Cycling champ Lance Armstrong has given up fighting charges that he used performance-enhancing drugs. Will he lose all his medals?
Lance Armstrong has refused to participate in an arbitration process led by the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) to answer long-standing accusations that he used illegal drugs to win the Tour de France seven times between 1999 and 2005. In response, the USADA says they will strip Armstrong of his seven titles and ban him from the sport for life. Although Lance Armstrong is officially retired from bicycle racing, a lifetime ban would mean losing his Tour de France title and his bronze medal from the 2000 Olympics.
Armstrong says he’s innocent of the charges, but he’s tired of the fight. He believes he can’t win against the USADA process, which he calls an “unconstitutional witchhunt.”
And so, the question of whether Lance Armstrong cheated may never be answered to anyone’s satisfaction. Armstrong fans will rally and point out the work he’s done for cancer patients (his foundation is said to have raised more than $500 million). Armstrong critics will nod knowingly and say “if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck….” Some in the middle will say, “even if he was doping, everybody else in the sport was too, so he’s still a winner, kind of.”
Most of us will scratch our heads and shrug, thinking “ah, yet another stain on professional sports.”
And even if the USADA says Lance will lose his seven Tour de France titles, it’s unclear if the other governing bodies involved will do the same.
To read the news report from ESPN, go here.
For a truly remarkable timeline that details every bit of the scandal, going back to 1999, visit this page at Cycling News.
Cycling News also has Lance Armstrong’s full statement about his decision.