Earlier today Lance Armstrong announced he would not fight the charges brought against him by the United States Anti-Doping Agency that he tested positive for blood doping. The USADA took this as an admission of guilt and have now stripped him of his seven Tour de France titles. The icon who was deemed an American hero has now been stripped of all that gave him glory.
Armstrong was an incredible success story, going from a man fighting testicular cancer to a world champion. He dominated the sport like no one before or since, and gave people everywhere reasons to hope. His Live Strong arm bands remain popular today for the fight against cancer. All proceeds from the Live Strong wristbands go to aiding cancer research.
For Armstrong, the fight became just too much. Despite quitting the fight, he maintains he is innocent.
“There comes a point in every man’s life when he has to say, ‘Enough is enough.’ For me, that time is now,” Armstrong said in a statement. “I have been dealing with claims that I cheated and had an unfair advantage in winning my seven Tours since 1999,” he said. “The toll this has taken on my family and my work for our foundation and on me leads me to where I am today—finished with this nonsense.”
He also called the investigation by the USADA an “unconstitutional witch hunt.”
“It is a sad day for all of us who love sport and our athletic heroes,” USADA CEO Travis Tygart said. “This is a heartbreaking example of how the win-at-all-costs culture of sport, if left unchecked, will overtake fair, safe and honest competition.”
While I do not think the USADA is right for stripping the titles, I cannot take away their right to do so. If Armstrong is not going to fight, they are going to do their best to make an example of him. In an effort to deter cheating, they are putting the sport’s most popular icon on blast.