three million dollars (yes $3m) for coming to the Tour Downunder did he? Oh yes, he was seen as a big draw card back then - before they discovered he was a "cheat".
I think that, somewhere in my witterings, I may already have said that I though the money that was spent bringing him here was a waste of money.
The editorial in today's paper states otherwise of course. It is argued that he brought money into the state by encouraging other people to come. They even suggest he "worked hard" while he was here.
Did he really?
The entire budget for Writer's Week for the Festival of Arts would not come anywhere near $3m. No individual writer would be offered anything like that sum of money for coming. They would not be given the VIP welcome at the airport, the media coverage or any of the other perks offered to Armstrong. Oh yes someone would meet them at the airport and there might be a radio interview or a brief mention in the evening news. The book tent might sell some books - which they would be expected to sign - and they would be expected to do some school visits or talks to other groups. Authors would work a good deal harder than Armstrong.
But he did all that training! Sports people have to train long hours! It's hard work! They reach their peak very quickly and then they have to retire and....
Oh yes - and writers? They do all that writing...a lot that never gets published. They might 500,000 words to get 50,000 they can use. They spend long hours doing research and then writing. It's lonely and frustrating. There's no match at the end of the week with the crowd cheering you on. Oh yes, they can write longer than a footballer or a cyclist or some other sportsperson but they normally have to do it in conjunction with another job.
And they still won't get paid much - if anything at all. We could have paid for one hundred writers at $30,000 each for the same amount as we paid for one Lance Armstrong.
I know which would have been better value - and they would have brought much more than money into the state.