Vail Today: Tyler Hamilton visits Vail Valley to share Truth & Transformation talk (video)
By Tricia Swenson | Vail Today
Former pro cyclist Tyler Hamilton held nothing back as he spoke candidly about cycling’s dark side. “I wish I knew then that giving back a gold medal would feel better than winning it and how numb victories would feel when they were achieved dishonestly,” said Hamilton. Hamilton addressed a crowd that had assembled for an evening of truth and transformation hosted by Can Do Multiple Sclerosis, an organization he is passionate about and rides with on occasion. Hamilton competed in 11 Grand Tours, including eight Tour de France races. He credits his early successes in the sport to his upbringing. “My dad would tell me when I was younger ‘It’s not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog.’ I had a special ability to endure pain,” said Hamilton. But his natural endurance and tenacity would eventually be outweighed by the benefits of testosterone, EPO and blood transfusions. Hamilton discussed the highest highs and lowest lows of his double life. “For 14 years, I lied to everyone. During that time, I had two faces. One with the person everyone thought I was and the other the person I knew I was: a doper and a liar who was unraveling on the inside. I was alone and a prisoner of my decisions,” said Hamilton. Even though his story happened with the sport of cycling, Hamilton pointed out that the theme of cheating and lying transcends to work, school and relationships. “Whether the rewards are money, fame, power, personal validation, promotion or a scholarship, the pressure to excel is taking its toll,” said Hamilton. Hamilton eventually realized that no matter how bad things get or how impossible a situation seems, there’s always a way out. “For 14 years I thought the truth would ruin me. In the end, the truth saved me. It’s important to talk about it and share, especially with the younger generations.” Although Hamilton doesn’t ride competitively anymore, he does charity rides for multiple sclerosis around the world. While in Vail, he rode up Vail Pass with participants and supporters of Can Do MS and will be doing the MS Global Ride in Majorca, Spain this fall. To learn more about Can Do MS, visit http://www.mscando.org.