Armstrong gives up fight against USADA

Lance Armstrong
Lance Armstrong

American cyclist Lance Armstrong finally threw in the towel yesterday and declared he was no longer going to fight the doping charges the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency has been leveling against him since 1999. The agency, apparently taking his move as an admission of guilt, promptly announced it would move to strip him of his bronze Olympic medal, seven Tour de France victories and his prize money, and ban him from the sport for life.

I’ll admit to putting my heroes on pedestals and being among the last to accept that they might, after all, be fallible human beings. But I am angry that the USADA, if they do indeed have proof positive that Armstrong cheated and have had it for a number of years, didn’t strip him of his titles years ago instead of harassing him until he finally grew tired of defending himself. If their case was a slam dunk, why didn’t they ban him as soon as they had proof of doping? If it wasn’t an iron clad case, they should never have lodged it at all.

And by the way, if the USADA didn’t award the titles in the first place, how can they take them away? It’s the International Olympic Committee, not the US Olympic Committee, and the Tour de France, not the Tour de USA. This is a petty, vindictive, and cowardly move by the USADA. And a sad day for cycling.

15 comments

  1. I absolutely could not agree with you more PT. Not that I needed it, but the shameful way the USADA has handled this gives me even more reason to think badly of those charged with maintaining the integrity of sports!

    1. Pro sports reek of vice, cheating, scandals, and everything else that shows up when big money is involved. But the way this has been handled stinks worse than usual. This campaign wasn’t against against one sport or one team or organization. It was a years-long vendetta by one organization against one man, an organization that didn’t even have the nerve to exercise its very questionable authority to strip Armstrong of his titles until after he abandoned the fight and retired from the field. Sickening.

    2. Perhaps it is time to look very hard at the motivations of USADA and its members, If it should be revealed that any of them have even taken even one penny from a foreign interest or own foreign stock which has paid them profits beyond reason or have prosecuted this case beyond the scope of their own rules and regulations or simply fabricated even one document, then I personally believe that both criminal and civil penalties are in order.

      At the very least this organization should be required to pay back ALL federal funding as well as be disbanded and publicly admonished for the reckless and obviously prejudice way in which this investigation has been handled.

      Corruption in sports has never been about the athlete. It has always been about the money.

      Follow the money and you will find the real criminals.

  2. You know…to me, by stepping down, it seems he’s admitted it. I think you are right, though, that the USADA handled it badly. It shouldn’t have taken this longer to file the charges. And, yes, it is a very sad day for cycling.

    1. I don’t think he’s admitting anything other than being exhausted from fighting these charges for years, from spending the time and money and effort to defend himself from charges for which there has never been any definitive evidence presented. If he did cheat, and if the USADA has had evidence of that cheating, why didn’t they strip him of his titles years ago?

      1. I hear you. But what I meant is that his action makes me believe he is guilty of the charges. Jumping to conclusions? Probably. I hope so. But I can’t stop asking myself, if he is innocent, then why not go through the trial? (Maybe I should stop asking myself questions…)

        1. I saw a lot about this on TV last night, and it raised some doubt in my mind that wasn’t there before. But still, if the USADA has solid evidence, why has this gone on so long? Seems like gross mishandling, regardless of the truth.

        2. And I think you hit upon something that nobody wants to fess up – the truth. The sad reality is that everyone knew *something* was up (cycling officials, government representatives, sponsors, teammates, doctors, etc), but nobody said anything because, I think, they all had a stake in Lance. Hell, even we did. Everyone wants him to be the super-hero. For years, he was. At least, I know he was mine.

          There was an interesting blog post in the Washington Post that touches on the subject here:
          http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/compost/post/lance-armstrong-the-hero-deficit-and-the-unhappening/2012/08/24/b329d75e-ee0c-11e1-afd8-097e90f99d05_blog.html

        3. Yep, I still have a yellow bracelet around here somewhere. (Bought half a dozen to give to friends.) It was inspiring. Lance was inspiring. There’s still a lot of inspiration in his surviving cancer and going back into such ridiculously hard competitive cycling — unless someone wants to claim the cancer was faked. So now who gets those Tour de France titles? The second place finishers? According to one analyst, every single one of those second place Tour finishers tested positive for drugs. What about the third, fourth, or fifth place finishers? Did they all cheat? If all cyclists cheat, then aren’t they competing on a level (albeit doped) playing field? And as nearly as I can tell, the evidence against Lance is not positive blood or urine tests but testimony from former teammates and fellow competitors — many of who are themselves admitted cheaters/liars.

          Loved that WP article. Thanks for the link. It doesn’t make me any happier but it did a great job of explaining how most of us feel. I’ve gotten too old and become too cynical. Most of my former heroes have proven to be fallible, flawed mortals just like everyone else. It’s unlikely at this point that I’m going to adopt any new “heroes.”

  3. The USDA has no role in this – stupid.(Can’t strip Armstrong of titles or medals) Apparently many feel a certain man in the USDA has a vendetta against Armstrong – for what ever reason (make a name for himself? Or is there a family member who had a problem with biking or steroids? His persistence in this makes you wonder what’s behind his anger at Armstrong)
    The international governing group has already said it will protest the “ban”.
    Stupid the feds are spending money and time on this non-issue

  4. The sad reality is that these proceedings drag on an on and on. It costs a fortune to mount a defense and even isf one is victorous they have lost years of their life, endured tremendous stress and the lawyers reap the final reward. I think Lance made the right choice for his own sanity and for the sake of the charity he has spearheded by walking away in disgust. Lance has been and will remian an inspiration to many cancer survivors like me. The UDSDA can shove it where the sun don’t shine.

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