Armstrong, 41, announced his resignation as chairman of the Livestrong Foundation he created on behalf of cancer patients “to spare the foundation any negative effects as a result of controversy surrounding my cycling career.”
Armstrong has yet to address to damning charges against him: that all of his cycling achievements from 1999 on, in effect, were fraudulent.
Nike, which has been the primary corporate backer of Armstrong’s charitable work, will continue its support of the Livestrong Foundation. But Armstrong himself will no longer be compensated as a Nike pitchman in the wake of USADA’s scathing report detailing years of doping — his image deemed too tainted even for a company that has stood by its star athletes in times of controversy, whether that be the 2003 sexual assault charge against the NBA’s Kobe Bryant or the reports of chronic philandering that ended Tiger Woods’s marriage and temporarily halted his golf career.
Nike’s statement about Armstrong read: “Due to the seemingly insurmountable evidence that Lance Armstrong participated in doping and misled Nike for more than a decade, it is with great sadness that we have terminated our contract with him.”
It was a complete reversal of Nike’s supportive stance in the wake of the Oct. 10 airing of USADA’s report, known as a “reasoned decision,” which enumerated the evidence and reasons why the agency stripped Armstrong of his seven Tour de France titles and banned him from competition on Aug. 24 when he refused to face the charges against him.
The 202-page report, which was backed by more than 1,000 pages of documents and testimony, said Armstrong was the driving force behind “the most sophisticated, professionalized and successful doping program that sport has ever seen” and had won his Tour titles “start to finish” by doping.
It relied on the testimony of 26 witnesses, including 11 of Armstrong’s former teammates. Some among them, such as George Hincapie and Levi Leipheimer, confessed that they, too, had used banned substances as part of their testimony against Armstrong. The report included detailed, first-hand accounts of Armstrong not only taking banned substances such as testosterone and EPO and undergoing blood transfusion but also pressuring teammates on the U.S. Postal Service cycling team to dope so they could more effectively propel him to victory. It recounted elaborate subterfuges used to ferry drugs to Armstrong at key stages of the Tour, as well as ruses to evade drug tests. And it portrayed Armstrong as a vengeful bully who threatened those in position to testify against him.