News, Sports

World Renowned Cyclist Lance Armstrong Cheated, Erased From Record Books

Lance Armstrong at the Grand Prix Midi Libre, 2002. Image: de:Benutzer:Hase
Lance Armstrong at the Grand Prix Midi Libre, 2002. Image: de:Benutzer:Hase

Lance Armstrong “has no place in cycling,” the president of the governing body for cycling said this week. And with those words, the organization took away Armstrong’s seven Tour de France victories. They also banned him for life from competing in cycling.

Even though Armstrong came in first in those races, he used banned performance enhancing drugs to help him compete and win races. So the International Cycling Union (UCI) is erasing him from the sport’s history books.

The UCI was responding to a report produced by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency. It contained information proving, it says, the cyclist cheated.

Armstrong will lose all of the titles he has won in cycling since 1998 including, it seems likely, his bronze medal from the 2000 Olympics.

The UCI will also be asking Armstrong to pay back the millions of euros he was given for coming in first in the Tour de France races and other competitions. Those races will show “no winner.”

Image: Sherool
This yellow wristband was worn by millions to show support for cancer research. Image: Sherool

Armstrong was one of the best cyclists in the world, and a popular and inspirational athlete whose yellow jerseys and bright yellow “LiveStrong” bracelets were synonymous with the sport of road cycling. Money from Armstrong’s bracelet sales went to the Lance Armstrong Foundation to fight cancer. Earlier this month, Armstrong stepped down as the foundation’s director.

Armstrong is a cancer survivor. In October 1996, when he was 25, Armstrong was diagnosed with advanced testicular cancer which eventually spread to his lungs, abdomen and brain. One doctor said he had less than a 40 per cent chance of surviving.

But he fought back and, through surgery and chemotherapy and, many say sheer grit and determination, he conquered the disease and in February 1997 was declared cancer-free.

Armstrong went on to carve out an incredible racing career, winning the Tour de France (the most prestigious cycling event in the world) each year from 1999 to 2005.

Armstrong has long fought accusations that he and his team took steroids and other drugs to help them compete. He said he has passed hundreds of drug tests that showed he did not have drugs in his system. He said those tests prove he didn’t cheat.

Last August the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency produced a 200-page report that confirms the charges against Armstrong. The report contains information from 26 people, including 11 of his former teammates, as well as medical evidence that proves he cheated and pressured others on his team to cheat as well.

This week, the organization in charge of the sport said it agreed with the Anti-Doping Agency’s findings and ordered his victories to be erased. Many of Armstrong’s sponsors, such as Nike and Oakley sunglasses have dropped Armstrong as their spokesman.

The Anti-Doping Agency’s report also implicates other cyclists, a doctor, a medical official and a cycling coach, some of whom also received lifetime bans from the sport.

By Jonathan Tilly

Writing/Discussion Prompt
What is it about Lance Armstrong and his story that make people want to believe in his innocence? How does this affect your judgment?

Reading Prompt: Elements of Style
Reread the first sentence of today’s article,

“Lance Armstrong “has no place in cycling,” the president of the governing body for cycling said this week.”

How does this sentence do a good job capturing the reader’s attention?

Identify various elements of style – including word choice and the use of similes, personification, comparative adjectives, and sentences of different types, lengths, and structures – and explain how they help communicate meaning (OME, Reading: 2.4).

Identify various elements of style – including foreshadowing, metaphor, and symbolism – and explain how they help communicate meaning and enhance the effectiveness of texts  (OME, Reading: 2.4).

Grammar Feature: Acronyms
Today’s story includes many acronyms, such as USADA and UCI. An acronym is a new word that is created by stringing together the first letters of a name. The example that always comes to my mind is NASA. NASA is an acronym which stands for National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

What acronyms do you know? (Write at least five). Ask a friend their five and see how many of them are the same. Discuss with your partner, “what makes an acronym memorable?”