Armstrong a 'jazzed-up liar' but Livestrong charity might survive
US media turns on cyclist Armstrong after Usada dossier destroys his reputation
LANCE ARMSTRONG, once regarded as an all-American sporting hero, has been abandoned overnight by the US media after he was exposed by the US Anti-Doping Agency as the evil ringleader of "the most sophisticated, professionalised and successful doping programme that sport has ever seen".
American sports journalists have not held back. "The word 'alleged' should now be dropped from any description of the way doping permeated and enabled Lance Armstrong's cycling career," says Bonnie D Ford of ESPN. The "staggeringly voluminous" evidence released by Usada "rewrites Armstrong's sporting epitaph from alleged to proven user of performance-enhancing drugs and techniques".
She adds: "There is no other logical conclusion. After today, anyone who remains unconvinced simply doesn't want to know."
If the evidence is to be believed "then Lance Armstrong has spent the last decade-plus supplying us [with] one of the world's most rich and varied tapestries of lying," says Chuck Culpepper in USA Today. "We all have lied, but you would have to feel awe at this level of lying - at its length, breadth, and width, at its doggedness."
He is not just a liar, says the New York Daily News. "The all-American boy is unmasked as a species far worse than the Olympians and baseball players who have boosted speed and strength via chemistry. He is a fraud to the jazzed-up marrow of his bones. He is a bald-faced liar to the public and under oath to investigators. And he is a thug who attempted to conceal his systemic cheating with threats and intimidation."
How anyone can still support him, asks the Daily News. "The evidence also mandates that Armstrong's top sponsors, companies like Nike and Anheuser-Busch, must cut him loose to uphold corporate responsibility. He is a fake who abused the public trust. Is that what they stand for?"
These days Armstrong, who overcame cancer before winning the Tour, fronts the cancer charity Livestrong. Where does all this leave his sport and his charity work?
The Usada dossier is "a sober and saddening document, one that shows how tragically polluted elite-level cycling had become and threatens Armstrong's status as an inspirational figure for people living with cancer and their families," warns the Wall Street Journal.
But Armstrong's charity might well come through the scandal, says Sean Gregory of Time Magazine. "Don't be surprised if the Livestrong foundation survives and maybe continues to thrive. People likely won't take out their disappointment with Armstrong on cancer research."