To be sure, Armstrong will remain a hero in the view of many who have battled cancer or other serious illness and drawn inspiration from his personal narrative. A 16-year survivor of testicular cancer, he will continue to serve on Livestrong’s 15-person board.
But Wednesday’s developments suggest that Armstrong’s value as a corporate spokesman has suffered a major hit, dimming his financial prospects going forward in much the same way that USADA’s voluminous report gutted his cycling triumphs of 1999 to 2005.
The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency says 11 of Lance Armstrong's former teammates testified against him in its investigation of the cyclist, revealing “the most sophisticated, professionalized and successful doping program that sport has ever seen.”
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USADA has banned cyclist Lance Armstrong for life, stripped him of his Tour de France titles after he dropped his fight against doping charges.
On August 23, 2012 Lance Armstrong released a statement that he will stop fighting allegations that he used banned substances during his stellar career.
“Nike had no choice but to cut ties with him, and he needed to disassociate himself with the foundation,” crisis-management specialist Ashley McCown, president of Solomon McCown & Company, said in a telephone interview Wednesday.
“Lance Armstrong is a brand, and Nike is a premiere brand. He is now a toxic asset that cannot be associated with. There is too much of a chance for Nike’s fine reputation to be tarnished. Lance is damaged goods. The actions today speak volumes about that.”
According to Katherine McLane, vice president of communications and external affairs for the Lance Armstrong Foundation (known more widely as the Livestrong Foundation), donations increased after USADA stripped Armstrong of his Tour de France titles and banned him from cycling in August.
Asked Wednesday why Armstrong decided to step down as chairman, McLane said: “It was something he was considering in order to inoculate the foundation from any spillover effect as a result of the controversy surrounding his cycling career. He made the decision it would be better to step down as the titular head of the organization.”
The USADA report is currently being reviewed by cycling’s international governing body, the UCI. It has until Oct. 31 to either affirm USADA’s punishment of Armstrong or appeal its actions to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
Meantime, the International Olympic Committee is believed to be waiting for UCI’s decision before announcing whether it will revoke Armstrong’s bronze medal from the 2000 Sydney Olympics, which was achieved during the period in which USADA concluded that Armstrong doped his way to cycling glory.