Column: Cyclist steps down from Livestrong

(Lafayette) Journal and Courier

The flaws in the legend of Lance Armstrong continue to reveal themselves.

On Oct. 17, the U.S. cyclist who ruled the cycling world as a rider and as an international star stepped down as chairman of Livestrong, his charity dedicated to raising money for cancer research.

The reason, he said: “To spare the foundation any negative effects as a result of controversy surrounding my cycling career.” Faced with accusations from the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency that he used performance-enhancing drugs to stoke a career that included seven Tour de France titles, Armstrong agreed last month to quit fighting the charges.

He still claims he didn’t dope. But the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency produced a report recently that chronicled the claims of 11 former teammates and more than a dozen other witnesses that Armstrong not only cheated, but also encouraged others do the same.

In the commotion, yellow Livestrong bracelets are sliding off of wrists. That’s a sad piece of this story. The ends can’t justify the means. But Armstrong’s recovery from testicular cancer to top of the podium made for compelling theater. The yellow bracelets, introduced in 2004, sold by the millions for $1 apiece.

What happens next with Livestrong, a charity so closely linked with Armstrong’s myth, is anyone’s guess. Here’s hoping it can outrun the controversy chasing its founder.

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