For seven straight years, the world of competitive cycling was dominated by one man—Lance Armstrong. He was lionized for not only being a world-class and champion cyclist, wearing the famed yellow jersey of the Tour de France seven times, but also because he was a cancer survivor, having battled testicular cancer from the very brink. Armstrong represented the kind of determinism that was inspiring to sportsmen and people alike, and his, quite literally, death-defying feats cemented his name in both the record books and the public conscience, often referred to as “the greatest.”
But for all his achievements, it seems that Armstrong had been doing so off the back of doping, of which he had been accused of numerous times in the past, but only now found to be guilty of after an exhaustive investigation conducted by the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), which surmised that Armstrong was involved in “the most sophisticated, professionalized and successful doping program that sport has ever seen.”
In August, Armstrong announced that he would no longer contest the allegations put forward by the USADA, maintaining his innocence but saying that he was weary of the legal battles.
Last week, in a 1,000-page report, the USADA detailed the doping that Armstrong was involved in, putting him at the center of it and stating that it had a very substantial case against the cyclist, with 10 former teammates ready to testify against Armstrong.
And now, for the first time since the report was published, Armstrong has spoken about the recent developments in the doping case, addressing the high-profile attendants at the 15th anniversary of his Livestrong cancer charity in Texas.
Speaking to a crowd of some 1,700 people, Armstrong said, “I am truly humbled by your support. It's been an interesting couple of weeks. It's been a difficult couple of weeks for me and my family, my friends and this foundation.”
Responding to a question as to how he was, he said, "I've been better, but I've also been worse,” adding, “We will not be deterred. We will continue to serve the 28 million around the world that need us the most.”
The charity event, according to Armstrong, was able to raise around $2.5 million; and since its inception in 1997, the Livestrong Foundation has raised close to $500 million. Following the doping report, Armstrong resigned as chairman from the foundation. And while sponsors Nike and Anheuser-Busch have ended their sponsorships of Armstrong, they continue to support the charity.