Cheat, Liar, Bully and Philanthropist are now synonymous with the name Lance Armstrong.
In just one day the celebrated cyclist and cancer survivor lost the chairmanship of the charity he founded 15 years ago and an endorsement deal with Nike worth millions.
Many have tried looking past the fact Armstrong cheated because he raised so much money for cancer. While there’s no denying Lance's fundraising efforts, his legacy as a philanthropist will be tarnished.
As the Livestrong founder, Armstrong helped raise over $500 million for cancer research, treatment and support, including $6.5 million he personally donated. People donated to a charity whose founder overcame cancer and won seven consecutive Tour de France titles.
His success inspired cancer patients worldwide, and his fame grew beyond the cycling world. Society donated money because they bought into the fact that Armstrong was an American hero.
Yet this fairy tale story proved to be fraudulent. The all-American story was now a sham.
In a recent interview with Oprah Winfrey, Armstrong stated that all his Tour de France titles were possible only with the use of PEDs and blood transfusions.
What makes Armstrong’s fall from grace particularly troubling is that his identity as a cancer survivor has been so deeply entrenched in his fame.
The issue with Lance Armstrong isn't whether he has a charitable cause but whether he cheated and leveraged his fraudulent titles to help promote an organization that appears to do good work—but ultimately enriches a fraudster.
It is seemingly a clear case of the ends not justifying the means,
The same charity that saw great success in the past decade must now separate itself from the front man who put it on the map.
While Armstrong’s survivorship will never be taken away from him, donors may no longer view him as the same heroic figure.