For years, the details of cyclist Lance Armstrong’s personal story reverberated through the media. A testicular cancer survivor, he not only beat the disease, but went on to win the grueling Tour de France race an unprecedented seven times. He not only ascended to the uppermost echelon of his sport, but with the formation of his Livestrong foundation and Nike backing, he became something of an icon unto himself.
Nevertheless, questions have dogged Armstrong since he rose to prominence about whether he was able to achieve his feats without the help of banned substances. NPR sports reporter Tom Goldman reported on the issue back when the cyclist won his first Tour de France in 1999. Armstrong surprised many recently when he dropped his fight against the doping charges. Now that the official word has come from the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency recommending Armstrong be stripped of his titles, cycling fans and other observers are trying to absorb the news and waiting to see how the International Cycling Union will rule. And some question how the Livestrong Foundation should move forward.
Have you been following the Armstrong case? What do you think of Nike’s backing of Armstrong? Has professional sports itself been irrevocably harmed by various doping scandals?