Yesterday, one week after the U.S. Anti-Doping Association (USADA) issued its damning Lance Armstrong doping report, Nike severed its ties with Armstrong, as did several other companies with whom Armstrong had ties. On yesterday Armstrong also stepped down as chairman of Livestrong, the foundation he founded in 1997 to help others who are battling Cancer. He will remain on the charity’s board.
The report was stunning in the scope and scale of what it revealed. When Armstrong asked to see the names of his accusers, the USADA gave him 26, including 11 former teammates. When he asked for hard evidence that he’d engaged in doping, they gave him approximately 200 pages filled with vivid details that constitute, in the words of the report, “as strong or stronger than any case brought in USADA’s 12 years of existence.” The USADA has banned Armstrong for life and called for him to be stripped of his 7 Tour de France titles for his leadership and participation in “the most sophisticated, professionalized and successful doping program that sport has ever seen.” The International Cycling Union (UCI) is expected to make a determination about Armstrong’s titles by the end of the month.
In a poignant piece in The New Yorker last week, Michael Specter wrote about the emotional impact of the Armstrong doping revelations. His piece is all the more powerful because Specter was a true believer who looked up to the man he thought that Armstrong was. He held him up as a shining example to his daughter of what it looks like to sacrifice and work for what you believe in. Specter was not alone. Many of us admired Armstrong for what he achieved on the bike and overcame in his life. What does Armstrong, and his fall from grace, reveal about us?