It has also raised issues for sports fans with sweeping statements being made about sporting heroes always letting their public down.
Cycling seems to have a particular problem in this regard with one Tour de France winner after another falling into disgrace.
Armstrong has now joined other notables such as Ben Johnson and Marion Jones in the pantheon of drug cheats, but does this lead us to the conclusion that all our sporting heroes are destined to be exposed as having feet of clay? People like to talk about role models and that we should hold our heroes to high standards. This is all well and good but overlooks the fact that sporting icons are human beings who are doing extraordinary things.
We love sport because of the thrill it gives us when our team wins or when our favourite player scores the winner. Neither the ‘Hand of God’ nor the ‘Hand of Henry’ significantly dented those players’ credentials amongst their die-hard fans.
What made Lance Armstrong’s case different was the persistent use of his cancer diagnosis to show how preposterous the idea of him taking drugs was. There are many good people the world over who have been affected by cancer and to have it hijacked to perpetuate the myth of Armstrong was unforgivable.
It was his hypocrisy in this regard that means he will be reviled.