Paul Kimmage – A Forgotten Hero and Victim

The Irish Journalist has fought tirelessly to clean up professional cycling, and must be commended for his hard work

Paul Kimmage – A Forgotten Hero and Victim
Integrity personified

“It is one year tomorrow since I lost my job at The Sunday Times... profitable work this anti-doping.” - Paul Kimmage 16th January 2013.

Paul Kimmage, former Sunday Times Journalist, has fought tirelessly to weed out the flaws in professional cycling; and one major one at that.

He famously confronted Armstrong at a press conference at Tour of California in 2009, suggesting that the seven time Tour de France winner had used performance-enhancing substances. Armstrong immediately bit back, suggesting that he was deeply hurt by the Dubliner's remarks, and reminisced that he was once described by Kimmage as the “cancer” of cycling. The crowd of journalists rowed in behind Armstrong with a loud applause, and Kimmage appeared an outcast.

He has announced his dismay at Oprah Winfrey's line of questioning after her 'tell-all' interview with the Armstrong. He questioned why she didn't follow up on her line of questioning after the disgraced cyclist said that "there are things which were a little shady" in relation to the sport's world governing body the UCI (the sport's governing body). Had she asked the logical questions it would have done a lot more for the sport.”

He added: "It was obvious that this guy had just one regret and that was that he was caught. He doesn't give a damn about anyone except Lance Armstrong.”

He said that “the only way he can do the sport any service now and repair the damage he has done" is to disclose what exactly he did and who helped him.

In 2012, Pat McQuaid, President of the UCI, and others sued Kimmage personally for remarks he made about the UCI and doping in articles for The Sunday Times and L'Equipe. Instead of pursuing the case under vicarious liabilty (suing his employers for his actions, which would have been more profitable to them) they went after Kimmage, for defamation. It was claimed that Kimmage was "dishonest" in accusing them of "having knowingly tolerated tests, of being dishonest people, of not having a sense of responsibility, of not applying the same rules to everyone." They demanded that he not repeat the material they have complained of, and that at his own expense he take out advertisements in the international media publicising the court's final order. Ie. They wanted to publicly shame him to clear their own names; they were not interested in the money.

However, the UCI revoked their complaint, pending an investigation into their involvement in the Armstrong affair. The Dubliner could have laid it to rest, but was understandably outraged by the allegations made, so decided to counter-sue. The counter-suing was for a variety of reasons, including “strong suspicions of fraud.”

He announced that he was not doing it for personal gain, but "for every cyclist who stood up for truth and the sport they loved and were dismissed as "cowards" and "scumbags" by [Hein] Verbruggen [Vice-President of the UCI] and McQuaid." If this is not admirable, then nothing is.

He obviously was emotional and felt strongly about this, mistakingly tweeting publicly to fellow anti-doping parter David Walsh, saying “Good news, found a real pitbull of a lawyer to go after those two f**kers.”

Looking back, the courage and integrity of Kimmage must be commended. To publicly stand up against the majority, and air your views which you believe to be true knowing that you will shot down is something that is a sign of a true journalist. He sacrificed everything in order to stand up for what he believed. Yet he finds himself as an outcast in the journalistic world. A lonely place to be, but he can be satisfied that he did his best to clean up the sport he loves. The maxim of 'innocent until proven guilty' does not seem to apply here, but the public knows that he was right about it all, and here's hoping that he will be vindicated officially.

And to rub salt in the wounds, in the Armstrong's interview with Winfrey, he publicly apologised to three journalists who have called him out on doping in the last year, but failed to mention Kimmage.

Paul Kimmage is a real hero; somebody who stood up for what he believed in when his piers sat back and kept quiet. He deserved to be acknowledged and not ostracised. He is somebody we can all look up to.