After battling accusations of doping for more than a decade, Lance Armstrong, one of the most celebrated athletes in history and record-shattering seven-time Tour de France winner, ended his fight against the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency’s charges of performance-enhancing drug use on Thursday.
Armstrong still denies ever doping and called the USADA’s case against him “an unconstitutional witch hunt” in a statement, but he said that contesting the charges has become burdensome to his family and his work with cancer research. He said he was “finished with this nonsense … . There comes a point in every man’s life when he has to say, ‘Enough is enough.’ For me, that time is now.”
The decision not to contest the charges means Armstrong will be stripped of his seven Tour de France wins, and he could lose his bronze Olympic medal and all other titles, awards, and money he won after August 1998. The USADA will also ban him from the sport of cycling for life, though he retired last year.
“It’s a sad day for all of us who love sport and our athletic heroes,” said Travis Tygart, chief executive of the United States Anti-Doping Agency, said to the New York Times. “It’s yet another heartbreaking example of how the win-at-all-costs culture, if left unchecked, will overtake fair, safe and honest competition.”
Armstrong’s statement re-emphasized his primary argument against the charges—that the USADA still