For many years, Lance Armstrong was considered a hero for the ages. Not only was he an accomplished cyclist and multiple Tour de France winner, but he was a cancer survivor and the inspiration behind a campaign that helped raise awareness, not to mention millions of dollars, for the fight against a killer disease.
Now after years of doping allegations, Armstrong is considered a pariah and a disgrace to the racing world. As far as the Tour de France is concerned Lance Armstrong's seven consecutive victories never happened. He has also been banned for life from cycling by the International Cycling Union, whose boss said he deserves to be forgotten by the sport.
It's like he never existed.
Pretty hard to do for a man who had so much success and helped raise the profile of a sport that was hardly a media darling or television favourite among viewers. In a sport dominated by Italian, Spanish and French riders, Armstrong showed that people from this side of the Atlantic Ocean can compete on the world cycling stage.
Now it appears as though it was all tainted.
The rumours and speculation have been there for years. Every so often someone would come forward with doping allegations aimed at Armstrong, but he was Teflon. Nothing would stick to him and it appeared that despite the naysayers his legacy was safe.
Armstrong, who continues to deny the allegations, is not the first high profile athlete to crash and burn after being exposed as a cheat and a fraud. Almost every Canadian remembers Ben Johnson's plummet into disgrace after winning the gold medal in sprinting at the 1988 Olympics in Seoul.
Armstrong was supposed to be different, though. It was not supposed to end this way. The Texan fought and beat testicular cancer that spread to his lungs and brain. He was the poster child for the accomplishments of cancer survivors. He showed cancer can be beaten.
Hopefully, Armstrong's fall from the lofty heights of the cycling world will not be discouraging to other cancer survivors. He showed how high someone who has beaten one of life's greatest challenges can climb. On the flip side, he has also become the poster child for how far someone can fall when years of deception finally catch up to them.
If anything, this saga goes to prove cheaters never win. It should send the message that using performance-enhancing drugs is not the way to reach the podium and will more likely lead to expulsion and disgrace.