This a bit off topic, but here goes:
Monday, the International Cycling Union (UIC) stripped bicycle racer Lance Armstrong of his seven Tour de France titles and gave him a lifetime ban, which the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency recommended.
I have never been a big fan of Armstrong, though I find his story compelling: Cancer survivor who rode to the top of his chosen sport. Whisper of drug use followed Armstrong every year, and he always denied, denied, denied. Fellow Texan Roger Clemens took a page from Armstrong’s book when confronted with accusations of doping: Deny and go after the accuser.
I took Armstrong’s decision not to challenge the USADA as an admission of guilt. I still do, though he is still going after his accusers.
In a court of law, Armstrong could confront his accusers. He could challenge the evidence, which seems to be overwhelming. He could call in his own witness to rebut those of the USADA and to rebut the evidence. Then a judge or jury would decide his fate.
As it is, the USADA questioned the witnesses, got the goods on Armstrong, and booted him out of his sport.
What does this do to Armstrong’s reputation? He participated in a triathlon this month and raised money for cancer awareness. The organizers dropped their sanctioning from the governing body of triathlon. Had the sanctioning not been dropped, Armstrong would not have been allowed to compete. I wonder how many race organizers in the future will drop sanctioning to allow Armstrong to compete. I doubt many will after Monday’s decision.
What does this do to the good works his foundation, Livestrong, does? How tainted are those yellow bands people wear? I don’t have the answers. The fallout from the UIC’s decision will take years to be felt.
For another take on Armstrong, here’s a blog from Sports Illustrated.
Update: Runner’s World is reporting that the Boston and New York marathons are planning to scrub Armstrong’s results from the record books.