Win True Synopsis

- Scott Mercer '87


Cheating. Lying. Stealing. Bullying. These are all byproducts of a “win at all cost” mentality. Whether it’s academics, politics, business, or sport, this mentality has led to a degradation of American culture and values. 

And yet, we hear the word integrity over and over again. Integrity. The word itself has almost become a cliché. The integrity of the game, of the election, of the political system, of character – of whatever. Yet we rarely see examples of what integrity actually means. Of someone who has lived it. It’s tough. Living with integrity has consequences. But it also has rewards. Great rewards. I’ve suffered those consequences, but also reaped the rewards.

How do we juxtapose these two seemingly incongruous concepts? I wanted to write this book because now, perhaps more than ever, we need examples and stories of men and women doing the right thing. Day after day we hear from those who have lied and cheated their way to successand how they wish they had done things differently. We, and by we, I mean society as a whole, need to hear from the silent unknowns, who stoically toil away doing the right thing day after day. 

I was faced with a classic Faustian bargain; continue my career as a professional cyclist but lose my soul in the process, or leave the sport with my integrity intact. My hope is that my story can inspire the little guy to stand up for what is right. That people can see through my example that making tough decisions is tough, but that once you’ve made a tough decision once, it becomes easier and easier to make another one. And then another one. 

Professional cycling is a brutal sport that demands almost Biblical levels of suffering. I wanted to win so badly that I literally swallowed my own vomit to make the Olympic team. But there was a line I was not willing to cross. How you win is just as important as whether you win. Living with integrity involves suffering, but through suffering comes strength and character. Integrity cannot be bought or bartered. It has to be earned through suffering and sacrifice. Suffering is the secret ingredient required to build integrity and moral courage.

Doing things the right way matters. How you win matters. Whether in sport, business, school, or relationships, my life proves there is always a choice.