October 24, 2012 – This is the week that public opinion has really turned against long-time hero, Lance Armstrong. After the UCI agreed on Oct. 22 to strip the cyclist of his seven Tour de France victories and ban him for life, it has been one bad news item after another for the man who arguably is the best-known athlete in the world:
15 More Riders Implicated
More cyclists are implicated with Armstrong’s doctor, Michele Ferrari according to AP citing a report in the Italian daily Gazzetta dello Sport. Among the 15 named are Michele Scarponi, Denis Menchov, and this year’s Olympic champion Alexandre Vinokourov.
Read the AP report here.
US Poll Says Most Americans Think He Doped
Most Americans believe that Lance Armstrong doped during his cycling career according to an Angus Reid poll conducted this week. Some 60% of respondents agree – while 15% disagree – with the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) which claims to have compiled “overwhelming” evidence against Armstrong in its reasoned decision submitted this month to the UCI. Americans who wear the yellow Livestrong bracelets are following this story more closely than the general population. And surprisingly, even a higher percentage of them (63%) agree with USADA. Bracelet wearers also more strongly believe that the UCI took the right action in stripping Armstrong of his titles. Meanwhile Armstrong is not the most unpopular sports figure – that distinction goes to golfer Tiger Woods.
LIVESTRONG in Turmoil
Meanwhile, the question of whether LIVESTRONG, a $46.8 million enterprise, can survive without Lance Armstrong is the subject of a Businessweek article. Also known as the Lance Armstrong Foundation, the charity provides a “dizzying list of programs” that includes: helping cancer patients understand the health-care system; lobbying for federal resources for cancer prevention programs; and providing emotional support groups for survivors and their families – despite common misconceptions LIVESTRONG does NOT fund cancer research. Businessweek chronicles how the fortunes of the charity have been closely linked to the career of the cyclist it is named after. Despite continuing support from Nike – which makes those yellow wristbands – the future does not look bright for LIVESTRONG.
Read the Business Week article here.
Two LIVESTRONGs ?
And there is not one, but two LIVESTRONG entities reports The Montreal Gazette. Columnist Jack Todd writes that: “There are two parallel organizations here: Livestrong.org, the charity, and the parallel Livestrong.com, a for-profit entity.” He also notes that almost none of the $500 million raised by the charity has gone to research, but instead to “fuzzier assistance programs, like ‘survivorship’ and ‘global awareness’.”
Read the Montreal Gazette article here.
LIVESTRONG Donors Want Money Returned
But there are many media reports of individual donors now wanting their money back while others are refusing to support a charitable organization that is linked to an athlete who is now recognized to have doped and cheated.