a letter from Chris Davenport
How do we as a society define human nature? Is it the desire we all have for self-improvement? Is it the desire to help others? Or maybe it is the need to be the best we can be at whatever it is we do? Most people would say that success in life could be measured by a positive contribution to human kind and society, or a sincere concern for the well being of those around us and those in need of our help and support. However you might measure the goodness of people, our will to succeed, triumph over adversity, and contribute to the lives of others forms the foundation of who we are as humans. We all know people out there who are shining examples of enlightenment, people who would drop everything at any moment to help others, or who are unwavering in their deep rooted desire to be the best they can be at all times. My friend Tyler Hamilton is one of these people.
Since the day I met Tyler he has always been a shining example of integrity, honesty, trust, and humor to me. He is the kind of person that I would want my two young boys to grow up to be like. Tyler and I met each other ski racing in New Hampshire at the impressionable age of 11 or 12. We were competitive little kids. Our parents and coaches had instilled some pretty strong values in us at a very young age: hard work, tenacity, teamwork, sportsmanship, and most importantly, respect. We spent thousands of hours learning what it meant to be an athlete, to train, focus, and perform in high-pressure situations. We all wanted to be champions, and knew that to get there the only way was through dedication to the sport and the respect of those around you. Tyler’s career has been beyond brilliant, measured both by his tangible successes on the podium, but I believe, more importantly by his achievements as a team leader, a role model, a hero, and an ambassador to sport as a whole.
People often ask me what I remember about Tyler when we were kids. He was a wonderful teammate. The kind of guy who made you believe you could always do better than you did. Our high school cycling team was incredibly strong, and even when we were on the rivet, suffering, I would look over at Ty and he’d crack some joke about the competition, or make some comment that would make the pain ease up for a bit. In ski races, Ty would come across the finish line, most likely having had a fantastic run, and he would ski up to me and the first thing out of his mouth would be; “Dav, how was your run?” He is the kind of friend that always seemed to care more about how others did than his own result, maybe to a fault. The bottom line is that the friendships, relationships, and experiences of his sports have always been more important to Tyler than the results. He has said it himself recently, that he would hang up his bike before he would ever choose to cheat to achieve a result. Even now, as he is a globally recognized superstar in cycling, those core values he learned so well as a kid have not faltered; friends, family, and hard work first, sport and results second.
If you follow professional cycling, or even sports in general, you probably know that Tyler Hamilton faces an uphill battle to clear his name of the blood doping charges brought against him by the Union Cyclist International, the U.C.I. Tyler will do everything in his power to fight these allegations and clear his good name, while at the same time making a concerted effort to educate youth cyclists and the public on the dangers that lurk in the dark corners of professional sports. Tyler faces a long and expensive legal battle now, and we, as his friends, family, teammates, co-workers, and supporters, have vowed to stand by him. He has assembled a leading team of doctors and scientists, as well as attorneys and legal experts to work towards finding out how a testing mistake might have happened. The next few months will be trying and expensive, potentially totaling over a half million dollars. Believetyler.org is an informational site created to give the public the full story behind the current allegations, and to allow those who want to help to do so through an on-line donation link. We encourage you to voice your opinion to the various organizations listed on the site, including the U.C.I., the World Anti-Doping Agency, as well as your Senators and Congressman. Together we can clear Tyler Hamilton of these charges, and make a significant contribution to the current and future health of one of the world’s greatest sports.