Lance Armstrong, the personification of chutzpah

There’s nerviness -- that was Lance Armstrong denying for years that he had engaged in doping, aggressively insisting that the public and his sponsors should trust his word over whatever some of his colleagues in the sport were saying about him.

Then there’s chutzpah, the kind of eye-widening impudence that defies all our inner sense of logic and proportion. That would be Armstrong seeking to have a lawsuit against him thrown out on the grounds that his sponsors should have known all along that he was a liar.

That interesting notion, reported by the Wall Street Journal, is part of Armstrong's attempt to fend off a whistle-blower lawsuit in which he is accused of defrauding the U.S. Postal Service. The suit, which seeks up to $120 million, covers the period from 1995 to 2004 when USPS sponsored the U.S. cycling team.

The question, really, is whether Armstrong’s argument is simply an example of appalling chutzpah or the definition of it.

I’m trying to think of a worse case of unmitigated gall, but it isn’t coming to mind easily. Even Anthony Weiner’s insistence that he’s continuing his run for New York mayor, despite the revelation that he continued to engage in sexting even after his resignation from Congress, doesn’t really compete with the legal claim of the once champion, whose message now is that no one should ever believe a word he says.

But then, who does give Armstrong a ride for his money on this score?


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