Nike have announced they will continue to support the Lance Armstrong Foundation, but cancer charity founded by the drugs cheat still faces uncertain future
It has been a dramatic week in the long-running Lance Armstrong saga – and any doubts that the former cycling icon is a serial cheat have been well and truly smashed. What is so staggering about the revelations that have finally exposed the lies is how this drugs cheat managed to cover up his deceit for so long.
Many sports enthusiasts who have grown up worshipping Armstrong wanted to believe the disgraced cycling hero was innocent. But the weight of evidence against him has been overwhelming. There was no escaping the truth when the United States Anti-Doping Agency published their report a week ago, including damning evidence from no fewer than 11 of his former team-mates.
The shockwaves from the scandal will reverberate throughout sport for a long time to come. The fact that five current riders gave evidence against Armstrong, and in so-doing implicated themselves incurring six-month bans, indicates how far reaching the cover-up was that protected him for so long.
When the American was stripped of his seven Tour de France titles and banned from cycling for life by USADA it was a sad conclusion to a story that inspired millions of people around the world. The news that Armstrong has finally been ditched by his biggest sponsor Nike and forced to step down as chairman of the cancer charity he founded 15 years ago is confirmation that the decline and fall of one of sport’s greatest ever icons is complete.
But I can’t help thinking that Armstrong still owes the world an apology. It is never too late to say you are sorry. And the pain of the embarrassment he has caused would be eased ever so slightly if Armstrong showed some remorse and publicly accepted his guilt.
The one thing that no one can take away from Armstrong is the pride and satisfaction he surely feels for setting up the charity that has raised nearly 500 million US dollars to help people affected by cancer. His story may have been built on a lie, but winning his own battle against cancer inspired millions and is an achievement that the world would feel more comfortable respecting if he comes clean and tells the truth.