Lance Armstrong is the most decorated cyclist in the history of the sport. He has it all: A grueling battle with testicular cancer behind his back, seven Tour de France victories under his belt, and a strong and well-funded LIVESTRONG foundation. He developed a legacy worthy of admiration, at least until a few months ago.
For the past few years, Armstrong’s former teammates and various reporters have come forth and accused this legendary cyclist of doping to achieve incredible results, though he repeatedly shot down these allegations. As time progressed and the validity of the accusers became more credible, Armstrong gave up the fight. On October 10, 2012, the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) announced it had accumulated ample evidence about his illegal activities and firmly declared Armstrong was involved with, “the most sophisticated, professionalized and successful doping program that sport has ever seen.”
The events, which unraveled throughout the days and weeks following the USADA’s announcement, shocked Armstrong’s devoted fans. This was the first public battle he had lost. He didn’t need to dope his way to success. Or did he? On October 17, 2012, just days after surrendering to the accusations, Armstrong stepped down from his position as chairman of the Lance Armstrong Foundation (LIVESTRONG), which he founded in 1997 after his battle with cancer. Although this is a rough personal time for Armstrong, his actions throughout the proceedings of the investigations will play a big role in shaping the future of the LIVESTRONG foundation.
The majority of you reading this article recognize the LIVESTRONG foundation by the yellow wristbands released in 2004. What you probably don’t know is the Lance Armstrong Foundation was founded to provide monetary assitance and psychological care-taking to those battling cancer.
Armstrong recognized just how lucky he was to have endured this horrible disease without any financial burdens and created an organization to assist others in their bouts with cancer. In just 15 years, the LIVESTRONG foundation has managed to raise around $500 million. This money goes towards cancer research and special programs designed to aid cancer survivors.
Despite Armstrong’s foolish behavior, one cannot simply just stop giving to the LIVESTRONG foundation. As Armstrong has stated repeatedly, this organization is more than just about him. Armstrong, as an athlete, is entirely different from Armstrong as a person.
A genuinely evil person would not devote countless hours towards raising money for cancer or spend so much time on a cause if he didn’t believe it could make an impact for the greater good. Why would he step down from the organization if he did not indeed care about its fate ? He was just a big man in a big world, who got caught up in the wrong game.
Whether you still maintain respect for Armstrong, the bottom line remains the same: LIVESTRONG has come too far and has accomplished too much. Enormous amounts of money have been raised, and many lives have been saved.
At the end of the day, I will still be wearing my yellow wristband. I believe in staying strong with LIVESTRONG.
Written by Oliver Kornberg’16
Graphic by Connie Zhang’14