LiveStrong drops Lance Armstrong Foundation name as USADA report effects continue
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Thursday, November 15, 2012

LiveStrong drops Lance Armstrong Foundation name as USADA report effects continue

by Shane Stokes at 6:37 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Doping
 
Texan increasingly distanced from foundation

LivestrongAfter stepping down as LiveStrong chairman on October 17th, then losing his place on its board, Lance Armstrong faced another separation from the foundation he set up in 1997 when that structure officially dropped his name from its title.

According to spokeswoman Katherine McLane, the Lance Armstrong Foundation will henceforth be known only as the LiveStrong Foundation, thus removing another link to the discredited former pro.

“For most of its life, the organization has been known as the Livestrong Foundation, but making that change official is necessary and appropriate during a time of change for the organization,” she told Reuters.

Armstrong set up the foundation in 1997, one year after he was diagnosed with and treated for testicular cancer. It has grown in the years since and while it no longer contributes to research into a cure for the disease, is said to have raised approximately $500 million.

For many years Armstrong was the foundation’s biggest asset, drawing considerable attention to it through his performances on the bike and his fame off it. Yellow bracelets manufactured by Nike became practically ubiquitous, but have plummeted in popularity this year when it became increasingly clear that he had doped throughout much of his career.

The US Anti Doping Agency charged him with a range of offences including doping but also the supply of banned products to others and coercing his former team-mates to use those products during his Tour-winning campaigns.

Armstrong challenged USADA’s right to charge him in a Texas federal court but when that was defeated, he walked away from the arbitration hearing that could in theory have cleared his name.

As per its rules, USADA handed him down the sanction he was facing, namely a lifetime ban and the stripping of his results since August 1st 1998. It released approximately 1000 pages of evidence, which were released publically and also sent to the UCI and the World Anti Doping Agency.

After considering that evidence, both bodies said that they would not contest the sanction before the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

Armstrong conceded his LiveStrong chairman’s position on October 17th. Most of his sponsors walked away before the UCI’s confirmation of his ban, with Oakley waiting until then before dropping its long association with the rider.

Most of those sponsors said that they would continue their ties with LiveStrong. Since then Armstrong has been increasingly edged out of the picture, with the conceding of his place on the board and then the loss of his name from the foundation showing how far things have developed.

According to board member Dr. David Johnson, who is both an oncologist as well as being a cancer survivor, the decision was weighed up for some time.

“I think there was some discussion that took place between him and a number of members of the foundation agonizing over what to do,” he told Reuters. “I don’t know that there was a feeling until now that it was even a necessary thing to do,” he said, describing that choice as ‘painful.’

In the two most recent photographs of himself linked from his Twitter account, Armstrong is no longer wearing the yellow wristband that had been present in every picture of him in recent years. His image has been removed from the LiveStrong website, although he does still appear in one section; a page on the site talking about how and why it was set up and describing him as its founder.

Tellingly, though, the accompanying biography makes no mention whatsoever of the fact that he was a professional cyclist. Like the Tour de France record books, the aspect of his life which he was most famous for has been airbrushed away.

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