Lance Gets Beat at the Line Today

>> Sunday, April 01, 2012

Here's a video from Everyman Tri that shows Lance Armstrong getting passed RIGHT at the line at today's Ironman Texas 70.3:

Someone commented this on the video right away: "The guy passing Lance at the end is a goofball. Any real sportsman would hold back, if Lance knew the guy was coming he would have sped up. The guy took advantage of the situation. Oh well."

I commented back: "Sportsmanship is not easing up to let someone beat you. It's helping them up when they've fallen. If he "had more left in the tank" than someone at the end, why not pass him? It doesn't matter if it was Lance or any random age-grouper."

He responded: "That's just your opinion, which I don't logically see as valid. Lance was a couple seconds from the line, if he really wanted to, he could have sped up if he saw the guy coming. I'm talking from a moralistic standpoint. If you don't see where I am coming from, then you have some issues. The other guy looks like a fool. I'm not a Lance fan by any means, but it just looks awkward and if it were me, I wouldn't feel appropriate with the circumstance."

And then me once more: "It's called a race. I've been beat in the closing meters (literally at the line) before. A duathlon 2 years ago. I didn't know he was coming, and he caught me. Bad on me. But not a "goofball" move for the guy who beat me to take 10th overall."

And now I'm posting here. There WILL be more comments on that video. We'll see where this goes.

I'm not a "black and white" person. I understand that there might be a bit of an unwritten rule in the closing meters of a 70.3 and 140.6 regarding "taking in the atmosphere" and just easing your way to the finish line. But I had to respond to this commenter calling this guy a goofball and saying that "any real sportsman would hold back." So I decided to play the devils advocate.

What are your feelings on this? Is this competitor a "goofball" for passing Lance in the final meters? Or was it a good kick that now allows this guy to say "I beat Lance" for the rest of his life? Thoughts?


Steve Stenzel 12:50 PM, April 01, 2012  

p.s. I feel like I should note that I just looked up the duathlon I mentioned in my comment on the video. It was last year (not 2 years ago), and I was beat for 11th (not 10th). Just wanted to clarify the details. It doesn't really matter, but I was just trying to make the point that I was "near the front," but sure not as fast as Lance! Anyway, just wanted to add that.

Kristina 12:53 PM, April 01, 2012  

I agree. It's a competition. I think if it wasn't Lance Armstrong, the person probably would agree with you as well. The race doesn't end until you cross the finish line.

Anonymous,  12:58 PM, April 01, 2012  

I would have done the same thing. It is a race, maybe he was trying to beat a PR. Is he supposed to ease up because someone is in front of him? HELL NO!! Go hard or go home!!!

Kurt @ Becoming An Ironman 12:59 PM, April 01, 2012  

Overall, I think it's a tough situation and it's hard to be too tough on him for the pass.

On one side, I've seen pros literally stop and wait for the person ahead of them to cross the finish before coming to the line out of respect. Unless it's a matter of 1st and 2nd (which never comes that close at these distances), let respect win out over ego.

On the other hand, if you were out on the course and you knew there was a guy miles behind you going at a pace that was going to beat your current place, you might speed up, right? But what if you didn't know about him? You wouldn't change anything. So what's different about this?, only that it happened at the finish line. Tactics. Age groupers are simply out for a time. The pros play tactics. You can't blame them for it.

If I were Lance, I wouldn't knock the guy for passing me. I might keep him on my "don't be nice to him next time around" or "teach him a lesson" list though.

Christi 1:18 PM, April 01, 2012  

It's a freakin' race! Go hard all the way through the tape.

RunningLaur 1:31 PM, April 01, 2012  

The other racer had it in him to push at the end, by all means go for it. It's not like he pushed Lance out of the way in order to beat him, he just ran it out.
If finishing with a faster time or higher place was something important to Lance, he should have pushed it harder to the finish. He's a big enough name that if he wanted to go back and pose for some photos in the finish chute afterward, I'm sure it could have happened.

(This is coming from one of the least competitive, slowest runners out there, too. Just for reference.)

Petraruns 1:33 PM, April 01, 2012  

I'm astounded by the commenter's comment - that you responded to. I can't help but think it's something to do with the person passed being Lance. If you're racing you're ALWAYS looking to go as fast as you can go, right up until the finish line. If Lance had wanted to get there first he should not have taken it so easy. If taking it easy (which I'm sure was still a very impressive time) meant that he could get passed by someone else with more in the tank - so be it! That's competition. Few are as agressive and competitive as Lance himself, so he should understand.

Anonymous,  1:46 PM, April 01, 2012  

The Pros are chasing points to qualify for Kona. A lot of these guys' need all the points they can get during these races. The race doesn't end until the time stops (which is at the finish line). What if the guy let Lance finish ahead of him and then misses Kona by 40pts (which was the difference in 6th to 7th place)?

Anonymous,  1:50 PM, April 01, 2012  

Don't take your victory lap until you've crossed the line...... It meant a lot more to the winner than to Lance.

kT 2:19 PM, April 01, 2012  

Honestly, there are times when the best way to beat someone is to catch them by surprise. This happens ALL the time in track (running) races, and Lance himself has done this on the bike (remember his shadow coming up on Kloden at the end of a TdF stage that Floyd Landis was trying to win for US Postal? Lance took the win when Floyd couldn't, and he did it by surprising Andreas Kloden at the very end, coming out of nowhere. At least I think it was Kloden).

So here it looked like Lance wasn't racing that guy, but whatever--if I cared about my place and/or time, I wouldn't be high fiving in the chute. Or at least not without looking behind me first.

Jeff Irvin 2:48 PM, April 01, 2012  

What is more shocking is that the term "goofball" was used? Who says that, other than my 95 yr old Grandmother?

jen 3:38 PM, April 01, 2012  

Agree- it's a race. Lance has to know to glance behind him in that final stretch. Rookie mistake made by a pro!

Holly 4:26 PM, April 01, 2012  

It's a race! Push your hardest to the end, and if you get passed at the finish line or anywhere else, you'll still know you did the best you could. Maybe Lance was doing his best, and maybe he wasn't, but it doesn't matter--the other guy beat him fairly.

Luis Fernando Oliveira 4:35 PM, April 01, 2012  

WHAT???? I did not read any of the comments before posting, nor I need to: the guy has EVERY RIGHT to run as fast and pass any one during the entire length of the race.


Luis Fernando Oliveira 4:38 PM, April 01, 2012  

Ok, now I've read the comments. We are a bunch of douches, apparently.

Katie Duffy 4:52 PM, April 01, 2012  

Lance ran out of steam and was walking in some of the later miles. The other guy paced himself better and had enough left for a kick at the end. I don't see a single think wrong with that; it's not like Lance was (for example) a first-time Ironman finisher trying to hear Mike Reilly say his name and the other guy spoiled it. He was there to compete as a pro.

Rachel Elizabeth 5:31 PM, April 01, 2012  

It's a RACE and you should absolutely pass anyone you can at the line! I'll never understand why anyone would think you should let someone finish in front of you on purpose. If that's how you roll, then just stick to running/cycling/swimming with friends on the weekends instead of signing up for races!

Donna G 5:46 PM, April 01, 2012  

I'm not a triathlete, dualthete, and barely think of myself as an athlete being a newbie runner who has never run further than 12.01 miles (which just happened to be this morning). So, this is just my own personal opinion and nothing else. When I race, or even just run, the only person I'm racing is myself and the demons in my head. I don't particularly care whether someone else is faster than me, whether someone beats me at the line, before the line, or right after the starting line. I am very slow and I'm never going to win a race or my age group, and that is just fine with me. I just want to do the very best that *I* can do. What's to say the same can't be said for the guy in this video? It doesn't matter who would have been in front of me. If I had something left to give and could see the finish line, you can bet I'd push as much as I can ... for me, and no-one else. I mean no disrespect to anyone out there. We all run/bike/swim/whatever for our own personal selves and I am in awe of those of you who are able to get out there and Race. I'm competitive, sure, but against myself, and I don't think the poster of the goofball comment really has anything relevant to say in terms of intent unless he's walked (ok, run) a mile in either racer's shoes.

Spokane Al 5:48 PM, April 01, 2012  

I found the little girl at the end of the race yelling Lance! Lance! as she tried to get his attention to give him his finisher medal even more interesting.

I guess he has enough medals.

Anonymous,  5:58 PM, April 01, 2012  

The triathlete passing Lance appears to have been pushing for his finish. He finished ahead of Lance and stronger too. Congratulations! Lance Armstrong couldn't even see fit to acknowledge his presence,let alone congratulate him on his finish... which would have been the true sportsman like thing to have done.

Tyler Ross 7:07 PM, April 01, 2012  

personally-I think the guy looks like an @$$...if this was for a podium, or lance was stopped signing an autograph, so be it....someone racing at that level shouldn't need the 3 seconds he gained by punking lance.

-That being said, if the points he got because of it qualify him for Kona, then i take everything back. Race on.

Tyler Ross 7:07 PM, April 01, 2012  

also-that was lance's daughter at the end of the race... -I believe

Steve Stenzel 9:17 PM, April 01, 2012  

So it seems less "controversial" than I thought it was going to be. I was afraid I might have been a little out of line when I played devil's advocate, but most of you seem to feel the same way.

I can still TOTALLY see both sides. And I like Jeff's comment about the use of "goofball." Ha!

Laura is Undeterrable 9:46 PM, April 01, 2012  

The only time I would consider holding back is if someone was having a more "ceremonial" finish. Perhaps if someone was finishing their billionth half marathon or something and there was a big thing at the finish line. Of course, I'm way back in the bottom half of the pack so one spot further down in the rankings doesn't matter. If you are actually racing for placement, then by all means pass the crap out of someone.

Andy Rosebrook 10:11 PM, April 01, 2012  

2012 Ironman 70.3 US Pro Championship-Texas

P-1500 $65000/$32,500 M/F
Place-Points-Purse Out
1 1500 $12,000
2 1200 $6,000
3 1000 $5,000
4 700 $3,000
5 600 $2,500
6 560 $1,750
7 520 $1,250
8 480 $1,000
9 440
10 400

What's the problem? These are pros. That's 40 points and $500. You race to the finish line especially when that is what you do for a living. Lance was fried those last few miles, so I don't know if he really could have done much (Slowed to 8:30 miles the last split).

LBTEPA 3:48 AM, April 02, 2012  

Some Americans seem to have a bit of a Lance-worship thing going

Coy Martinez 8:25 AM, April 02, 2012  

Fair is fair. If the guy passed Lance than good for him. Do you think that in basketball or in any other major sport, with a game winning bucket / field goal on the line that the other team is just gonna not try because they have such admiration for their opponent? Think not.

Plus, describing someone who finishes an Ironman as a "goofball" pisses me off.

Jeanne DeBonis 9:10 AM, April 02, 2012  

I've gotten beat at the finish line more times than I'd like to admit, and i've done it back to people as well. The race is not over until you cross that line, I don't care WHO you are. You can express your admiration for the person you ran down AFTER you cross the line. I usually say "nice race" (notice Lance just ignored the guy).

Erin 10:14 AM, April 02, 2012  

Its a race and a huge Pro $$$ event. I can't blame Jordan one bit for crossing Lance out at the finish.

Michael 12:22 PM, April 02, 2012  

A very sad Lance. And not pushing to cross the finish line first isn't even the issue. It is the way he completely ignored the young lady who was trying to give him the medal. He was obviously too good to take the medal from the girl, who obviously thought he was special.

Of course, the best he could manage was second place, so it's not like he won or anything.

Alison 1:15 PM, April 02, 2012  

The race ends at the finish line, not some nebulous area around the finish line. Indeed, the point of having the line is to show exactly where the race ends, and exactly where you race to. If you slow down before it - whether it's 10km before or 1m before - and you get passed, well, that's what happens in a race.

Alison 1:17 PM, April 02, 2012  

PS - to Michael, the young lady at the finish line was his daughter, and she was yelling "Dad, Dad!". We could all assume he didn't see/hear her because he was tired from the effort. And he didn't finish 2nd, he finished 7th.

Paul Sawyer 8:15 PM, April 02, 2012  

Run your ass off to the end, whether it is Lance Armstrong or Jesus at the finish. Besides, was it obvious to the finisher that he was behind Lance Armstrong? How would he know? Thena again, it still doesn't matter. Run! Run like the wind!

My Boring Triathlon Blog 4:10 AM, April 03, 2012  

uhhh isn't a race? aren't you suppose to try and beat others?

Jumper 2.0 6:33 AM, April 03, 2012  


That guy is ridiculous. Yet, another reason not to go to Everyman Tri, a site I have avoided for years now.

Meredith 8:32 AM, April 04, 2012  

Texas 70.3 was the US Championships for the pros. It should be a race all the way to the finish line.

Born To Endure 9:21 AM, April 04, 2012  

I am deleting everymantri from my blog roll as well. It gets annoying and he's basically just copying what is out there already on the net..yawn.
Anywho..i'm sure Lance has NEVER done anything unsportsmanlike like..cough cough..

Unknown 9:30 AM, April 04, 2012  

It's a race not a bake sale! That's why it's called a competition!

Spencer 10:31 PM, April 05, 2012  

Lance is the goofball for slowing down to a trot. Even if it was Mother Teresa on a walker I would have burned it through the tape

Anonymous,  9:27 PM, April 06, 2012  

Hello Lance - I'd kick your ass. The end. Respect? Respect is giving it your ever-loving all all the way through.

Bruther 2:54 PM, April 09, 2012  

PErsonally, and by no means right or wrong, if I am coming up on someone at the end of a 4-5 hour race and I know they dont see me I wont pass right at the line....placement means little unless you are going for some type of points or are a pro. If they see me and dont go, and I can, I will pass.

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