JEFFREY BROWN: “There comes a time in every man’s life when he has to say, enough is enough. For me, that time is now.”
Those are the words of cycling legend Lance Armstrong in a statement announcing he will no longer fight charges that he used performance-enhancing drugs.
Armstrong achieved what no cyclist in history had ever done, winning the grueling Tour de France, his sport’s premier event, seven straight times, from 1999 to 2005. And he did all that after beating stage-three testicular cancer and forming his foundation, with its popular LIVESTRONG bracelets.
It all made him one of the most famous and most followed athletes in the world. But for more than a decade, Armstrong has also been shadowed by accusations that he’d used drugs to give him a competitive advantage, charges he repeatedly denied.
LANCE ARMSTRONG: We have nothing to hide. We have nothing to run from.
JEFFREY BROWN: In June, the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, or USADA, formally charged Armstrong with using banned substances and conspiring with teammates in a systematic doping scheme.
The agency said it had at least 10 former teammates and colleagues of Armstrong ready to testify to that effect.
In a statement issued last night, Armstrong maintained his innocence in what he called — quote — “unconstitutional probe” and said “I refuse to participate in a process that is so one-sided and unfair.”
But John Fahey, president of the World Anti-Doping Agency, made clear how he read Armstrong’s statement.
JOHN FAHEY, World Anti-Doping Agency: His failure to rebut the — the charges, those very serious charges, mean that he’s effectively acknowledging that they had substance.
JEFFREY BROWN: And USADA chief Travis Tygart, calling it a — quote — “sad day,” said, “This is a heartbreaking example of how the win-at-all-costs culture of sport, if left unchecked, will overtake fair, safe and honest competition.”
Armstrong now faces a lifelong ban on competing, and being stripped of past awards, including his seven Tour titles and a bronze medal he won at the 2000 Olympic Games.