On Wednesday, October 17th, Lance Armstrong announced that he would be stepping down as chairman of Livestrong. After being diagnosed with advanced testicular cancer in 1996 at the age of 25, he founded Lance Armstrong Foundation (LAF) and began his struggle to beat the cancer.
It is out of the LAF that Livestrong grew. Undergoing all of the most aggressive treatments to purge his abdomen, lungs, and brain of the cancer, he managed to beat the disease. Just three years after his diagnosis, Lance Armstrong took the title at Tour De France in 1999.
Armstrong has been an inspiration not just to athletes around the world for his cycling victories, but also to cancer survivors (and fighters) for his fierce determination to beat the disease. His comeback was nothing short of phenomenal, and he is a hero to many.
But a lot has happened in the sixteen years since Armstrong was diagnosed with cancer. Today, he is facing accusations of participating in doping. The United States Anti-Doping Agency has sworn statements from several witnesses and former teammates of Armstrong’s, and has ordered that the last fourteen years of his career results be erased.
Several of Armstrong’s sponsors—including Nike, Trek, and Anheuser-Busch—have chosen to terminate their contracts with him. Oakley has chosen to stay withi him until he is proven guilty by the International Cycling Union, saying that they do not condone the use of illegal substances but that they support their athletes until proven guilty.
It is in light of these controversial claims that Lance Armstrong has chosen to step down. By doing so, he is effectively taking the heat of the claims against him away from the charity and assuming full responsibility himself.