After bravely weathering a storm of various allegations regarding the use of performance enhancing drugs throughout his career as a professional road racing cyclist, Lance Armstrong has decided that he will no longer fight the charges hauled against him believing that he has already underwent the necessary procedures to prove his innocence.
In a statement posted August 23, 2012 on Armstrong’s official website, lancearmstrong.com, the seven-time Tour de France winner wrote:
“There comes a point in every man's life when he has to say, "Enough is enough." For me, that time is now. I have been dealing with claims that I cheated and had an unfair advantage in winning my seven Tours since 1999. Over the past three years, I have been subjected to a two-year federal criminal investigation followed by Travis Tygart's unconstitutional witch hunt. The toll this has taken on my family, and my work for our foundation and on me leads me to where I am today – finished with this nonsense.
Travis Tygart is the CEO of the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), an independent non-profit organization that aims to sanction athletes who are found guilty of a doping violation. Last June 13, 2012, the USADA formally filed charges against Armstrong and five additional individuals who are formerly associated with the United States Postal Service (USPS) professional cycling team. The formal notice letter accuses Armstrong and his associates of using and possessing various banned substances.
The following statement was posted on the official website of the USADA, usantidoping.org:
“As in every USADA case, all named individuals are presumed innocent of the allegations unless and until proven otherwise through the established legal process. If a hearing is ultimately held then it is an independent panel of arbitrators, not USADA that determines whether or not these individuals have committed anti-doping rule violations as alleged.”
Because Armstrong has opted not to participate in this latest investigation, Tygart viewed this decision as an admission of guilt. And to make matters worse, he plans to strip Armstrong of his unprecedented seven-titles in the Tour de France and ban him from competition for good.
But, Armstrong has stood firm in his belief that his legacy will forever remain intact despite this seemingly endless effort to tarnish his image.
“USADA cannot assert control of a professional international sport and attempt to strip my seven Tour de France titles. I know who won those seven Tours, my teammates know who won those seven Tours, and everyone I competed against knows who won those seven Tours. We all raced together. For three weeks over the same roads, the same mountains, and against all the weather and elements that we had to confront. There were no shortcuts, there was no special treatment. The same courses, the same rules. The toughest event in the world where the strongest man wins. Nobody can ever change that. Especially not Travis Tygart.”
Armstrong successfully overcame testicular cancer in 1996 and lorded over the Tour de France from 1999 to 2005. He retired and returned to the sport in 2009 before heading into a second retirement last year. The 40-year old native from Plano, Texas is an icon to all cancer survivors around the world. In October, his Lance Armstrong Foundation, which has raised more than $500 million, will be celebrating its fifteenth year of service to cancer survivors. He’s also a proud father to five children.
To the man who has lived his life strong, that is all that matters.