The last few months have seen a number of sports idols disgracing themselves. Lance Armstrong leads this rogue’s gallery of fallen heroes after his dramatic confession to Oprah Winfrey that he stuffed his veins with EPO, testosterone and his own blood.
While Armstrong was trying to defuse LieStrong, Notre Dame’s Manti Te’o was explaining his role in a phony-girlfriend scandal—a bizarre drama that exposed Te’o as either a clueless dupe or calculating mythologist instead of the solid citizen he was hyped to be.
These ignoble incidents came around the same time Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa were being spurned for inclusion into the MLB Hall of Fame. Statistically, these four should be Cooperstown automatics, but each player was an assumed or admitted user of performance-enhancing drugs, and rejected by voters.
Add to that the ugly, useless NHL lockout, and last winter the sports pages read like an anthology of human failing instead of a record of inspiring athletic accomplishment. Sports writers helpfully pointed out that big-time sports have always been infected by scoundrels—racists, drunks, cheats, thieves, even murderers—so this is nothing new. But that doesn’t mean we all can’t use a nice palate cleanser from this distasteful nonsense.
We have just the antidote for scandal fatigue: the Arnold Sports Festival. This year marks the 25th anniversary of the ASF, and it’s bigger than ever (see “Party in Columbus!”). While it provides a powerful adrenaline rush for sports fans, the ASF is more focused on celebrating self-improvement through physical activity. Sure, there may be a few scoundrels hanging around, but they’ll be overwhelmed by the thousands of visitors aged 8–80 who are there for the pure joy of fitness. While it may rain or snow in Columbus during the ASF, at least you won’t have to dodge fallen idols.
Editor in Chief