08/27/2012 07:29 pm ET

Table Talk: Lance Armstrong To Lose Titles

This week's Family Dinner Table Talk, from HuffPost and The Family Dinner book:

It was a shocking announcement -- and sad news for cycling fans. Last week, Lance Armstrong, winner of seven consecutive Tour de France titles -- and a public figure known for his courage in the face of struggle -- announced that he is no longer going to fight allegations that he used drugs to become a better athlete. As a result, he may be stripped of all seven titles, his 2000 Olympic bronze medal, and other awards he has received throughout his career.

Armstrong had been a hugely inspirational figure, particularly to cancer survivors. He had already started his career as a cyclist when he was diagnosed with testicular cancer at the age of 25 -- but he fought the disease, and when he had regained some strength, started training again. Three years after he was diagnosed, he won his first title, and went on to win the next six titles, every year until 2005.

In spite of over 500 clean drug tests and the fact that he has been retired since 2005 (with a brief return in 2009), the United States Anti-Doping agency continued to press charges due to accusations from fellow athletes. In a personal statement, Armstrong announced “Enough is enough.” He hopes to focus on other things, particularly continuing to raise money for the LiveStrong foundation, which has raised $500 million to help those fighting cancer.

Some fans are devastated. HuffPost blogger Michelle Noehren, who believes he's innocent, writes:

It’s a really, really sad day for those of us who choose to have faith in people, to believe that people are telling the truth when all evidence is on their side. It’s a sad day for our kids to watch the unjust takedown of an American hero.

Others seem disappointed in a man who was once a role model. Jim Moret writes questioningly on HuffPost:

Has our faith been misplaced all these years? Was Armstrong doping and have we been duped? How could this fighter not fight, unless he knew it was a war that he could not win? It seems so fundamentally contrary to the character of the man we thought we knew, a man in whom so many people believed. Where are our heroes today?

As for Armstrong, he’s staying upbeat. “Going forward, I am going to devote myself to raising my five beautiful (and energetic) kids, fighting cancer, and attempting to be the fittest 40-year old on the planet,” he writes.

Questions for discussion:
  • Do you think it was right for Armstrong to lose his titles and medals?
  • Should Armstrong have continued fighting the charges if he is innocent?
  • Have you ever been disappointed in one of your role models?

In her cookbook, The Family Dinner, Laurie David talks about the importance of families making a ritual of sitting down to dinner together, and how family dinners offer a great opportunity for meaningful discussions about the day's news. "Dinner," she says, "is as much about digestible conversation as it is about delicious food."

We couldn't agree more. So HuffPost has joined with Laurie and every Friday afternoon, just in time for dinner, our editors highlight one of the most compelling news stories of the week -- stories that will spark a lively discussion among the whole family.