SA cyclist Robbie Hunter responds to doping scandal
In an email this week, the Lance Armstrong team member outright dismisses doping himself but talks about the culture of peer pressure that existed.
"During this period it was a sport as a whole that was dealing with this problem [of doping]. If it was one person specifically I say it's easy to draw the line and say he cheated because everybody else was clean.
"But back then, as you have now seen, there were so many people doing the same thing and they all made bad judgments due to peer pressure and a number of other things. So when a person honestly believes everybody else is doing it ... it no longer becomes a thing of cheating but possibly trying to just fit in. The black and white all of a sudden becomes grey.
"So that's why I say it's a thing of the blind leading the blind. And then everybody, or at least most people, are seeing things the same way in this grey area. Who are you cheating? Definitely not the other competitors as we now see they were doing the same. That's why I say it was people being pushed in a direction that was not right and now looking back a bunch of mistakes [were made] that just bring you in deeper until it's normal. Or so they all believed.
"Yes there were people who never did anything, like myself. But how hard is it to be one person to take on an entire system. I decided to carry on and not care what others did. I won what I could when I could but a lot of the time I was on the receiving end. I accepted that, and besides I've never been a person to worry about what other people think of me and I've never ever in my life been a person to succumb to peer pressure. I've always known my own identity and always done the things I believe to be right.
"One thing my dad taught me then I was young … was that I should never back away from anything in life or anybody in any situation if I am right. I've always fought for what I am as a person. And if nobody likes that they can literally 'fuck off', excuse my language.
"I know I've succeed where others in South Africa never did. But that's because I've always trained more, believed more and fought even harder than anybody else. I decided my life, and always will. I don't and will never be a person to listen [to] the normal 'you can' or '[you] won't' or crap like that.
"That's why I succeed, in my small world. I know I'm not and never was and never will be the worlds best but I'm happy with what I am and was."