Lance Armstrong stepping down from Livestrong charity
October 17th, 2012
03:01 PM ET

Lance Armstrong stepping down from Livestrong charity

Editor's note: Controversial American cyclist Lance Armstrong is stepping down as chairman from his Livestrong cancer charity. The announcement comes a week after the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency said it had uncovered overwhelming evidence of Armstrong's involvement in a sophisticated doping program. For more information read our full story here.

[Updated at 3:01 p.m. ET] Lance Armstrong is about to lose another sponsorship.

The controversial cyclist will lose his contract with Anheuser-Busch, the brewer of Budweiser, at the end of the year.

 "We have decided not to renew our relationship with Lance Armstrong when our current contract expires at the end of 2012," Paul Chibe, Vice President of U.S. Marketing, Anheuser-Busch said in astatement. "We will continue to support the Livestrong Foundation and its cycling and running events."

[Updated at 12:18 p.m. ET] Nike will take Lance Armstrong’s name off their Nike campus fitness center in Beaverton, Oregon, spokeswoman Mary Remuzz tells CNN.

[Updated at 9:26 a.m. ET] While Lance Armstrong is stepping down as chairman of his charity he is remaining positive about his continued involvement with regard to helping those with cancer.

"My family and I have devoted our lives to the work of the foundation and that will not change," Armstrong said. "We plan to continue our service to the foundation and the cancer community. We will remain active advocates for cancer survivors and engaged supporters of the fight against cancer. And we look forward to an exciting weekend of activities marking the 15th anniversary of the foundation's creation."

Armstrong will continue to help without the backing of his partners at Nike. Fifteen days ago he posted on his Facebook page:

"Had a great coupla days in Portland working with my great partners Nike. Awesome to see the show of support on livestrongday. 16 yrs!" he wrote. "Headed back 2 Austin now 2 celebrate with family/friends. There were days I never thought I'd see 2012. Blessed to be this side of the grass."

As of this update, the status had 10,911 "likes." Armstrong's most recent tweet, from five days ago, praised the work of Livestrong.

[Updated at 8:52 a.m. ET] Lance Armstrong's commitment to helping others with cancer has been a big reason the Livestrong was able to raise so much money over the years, Doug Ulman, President and CEO of the charity said in a statement.

"Long before he became a household name, Lance Armstrong created a foundation to serve others facing the same fears and challenges he struggled to overcome as a result of his cancer diagnosis. Today, thanks to Lance's leadership, that foundation has had the privilege of raising close to $500 million to serve people affected by cancer.

Lance has made this foundation and its cause - aiding people whose lives have been touched by this disease - his life's work. His leadership in the cancer community has spurred immeasurable progress and it has been a great privilege to work shoulder to shoulder with him on a daily basis during his chairmanship.

We are grateful to Jeff Garvey for assuming the responsibilities of chairman. Jeff has been a guiding presence for Livestrong for 15 years and we look forward to a seamless transition under his leadership and a continued strong focus on our core values and mission.

Lance's devotion to serving others whose lives were irrevocably changed by cancer, as his was, is unsurpassable. We are incredibly proud of his record as an advocate and philanthropist and are deeply grateful that Lance and his family will continue to be actively involved with the Foundation's advocacy and service work. We look forward to celebrating 15 years of progress with Lance and his family this weekend and recommitting ourselves to the work of the cancer community for the years ahead."

[Updated at 8:47 a.m. ET] Lance Armstrong is stepping down as chairman of the Livestrong charity "to spare the foundation any negative effects as a result of controversy surrounding my cycling career," according to a statement posted to the group's website.

Armstrong added that he will still devote his life to the work of the foundation and remain advocates for cancer survivors.

The controversial cyclist's full statement was posted on the Livestrong website:

"In 1996, as my cancer treatment was drawing to an end, I created a foundation to serve people affected by cancer. It has been a great privilege to help grow it from a dream into an organization that today has served 2.5 million people and helped spur a cultural shift in how the world views cancer survivors. This organization, its mission and its supporters are incredibly dear to my heart.

I am deeply grateful to the people of the foundation who have done such hard and excellent work over the last 15 years, building tangible and effective ways to improve the lives of cancer survivors. And I am deeply humbled by the support our foundation has received from so many people throughout the world - survivors, world leaders, business leaders and of course, the cancer community itself. We turn to this community frequently for guidance and collaboration to achieve our shared goals. They are unfailingly generous with their wisdom and counsel and I can never thank them enough.

I have had the great honor of serving as this foundation's chairman for the last five years and its mission and success are my top priorities. Today therefore, to spare the foundation any negative effects as a result of controversy surrounding my cycling career, I will conclude my chairmanship.

My duties will transfer to Vice Chairman Jeff Garvey who will serve as chairman. Jeff's guidance and wisdom have been critical to shaping the foundation's work since its earliest days. Jeff was this organization's founding chairman and I have full confidence that under his leadership, the foundation will continue expanding its ability to serve cancer survivors.

My family and I have devoted our lives to the work of the foundation and that will not change. We plan to continue our service to the foundation and the cancer community. We will remain active advocates for cancer survivors and engaged supporters of the fight against cancer. And we look forward to an exciting weekend of activities marking the 15th anniversary of the foundation's creation."

[Updated at 8:22 a.m. ET] Nike has just released a statement saying they have terminated their contract with Lance Armstrong for misleading them for more than a decade.

"Due to the seemingly insurmountable evidence that Lance Armstrong participated in doping and misled Nike for more than a decade, it is with great sadness that we have terminated our contract with him. Nike does not condone the use of illegal performance enhancing drugs in any manner," the statement on Nike's website reads. "Nike plans to continue support of the Livestrong initiatives created to unite, inspire and empower people affected by cancer.

[Posted at 8:12 a.m. ET] Controversial American cyclist Lance Armstrong is stepping down as chairman of his Livestrong charity, which was set up to "fight to improve the lives of people affected by cancer."

The move comes a week after the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency said it had uncovered overwhelming evidence of Armstrong's involvement in a sophisticated doping program while a professional cyclist.

Armstrong found out he had testicular cancer at age 25 when he was emerging as a rising star among cyclists. He started a small group to raise money for cancer called the Lance Armstrong Foundation in 1997. 84 million bright yellow Livestrong wristbands have been distributed since 2004.

In the wake of the doping scandal critics have struck out the "V" in the bracelet to make it read what they accuse Armstrong of doing for more than a decade: "LIE STRONG."

Read more about the scandal involving Armstrong here:

Armstrong give up doping fight, says it's time to move forward

The Armstrong report

Evidence against Armstrong 'overwhelming,' agency says

soundoff (266 Responses)
  1. domenic t

    I was never a big fan of Lance as a cyclist but I am very pround of the Livestrong organization. I am a heart attack survivor and I visit his site all the time for advice on nutrition and exercise. I will never purchase a Nike product ever again.

    October 17, 2012 at 9:12 am | Report abuse |
  2. WomenOnGuard

    And to think all these years, he had people fooled in to believing he was king of biking!

    October 17, 2012 at 9:12 am | Report abuse |
  3. glades2

    Glad he made that decision – the doping issue aside, millions suffer with cancer and the support this foundation has given them has helped and hopefully will continue to...

    October 17, 2012 at 9:13 am | Report abuse |
  4. Matt

    Interestingly, Lance Armstrong took hundreds if not thousands of blood tests during his career. None of them were positive for illicit substances. How is that possible, if these allegations are true?

    It seems to be that the USADA's methods are not compatible with American standards of jurisprudence. I see no due process here, nor any reasonable ability for the accused to defend himself against the charges.

    It is also worth noting that several of these accusers get a personal financial benefit from his "conviction"....

    October 17, 2012 at 9:14 am | Report abuse |
    • Jeff

      Thousands? Where do you get this? Read a little about the sport and you will see that he flunked t least two and avoided others that most likely would have been positive.

      October 17, 2012 at 9:19 am | Report abuse |
    • Chuck

      One of the very issues at the heart of the USADA case is the actual number of tests that Lance underwent. Even the number Lance himself sights was a significant exaggeration. That fact plus the systematic methods used to avoid testing and the simple use of saline injections to render tests useless effectively makes the testing argument moot.

      October 17, 2012 at 9:21 am | Report abuse |
    • zooni

      Lance Armstrong DID test positive for steroids. They where just below the accepted level. Realize Lance had a very cozy relationship with the French testers.

      October 17, 2012 at 9:22 am | Report abuse |
    • Fargo

      Read the USADA's reasoned decision and you will see how he managed to both evade and falsely pass so many tests. Charging someone with doping in sport is not the same as bringing criminal charges through the justice system, and he forfeited his rights to arbitration where he could've defended himself against the charges in a formal setting (as opposed to just issuing absurd statements to the media through his lawyers). Is it worth noting that several accusers, like Hincapie, had their legacies totally ruined by admitting his own doping experiences with Lance over the years? And why did Hincapie come clean? Because the case against him, Armstrong, and USPS was so ironclad it was futile to fight it. But whatever, there's really no point trying to convince someone who is being willfully ignorant like you are.

      October 17, 2012 at 9:25 am | Report abuse |
  5. Libdumb

    Very sad as he has done so much for so many people. Amazing that he has become the target for use of performance enhancing drugs. I trust that the media will vigorously pursue all those baseball and football players that enhanced their statistics using the same methods.

    October 17, 2012 at 9:14 am | Report abuse |
    • Sean

      He did a great work for setting up LiveStrong foundation. However, you cannot dispute the fact that he uses drugs in order to win all 7 times Tour de France. That's cheating and that's not tolerable. We should keep Livestrong foundation, but anyone taking drugs should be punished.

      October 17, 2012 at 9:41 am | Report abuse |
    • Paul Brawner

      If you want to label this issue as simply about a bike race, or a sport, that's your prerogative. But I say it is much more than that. I don't believe it's accurate, nor is it fair, to simply say he raised money and awareness for cancer so everything else should be ignored. This is not a simple black and white issue. There are certainly repercussions to him for his actions, but let us not ignore or forget that his actions have consequences beyond him. There are many young, impressionable people throughout the country who look at Lance Armstrong, as well as other athletes, as role models of behavior. We can say we don't feel that's right, or acceptable, but it is fact. I don't think it's enough to say that parents should simply teach their kids not to do what these athletes are doing. We live in a very different world now. Lance Armstrong, and others like him, are role models, and as such they should take heed in their actions and words. They may not agree to be role models, and they may dislike or even detest that status, but that is exactly what they become. They must acknowledge that fact and assign it the correct level of importance it deserves. Just as the President of the United States inherits great responsbility for many things he cannot directly control, athletes who rise to a status of prominence also inherit great responsibilities.

      I do not see Lance Armstrong as a cheater so much as I see him as human. He, like the rest of us, is not infallible. He made mistakes in judgment and actions. But he has done many great things as well, perhaps most noteably the Livestrong Foundation. To crucify him and define him for the cycling misconduct is every bit as wrong as lionizing him and putting him on a pedestal for the foundation work.

      October 17, 2012 at 11:16 am | Report abuse |
  6. Rick

    He helped raise over 500 million. Gesh. Give me a break. Screw a bike race. He is helping people with cancer.
    End of story.

    October 17, 2012 at 9:16 am | Report abuse |
    • chan

      yup what a backwards world we live in...

      October 17, 2012 at 9:27 am | Report abuse |
    • Fargo

      I think you need to realize that people do not fit into black-and-white, good-or-bad categories. Yes, he has raised a lot of money for cancer, but he himself was like a cancer within the sport of cycling for over a decade, and ruined the lives of many young riders and teammates.

      October 17, 2012 at 9:28 am | Report abuse |
    • Martin

      English TV personality Jimmy Savile also raised millions for medical charities. Never mind that he molested children, eh?

      October 17, 2012 at 8:13 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Chris

    If they were ALL doping on the same team, wouldn't it still be a level playing field....???? LOL. Like him or not, Lance Armstrong still did some great things, and fought a disease that most people lose their lives to. Let's spend a TON more federal money on sports and doping... good grief!

    October 17, 2012 at 9:17 am | Report abuse |
  8. Pepou27

    That creep should actually be put in jail.

    October 17, 2012 at 9:21 am | Report abuse |
    • chan

      He has helped more people then some entire countries help their people...

      October 17, 2012 at 9:27 am | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      Creep? Prison? For using steroids? LOL what a joke. I guess the tens of millions of dollars he's brought in to cancer treatment, care and awareness are meaningless? He used steroids to ride a bike more efficiently, where in your mind does that earn a jail sentence? Go kick rocks.

      October 17, 2012 at 9:36 am | Report abuse |
  9. fdjfsdlf

    Say NO to drug.
    Anyways.. people pay attention to bicycling???

    October 17, 2012 at 9:22 am | Report abuse |
  10. Robert

    USADA, despite its name, is a private company, not a government agency. There was no tax money spent on this.

    October 17, 2012 at 9:23 am | Report abuse |
  11. Pepper

    He dumped Cheryl Crow when she got breast cancer....the guy is a jerk. His own karma is finally coming back around and biting him. They have sufficient proof that he was doping. End of story.

    October 17, 2012 at 9:23 am | Report abuse |
  12. FallenHero

    Go away lance, your busted & done.
    What better way to gain the admiration and further cloak your cheating & lying than to become a hero to many with your work as a fund raiser for cancer. It worked for so long, and judging by the comments here, it still has people believing his BS.
    Sure all that money is great for the cause, but wouldn't have happened had he been caught at the outset, he just be another druggie and fade away like the rest.

    October 17, 2012 at 9:28 am | Report abuse |
    • Logic

      So the world would have been better off if he had been caught doping years ago? Yeah that makes sense, disgracing an athlete in a fringe sport is definitely worth eliminating millions in contributions to the cancer community... Ridiculous.

      October 17, 2012 at 10:59 am | Report abuse |
  13. Barney

    Fact: Everyone in cycling was doping when he was doping. It was a part of the sport. Fact: If Lance did not win the Tour several times, Livestrong would not exist. He parlayed his success, be it tarnished, into something great and helpful for mankind. Again...think about it. Everyone was doing it. Doesn't make it right, but it certainly doesn't make it wrong when you consider what he's done with his success and helped others tremendously.

    October 17, 2012 at 9:28 am | Report abuse |
  14. Ash

    Just imagine Lance as a Black dude. would we have been so generous... NO. Treat a cheat like he is a cheat. No allowance for "nice" white frat boys.

    October 17, 2012 at 9:28 am | Report abuse |
  15. whoknew

    He made his millions.........now he can admit and bail. (Eye roll).

    October 17, 2012 at 9:29 am | Report abuse |
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