Today the UCI upheld the United States Anti-Doping Agency's ruling that former cycling icon Lance Armstrong shall be stripped of all of his titles dating back to August 1, 1998—including his record seven Tour de France's—and be banned from the sport for life.
This is the latest development in the fallout of Armstrong's doping scandal, considered to be the biggest performance-enhancing drug scandal in sports history.
Armstrong was the best American cyclist in history and the greatest of this generation, as he absolutely dominated the competition en route to his aforementioned seven Tour victories and a bronze medal in the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, Australia.
The Plano, Texas native captivated the sports world for upwards of 10 years as he dominated his sport unlike any other before, all after beating testicular cancer. Because of this, Armstrong became not only one of the greatest athletes ever to play sports overall, he also became an ambassador for the fight against cancer as he founded Livestrong in 1997.
Adding to his list of accolades, he was named 2002 Sportsman of the Year by Sports Illustrated for his inspiring fight and his ensuing success.
However, his cycling career and reputation was shattered in an instant on October 22, 2012, when the UCI officially exposed Armstrong for what he really is: a deceitful fraud.
Pat McQuain, president of the International Cycling Union, said "Lance Armstrong has no place in cycling, and deserves to be forgotten in cycling," in announcing the sanctions this morning.
McQuain also stated he was "sickened" by a 200-page report compiled by the USADA which included results that Armstrong and his teams used steroids, the blood booster EPO and blood transfusions. In addition, the report included testimony from 11 of his former teammates who said he took and pressured them to take, banned substances.
A previously mentioned quote from McQuain and a statement from the USADA sums up the magnitude this scandal perfectly.
The agency said Armstrong deserved his sanctions for running "the most sophisticated, professionalized and successful doping program that sport has ever seen."
Overall, it has now been proven that Armstrong doped for 13 of his 19 years in cycling from 1998 to 2011, the time period in which he was at the height of his career.
I believed Armstrong's multiple denials of the doping accusations because the vast majority of which came from former teammate and rival Floyd Landis. Landis' credibility was diminished in my mind as Landis himself is a proven doper.
I was under the impression that Landis was nothing more than cycling's version of Jose Canseco, the former MLB outfielder who took steroids and then attempted to take fellow players down with him in a book he wrote called "Juiced."
However, with these official sanctions that have been levied by the USADA and the UCI, all the respect and admiration I had for Armstrong is gone, and can never be regained.
Armstrong is nothing more than a fraud and a disgrace to sports and he deserves all the sanctions, ridicule, loss of sponsors and loss of money that he gets.
All but one of his sponsors have ended their relationship with the disgraced cyclist because of these sanctions, including Nike, who said they ceased their sponsoring of Armstrong due to overwhelming evidence.
Armstrong has stepped down from his position at Livestrong in order to minimize the distractions from this egregious scandal, and although I will always continue to support the cancer charity due to its excellent cause, I will always consider Lance Armstrong a fraud from this day forward and a man who, as Pat McQuain says, deserves to be "forgotten" from cycling and the world of sports.
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