Bild: Joachim Wendler - Fotolia.

Hero in disguise?

12.07.2018 | Research
A case study on a ringleader’s doping code

“There comes a point in every man's life when he has to say: enough is enough". With these words Lance Armstrong stopped fighting against the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency after thirteen years. The investigations against him, laid out in a 202 pages long report, claimed Armstrong to be one of the ringleaders of systematic doping in top level sport. As a consequence, he had to give back his seven Tour de France titles and all other awards and money he won from 1998 forward.

Being at the center of the biggest doping scandal in sport history, this case seems to distinguish itself from other cases. While Armstrong portrayed himself as a role model, an athletic hero in the leadership engine “sport,” he did not only use performance enhancing drugs, but he induced his teammates to do the same. This case seems to indicate that doping is not only an institutionalized activity, but that it can also be built on and led by individuals with certain personality traits and behaviors. Hence, this study addressed which distinct character traits motivated Armstrong’s actions and how Armstrong manipulated and controlled his environment. Narrative and content analysis of secondary data were applied. It included reports, interviews, talks and other mass-media outputs in print, online and film format.