I made my first trip to Tibet in 1987. One of my companions was a former British army officer called Garry Daintry, who told me that during the winter he helped out on the Cresta Run in St Moritz. The Cresta is an ice chute that you descend on a ‘skeleton’, a toboggan that you lie down on head first, and which has neither brakes nor any steering mechanism. You can try to control the speed by ‘raking’, rubbing the spikes of your special shoes on the ice, but you will inevitably reach speeds approaching sixty miles an hour.
I’m trying to remember what I thought about Lance Armstrong before the USADA report came out. I mean, if I thought he was clean. I’ve got personal reasons for liking him: he comes from my hometown, and in 2006 may have helped to save my brother-in-law’s life. Asher Price, who works for the local Austin paper, the American Statesman, got the same kind of cancer that Armstrong had. On the day his testicle was removed, he got an email from the cyclist, which offered not only the usual sympathy but a recommendation: he should see Lawrence Einhorn in Indiana, the doctor who pioneered the treatment that saved Armstrong.
David Runciman on Lance Armstrong in the LRB, 22 November 2012: Blood-doping was what gave Armstrong a shot at becoming one of the legends of the sport. But it is clear that in his own mind what made the difference was how he doped: he simply did it better than anyone else, more creatively, more ruthlessly, more fearlessly. He exploited the same opportunities that were available to everyone. For Armstrong, drugs added an extra element of competition to the sport: the competition to be the person who made best use of the drugs.