August 24th, 2012
12:25 PM ET

Statement from USADA on Lance Armstrong

The following is a Friday statement from the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, announcing it is giving cyclist Lance Armstrong a lifetime ban and disqualifying him from all competitive results since August 1, 1998:

USADA announced today that Lance Armstrong has chosen not to move forward with the independent arbitration process and as a result has received a lifetime period of ineligibility and disqualification of all competitive results from August 1, 1998, through the present, as the result of his anti-doping rule violations stemming from his involvement in the United States Postal Service (USPS) Cycling Team Doping Conspiracy (USPS Conspiracy).

Following the dismissal of Mr. Armstrong’s lawsuit on Monday, August 20, 2012, by the federal court in Austin, Texas, Mr. Armstrong had until midnight on Thursday, August 23, to contest the evidence against him in a full evidentiary hearing with neutral arbitrators as provided by U.S. law. However, when given the opportunity to challenge the evidence against him, and with full knowledge of the consequences, Mr. Armstrong chose not to contest the fact that he engaged in doping violations from at least August 1, 1998, and participated in a conspiracy to cover up his actions. As a result of Mr. Armstrong’s decision, USADA is required under the applicable rules, including the World Anti-Doping Code under which he is accountable, to disqualify his competitive results and suspend him from all future competition.

"Nobody wins when an athlete decides to cheat with dangerous performance enhancing drugs, but clean athletes at every level expect those of us here on their behalf, to pursue the truth to ensure the win-at-all-cost culture does not permanently overtake fair, honest competition," said USADA CEO, Travis T. Tygart. "Any time we have overwhelming proof of doping, our mandate is to initiate the case through the process and see it to conclusion as was done in this case."

As is every athlete’s right, if Mr. Armstrong would have contested the USADA charges, all of the evidence would have been presented in an open legal proceeding for him to challenge. He chose not to do this knowing these sanctions would immediately be put into place.

The evidence against Lance Armstrong arose from disclosures made to USADA by more than a dozen witnesses who agreed to testify and provide evidence about their first-hand experience and/or knowledge of the doping activity of those involved in the USPS Conspiracy as well as analytical data. As part of the investigation Mr. Armstrong was invited to meet with USADA and be truthful about his time on the USPS team but he refused.

On June 12, 2012, USADA issued a notice letter informing Mr. Armstrong and five other individuals, including the USPS team director, team trainer and three team doctors, of USADA’s intent to open proceedings against them. On June 28, 2012, following a review process set forth in the applicable rules, USADA notified Mr. Armstrong and the other five individuals that the independent review panel’s finding confirmed sufficient and in fact overwhelming evidence, and that USADA was charging them with rule violations.

Numerous witnesses provided evidence to USADA based on personal knowledge acquired, either through direct observation of doping activity by Armstrong,or through Armstrong’s admissions of doping to them that Armstrong used EPO, blood transfusions, testosterone and cortisone during the period from before 1998 through 2005, and that he had previously used EPO, testosterone and hGH through 1996. Witnesses also provided evidence that Lance Armstrong gave to them, encouraged them to use and administered doping products or methods, including EPO, blood transfusions, testosterone and cortisone during the period from 1999 through 2005. Additionally, scientific data showed Mr. Armstrong’s use of blood manipulation including EPO or blood transfusions during Mr. Armstrong’s comeback to cycling in the 2009 Tour de France.

The anti-doping rule violations for which Mr. Armstrong is being sanctioned are:

(1) Use and/or attempted use of prohibited substances and/or methods including EPO, blood transfusions, testosterone, corticosteroids and masking agents.

(2) Possession of prohibited substances and/or methods including EPO, blood transfusions and related equipment (such as needles, blood bags, storage containers and other transfusion equipment and blood parameters measuring devices), testosterone, corticosteroids and masking agents.

(3) Trafficking of EPO, testosterone, and corticosteroids.

(4) Administration and/or attempted administration to others of EPO, testosterone, and cortisone.

(5) Assisting, encouraging, aiding, abetting, covering up and other complicity involving one or more anti-doping rule violations and/or attempted anti-doping rule violations.

These activities are defined as anti-doping rule violations under the USADA Protocol for Olympic and Paralympic Movement Testing, the United States Olympic Committee National Anti-Doping Policies, USA Cycling rules and the International Cycling Union (UCI) Anti-Doping Rules (UCI ADR), all of which have adopted the World Anti-Doping Code (Code) and the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Prohibited List.

In accordance with the Code, aggravating circumstances including involvement in multiple anti-doping rule violations and participation in a sophisticated doping scheme and conspiracy as well as trafficking, administration and/or attempted administration of a prohibited substance or method, justify a period of ineligibility greater than the standard sanction. Accordingly, Mr. Armstrong has received a lifetime period of ineligibility for his numerous anti-doping rule violations, including his involvement in trafficking and administering doping products to others. A lifetime period of ineligibility as described in the Code prevents Mr. Armstrong from participating in any activity or competition organized by any signatory to the Code or any member of any signatory.

In addition to the lifetime ban, Mr. Armstrong will be disqualified from any and all competitive results obtained on and subsequent to August 1, 1998, including forfeiture of any medals, titles, winnings, finishes, points and prizes.

As noted above, Mr. Armstrong challenged the arbitration process in federal court. In response, the court found that “the USADA arbitration rules, which largely follow those of the American Arbitration Association (AAA) are sufficiently robust to satisfy the requirements of due process.” USADA’s rules provide that where an athlete or other person is sanctioned because they fail to contest USADA’s charges in arbitration, the sanction shall not be reopened or subject to appeal unless the athlete or other person can demonstrate that he did not receive actual or constructive notice of the opportunity to contest the sanction. Because Mr. Armstrong could have had a hearing before neutral arbitrators to contest USADA’s evidence and sanction and he voluntarily chose not to do so, USADA’s sanction is final.

In an effort to aid athletes, as well as all support team members such as parents and coaches, in understanding the rules applicable to them, USADA provides comprehensive instruction on its website on the testing process and prohibited substances, how to obtain permission to use a necessary medication, and the risks and dangers of taking supplements as well as performance-enhancing and recreational drugs. In addition, the agency manages a drug reference hotline, Drug Reference Online (www.GlobalDRO.com), conducts educational sessions with National Governing Bodies and their athletes, and proactively distributes a multitude of educational materials, such as the Prohibited List, easy-reference wallet cards, periodic newsletters, and protocol and policy reference documentation.

USADA is responsible for the testing and results management process for athletes in the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Movement, and is equally dedicated to preserving the integrity of sport through research initiatives and educational programs.


Filed under: Cycling • Lance Armstrong • Sports
soundoff (11 Responses)
  1. banasy©

    "Lance Armstrong has chosen not to continue fighting and as a result, we will do whatever we want, no matter how undeserved it is. No word on what we should do with the people who actually tested positive. That would not be fun."

    August 24, 2012 at 12:55 pm | Report abuse |
  2. eizan70

    Mr. Armstrong chooses not to fight? He has been fighting these allegations since 1999. Every time he wins he faces another allegation or charge. So if he continues to fight and wins, when is the next one? If he eventually loses, is that just because the keep it up until they get the result they wish for? How many times does anyone need to go through the same proceedings before they throw their hands up and quit. Admission of guilt? Come on!

    August 24, 2012 at 1:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      According the the dolts at the USADA, yep, that's it in a nutshell.
      Just like those morons who used to burn witches at the stake; if you drowned, you were innocent, but you were dead anyway...

      August 24, 2012 at 7:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Becky

      Its OK Lance, WE know the truth and WE recognize that you have always been the winner; these people need to be given something to do, as apparently they have time on their hands that they don't know how to utilize in a constructive manner. If they have nothing better to do, I vote they be let go, as they are a waste of our time and $.

      August 25, 2012 at 11:41 am | Report abuse |
  3. bruce studtmann blow

    Pretty obGood thing vious to me he passed 500 drug tests and he was stripped of his winnings for that. Seems really fair to me. Pass a test get convicted, pass 500 hundred tests and lose everything. Raise a boatload of money for cancer research, you must be on drugs.What was Lance thinking? He must be guilty, it obvious, its right there on paper no bad tests must be guilty. Good thing everything doesnt run like this. Pass a test in school must have been cheating. Pulled over by an officer blow 0 alcohal must be drinking. Take a drug test its negative must have smoked something!. Grow the largest pumpkin ever thats against the rules, its not who the French wanted to grow pumpkins. Where does it end?

    August 25, 2012 at 12:23 am | Report abuse |
  4. bruce studtmann

    I had 4 beers tonight at home and got busted for dui because someone said so. Also my 2 dogs were taken into custody because another dog on the block didnt like him. Seems fair is the NCAA running this scam?

    August 25, 2012 at 12:41 am | Report abuse |
  5. Robert E Ellis M/Sgt USAF Ret.

    What ever happened too justice in my country Czars and committees at work

    August 25, 2012 at 11:07 am | Report abuse |
  6. KJO

    Looks like witch hunts are still the preferred process for governmental agencies incapable of delivering against their own charters... Congratulations, and we are all better off how? Pathetic...

    August 25, 2012 at 12:13 pm | Report abuse |
  7. John Carolla

    Come to think of it... Shouldn't you guys start thinking about going after Neil Armstrong as well? I hear he refused to drink Tang on the mission.....

    September 1, 2012 at 5:11 pm | Report abuse |
  8. John Carolla

    You people may be right and you may be wrong..............

    But in the end, you are all perceived as a bunch of witch hunters in drag.....

    With the all the spot lights on people that have given hope to so many people in the face of adversity, on people who have been looked up to for their persistence, on people who have given other the drive to do their best, you should be ashamed of yourselves.

    I'm not sure who is worse, the people who persecuted Joe Paterno or you idiots. What good will come from your actions? Who will become inspired by your persistence? Who will tell you that you did the right thing? Who will give you the validation that you seem so desperate to receive? Who will, in the end tell you how smart you are?

    I am not a fan of cheating. Barry Bonds is an out right disappointment to baseball and to the human race on general principles. There are many people who have clearly crossed the line. Those are the people that should be prosecuted. With in that black and white space you will find victory. You will provide a benchmark for others to follow. But with in the Grey areas that you have now ventured into, you have destroyed not only your own credibility, you have also destroyed the will of so many others to keep driving and pushing forward when all seems lost.

    You people have made a real mess of things. Do you all feel like proud Americans that have contributed to this great nation? I certainly hope not!!!

    Come to think of it... Shouldn't you guys start thinking about going after Neil Armstrong as well? I hear he refused to drink Tang on the mission.....

    John Carolla
    San Ramon, CA

    September 1, 2012 at 5:14 pm | Report abuse |
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    March 7, 2013 at 3:30 am | Report abuse |