October 23, 2014; Bloomberg
It has been reported that Lance Armstrong plans to mount a bike in support of a friend’s charity in South Carolina on October 26th. The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), however, may derail his effort if it rules that his banishment for life from the sport of bicycle racing makes him ineligible to participate in Gran Fondo Hincapie. Less clear is whether Armstrong’s presence will really be a benefit to the charity race.
In 2012, a USADA investigation found that Armstrong had consistently used substances to enhance his biking performance in seven of the cyclist’s record-setting Tour de France wins. In the same year, he was stripped of all seven of the Tour de France titles. To be sure, Lance Armstrong suffered personally and professionally from the findings of the USADA and the loss of the titles. One website has even ranked him as #2 among nine disgraced sports heroes. Armstrong and his tattered legacy is placed just after that of Joe Paterno and ahead of those of “Shoeless Joe Jackson,” Tiger Woods, O.J. Simpson, Pete Rose, Sammy Sosa & Mark McGwire, Brett Favre, and, strangely, professional wrestling icon Hulk Hogan.
Since his fall, Armstrong has been trying to rebuild his brand and regain the trust of many sports fans, if not the whole of America. In January 2013, he appeared with Oprah Winfrey to make a full public confession. In August 2014, CNN reported he had reached out to some of his former friends, associates, and even competitors to make amends. Lance Armstrong’s efforts at redemption in his personal relationships have been successful in some cases and wholly inadequate in others. Another champion cyclist, Greg LeMond, with whom Armstrong has not successfully reconciled, has observed about Lance Armstrong that, “He doesn’t seem to be humbled at all and you want to see that from someone in his position. He’s acted almost as though he lost a bunch of time in the Tour de France and has to make it