Lance Armstrong told Oprah Winfrey during an interview expected to air tonight that he used performance-enhancing drugs to win the Tour de France, according to the Associated Press.
This confession comes after a decade of denying that he ever doped, which included a battle in court after The United States Anti-Doping Agency released a 1,000-page report that concluded there was “overwhelming” evidence that he used drugs during his career as a professional cyclist. Soon after, he was stripped of his seven Tour de France titles.
He also has an inspiring story that is easy to get behind. He was diagnosed in October 1996 with testicular cancer. Only a few months after hearing about the disease, he established the Lance Armstrong Foundation.
In February 1997, he announced that he was cancer-free and bounced back to reign victorious in five more Tour de France races.
The yellow LIVESTRONG bracelet was worn around the country, becoming a popular fashion statement.
So when the news came out that he admitted to doping to win races, one question on some people’s minds lingered. Should I still wear my LIVESTRONG bracelet?
If Armstrong’s confession is the only thing causing hesitation, then there’s little issue.
LIVESTRONG is a non-profit foundation that has helped so many people who have been affected by cancer. Its mission “inspire and empower” cancer survivors and their families and that is something that won’t change. Proceeds from those yellow bracelets go to survivorship programs and services. Armstrong using performance-enhancing drugs is no reason to no longer support a foundation that aims to help others.
So why wouldn’t people continue to support LIVESTRONG? Would students at Penn State no longer spend 46 hours each February in the Bryce Jordan Center if someone associated with THON admitted to a crime? Of course not.
This is another warning against blindly supporting individuals in charge and consider them to be incapable of wrongdoing.
If we have learned anything in the past year it is that even leaders are human beings with flaws.
Armstrong’s triumph in overcoming the cancer should still inspire others.
In no way does that mean that it was acceptable for him to cheat.
But the message inspired through LIVESTRONG remains a worthy one.