This is kind of a big deal. Wait, no. It is a big deal. Seven-time Tour de France winning cyclist Lance Armstrong has officially stopped fighting the condemning charges that he used performance-enhancing drugs from 1999-2005. The USADA (U.S. Anti-Doping Agency) says this is as good as any admission of guilt and they plan to ban Armstrong for life and strip him of his unprecedented seven titles. However, Armstrong maintains that he is innocent, but has had enough of the fighting. He also believes that the USADA cannot actually take his titles away from him. Either way, it’s a pretty sad day for sports-lovers. Get the deets inside.
CBS News has the story:
USADA reacted quickly and treated Armstrong’s decision as an admission of guilt, hanging the label of drug cheat on an athlete who was a hero to thousands for overcoming life-threatening testicular cancer and for his foundation’s support for cancer research.
Tygart said the agency can strip the Tour titles, though Armstrong disputed that as he insisted his decision is not an admission of drug use, but a refusal to enter an arbitration process he believes is unfair.
“USADA cannot assert control of a professional international sport and attempt to strip my seven Tour de France titles,” he said. “I know who won those seven Tours, my teammates know who won those seven Tours, and everyone I competed against knows who won those seven Tours.”
USADA maintains that Armstrong has used banned substances as far back as 1996, including the blood-booster EPO and steroids as well as blood transfusions — all to boost his performance…
Armstrong sued USADA in Austin, where he lives, in an attempt to block the case and was supported by the UCI, the sport’s governing body. A judge threw out the case on Monday, siding with USADA despite questioning the agency’s pursuit of Armstrong in his retirement.
“USADA’s conduct raises serious questions about whether its real interest in charging Armstrong is to combat doping, or if it is acting according to less noble motives,” such as politics or publicity, U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks wrote.
Now the ultra-competitive Armstrong has done something virtually unthinkable for him: He has quit before a fight is over.
“Today I turn the page. I will no longer address this issue, regardless of the circumstances. I will commit myself to the work I began before ever winning a single Tour de France title: serving people and families affected by cancer, especially those in underserved communities,” Armstrong said.
Read more here.
Now, I have not been following this story very closely but the rest of the article chronicles the many events that have unfolded since the first accusations. It’s intense, but throughout it all Lance has maintained his innocence. It is, however, going to be really hard for people to go along with this now. I’m assuming that many will follow the USADA‘s lead and take his walking-away as an admission of guilt.
I’m very curious to hear what everyone’s thinking about this. On the one hand, it’s hard to believe that he would just quit the fight, and risk losing all of his titles. However, these court cases sound absolutely grueling and I can imagine you’d just be over it after awhile. But still… Lance Armstrong? Over it? I dunno…