Lance Armstrong Doping Scandal
“What am I on?” Armstrong asks in a 2001 Nike commercial. “I’m on my bike, busting my a** six hours a day.”
After two years of Federal Investigations by the US Department of Justice and further investigations by the USADA (United States Anti-Doping Agency), it seems that seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong was on more than just his bike. In a revealing interview] with Oprah Winfrey, Armstrong finally admitted to the world that he used performance enhancing drugs such as EPO and testosterone during each Tour de France competition. He claimed that he started using the drugs in the mid-nineties when the doping culture was much more extreme and common. “The culture was what it was,” he stated, referring to the frequent doping in cycling by the athletes.
After federal investigations in which former teammates were asked to testify and Armstrong’s blood samples from this time were re-tested, Armstrong was banned from competitive racing for life and stripped of his seven Tour de France titles. Moreover, Armstrong has suffered major financial consequences as his sponsors- Nike, Trek, Giro, Anheuser-busch and Oakley sunglasses- have all decided to cut connections with the cyclist. Armstrong admitted that this loss is around 75 million dollars. Many critics believe that he only did the public interview with Oprah to generate a steady flow of money from interviews and television appearances, in order to recuperate some of the millions he is now going to lose.
In the interview with Oprah, he also revealed that he has stepped down as Chairman of Livestrong, the foundation he started to raise cancer awareness and empower cancer survivors. Armstrong was diagnosed with stage three testicular cancer at age 25, but despite a less than 50% chance of survival, he beat the cancer and has been a symbol of hope and inspiration to the cancer sufferers ever since. Despite the competition ban, he said that disappointing and losing the support of Livestrong was his “lowest moment.”
Will Armstrong ever cycle again? Perhaps more importantly, will he ever recover his destroyed reputation? It seems that this will be his toughest battle yet.