning of every semester you always hear professors talk about the Honor Code, but I think most people just blow it off.

I think as students we really need to show integrity…

While only being here for a little over a semester, I’ve seen multiple occasions of people cheating, and it just isn’t right. Is the few extra points you might get on a test worth the risk of getting caught cheating?

Although this is on a much smaller scale, I don’t think anyone wants to be known as a cheater. I realize some students just want to be successful so bad that they are willing to do anything, but I think as students we really need to show integrity in the classroom. Not only to protect our personal reputation, but the reputation of one of the greatest institutions in the country. When we head out into the work force, I think it is important for Tech graduates to remember that we are representing Tech and we should do our best to live up to the standards and reputation that Tech graduates have as employees.