DISGRACED CYCLING ICON Lance Armstrong, unable to lead his cancer-fighting foundation’s efforts or compete in world-class sports, could provide the first glimpse of his future tomorrow.
Armstrong will speak to supporters of his Livestrong anti-cancer charity at a 15th anniversary fundraiser in his hometown of Austin, Texas, in his first public comments since his dramatic downfall in an epic doping scandal.
Key sponsors Nike, Trek bicycles and brewers Anheuser-Busch cut ties with Armstrong today, a week after the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) revealed 1,000 pages of evidence supporting why it gave him a life ban from competition and stripped him of seven Tour de France victories.
Engulfed by scandal and not wanting to taint the charity he worked so hard to set up and promote after winning his famous battle with testicular cancer, Armstrong stepped down yesterday as Livestrong’s chairman.
His speech tomorrow will be witnessed by a nominally friendly crowd of Livestrong backers, with organisers releasing a video recording afterwards on YouTube — so there will be no tough questions about his fall from grace.
David Carter, a sports business professor at the University of Southern California and executive director of USC’s Sports Business Institute, said any Armstrong journey to reclaim public respectability must include a confession.
“The only way they come back is when they take personal responsibility and accountability for what they’ve done,” Carter said. “He has not taken responsibility.”
That sets the stage for what could be an emotional moment of truth for Armstrong. If not, there may be are hints about where the once-revered cycling legend goes from here.