Lance Armstrong is doing the one thing he’s never done in his life: Giving up.
The International Cycling Union on Friday said it will wait for the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency to explain why Lance Armstrong should lose his unprecedented seven Tour de France titles before commenting on the case.
The news preceded a statement from USADA saying it had officially stripped Armstrong of his Tour de France titles after he dropped his fight against drug charges that threatened his legacy as one of the greatest cyclists of all time.
Now, the former seven-time Tour de France winner is stripped and banned from cycling.
Because he gave up.
But it’s not just that he gave up.
He build his brand, including 200-plus variations of the LIVESTRONG brand, around not giving up.
Now that he’s done the unthinkable, the Lance Armstrong brand is dead.
This goes well beyond the question of whether or not he cheated.
I’m a cynic, so I assume all athletes use performance enhancing drugs.
The fact that he may or may not have used PEDs isn’t what killed his brand.
It’s the hypocrisy.
He’s the religious fanatic that just got caught cheating. He has no more credibility.
Yes, the good that he’s done, including raising more than $500 million to fight cancer, can’t be undone, but his reputation is.
Now, Armstrong has no choice but to slink off into the shadows.
He transcended sports and became a spokesperson for humanity against cancer, but by giving up on his fight to defend himself and his fight against USADA, he’s lost all credibility.
Armstrong and his brand would have been much better served admitting that he doped.
At least in that case, he has a defense: Everyone else was doing it, and I wanted to win, and you can’t win when everyone else is cheating.
That’s called a mistake, and it’s forgivable.
Unfortunately, for Armstrong, as he maintained his innocents, there is no excuse for giving up.