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Lance Armstrong and Gary Kasparov: Explaining heroes to your child

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I explained that Kasparov recently announced he would run for the presidency of the Russian Chess Federation against President Vladimir Putin's man. Kasparov made Putin angry and suddenly Kasparov is arrested, beaten, and accused of something crazy. I believe the police dog bit the officer. Quin's response was, "But that's not fair!" Sometimes life's not fair.

Today I find myself at the dining room table with my husband and sons poring over every detail of the decision made by Armstrong to stop fighting the charges leveled by the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) that could cost him his seven Tour de France titles. His entire career has been dogged internationally by charges of illegal doping, yet he passed every test. He has decried the USADA's practices as a "one-sided and unfair process." This is an American quasi-governmental agency that appears to have little oversight and perhaps not the actual authority to overrule the International Cycling Union, which has been backing Armstrong in this fight.

"I don't understand," said son Ian, 17, who cycles and along with all of us has sat glued to the TV during Tour de France time each year since he could sit. "Is Armstrong admitting he doped?" To take no action is an action, some say.

My husband hopped on at that point, saying something that made me cringe, "I don't care. Lance Armstrong won seven Tour de France titles and every one was a feat of strength, endurance, and amazing to watch."

Uh-oh! Now Mom's on quicksand in the parenting department.

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