News of the Tweet: The Fall Out of the Fall

Ingredients of Mischief, The Drugs Don't Work and Two Balls are Better Than One


By Seb Kemp

We could go on and on and on about the US FDA and USADA reports into Lance Armstrong and doping practices at US Postal (and the slow reveal of many more culprits within the creme de la creme of road cycling), but that would only feed the insatiable desire for drippy news and opinion which is characterizing the social media-fed witch hunt [http://www.biscuittinmedia.com/cycling-witch-trials/] and already is starting to bore some people. [http://www.bikemag.com/blog/the-web-monkey-speaks/]

Twitter has been awash with Lance tweets. Some humorous…

…some inane…

…and some that raise some interesting talking points.

Bike Magazine contributor, Travis Engel, made a similar point the other day. Why don’t we view artists and musicians as cheaters when they ingest enough drugs to bring about the altered state of mind which, arguably, has contributed to their creative output? Yes, the drugs that Lance was using are radically different than the drugs that were gorged upon by some of the greatest rock and rollers of all time or are injected into the penises of modern day wannabes, but still, is that not cheating too? Vice offers us a look at hopeless Pete Doherty and the Libertines as a test case.

This “issue” has undoubtably pushed road cycling into a whole new realm of public exposure. The old adage that any publicity is good publicity is worth considering. Will road cycling be forever viewed as a dirty sport where everyone was “cheating”, leaving it tarnished in the eyes of the public? Or will road cycling clean up its image and become the shining light of better sportsmanship and fair play?

Could you imagine if testing became mandatory in amateur mountain biking? Is bud and Buds on the banned substance list?

Despite all the negative press raining down on road cycling this week, the world (and cyclists as a whole) need to remember that we aren’t the same thing. Just because Lance might have a future pressing license plates or diving into his gold coin swimming pool like Scrooge McDuck doesn’t mean that cycling will crumble. I don’t know about you, but I still enjoyed a pedal yesterday and today I saw kids cycling to school. In fact, according to projections by the US Bureau Of Labor Statistics bike mechanics will be in increasing demand in the future.

Another great big ego fell to earth this week. I’m talking about the Austrian skydiver who struggled to get in the closet (he suffered from claustrophia in the early days of prep – http://www.wired.com/playbook/2012/10/felix-baumgartner-claustrophobia/) but then did a lot more than just man up.

This week’s revelation about Lance and the boys was almost overshadowed by Felix Baumgartner’s giant leap. Here it is in all its glory.

And here it is in all its block ‘n’ lock glory.

During the day of the leap we used Twitter to announce when he started falling and when he had successfully landed we used the @redbull account for news and views but there were quite a few faux Felix tweets being sent out.

It has been estimated that on the day of the final leap, twitter users sent out three million tweets about the amazing feat and eight million people watched Baumgartner jump from space on YouTube, a record for the Google-owned site.The jump was also broadcast on more than 40 networks across 50 countries.

It is not quite known how much the “stunt” cost, but Jonathan Gabay at Brand Story Architect, said that in terms of payback from the jump, given the world coverage, “like many of its consumers, Red Bull will be feeling particularly flushed today”.

“The Red Bull jump was a gigantic sponsorship leap forward. Not only did Felix break three world records, but the sheer audacity of the successful attempt perfectly matched Red Bull’s brand persona: rebellious, adventurous – a product that “gives you wings,” he said.

But really, what does this all mean?

This…or this…?

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