He is walking away from the ability to contest the charges and clear his name. His career should not end this way. Armstrong has been a fighter in so many ways. And, now in many eyes, he is tainted.
The USADA banned him from competitive cycling for life and stripped him of his seven
Cycling has experienced the same trauma that afflicted Major League Baseball in which all results end up in question. The sport is tarnished by the "cheating" stigma. Why would Armstrong, who has been combative and zealous over the years in challenging any accusations of unfair play simply walk away without a fight?
His statement in doing so was strident and he portrayed himself as a victim of a vendetta from USADA CEO Travis Tygart. But Armstrong had the resources to hire a first-rate legal team and spokesman Mark Fabiani. He was one of the few athletes with the power to take on a regulatory battle. His legal team filed a lawsuit in federal court that was rejected by U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks because of the length and side issues it raised. When his attorneys resubmitted the suit it was dismissed. And he chose not to continue the battle in arbitration.
Armstrong has been as powerful a role model that sports has ever seen. He fought a long battle with
He used his high profile to raise massive amounts of money and profile to fight
Perhaps Armstrong was tired of the endless battling to defend himself against doping allegations. He may have considered that the USADA process was so one-sided and vindictive that a continuing effort was pointless. He may have felt that he was the target of a witch hunt. He may have anticipated former teammate
Whatever Armstrong's motivation, this is a disastrous result for cycling and its fans.
Armstrong was a hero to millions. He was an athlete that a parent could proudly have his children emulate. His was a story of courage, determination and so many admirable values.
How do parents explain this scenario to the millions of kids who looked up to him?
We will never know whether he found illegal ways to enhance his performance. Nothing he did on the course undermines the immense amount of good he has done for cancer research.
But above all, Lance Armstrong has been a fighter. It should not have ended this way.