I'm sure you've all heard by now that the USADA has stripped Lance Armstrong of his 7 world titles in cycling. This has been an ongoing fight for Armstrong ever since coming back from cancer, so I really don't want to dig much into that. What was most interesting through it all was the response Lance posted to his website yesterday.
Armstrong claims there's been a witch hunt in his honor, courtesy of the USADA. Doping agencies seem to enjoy chasing after the big names, ruining their careers in hopes of making a name for themselves. We've seen it in baseball and other sports in the past. They don't often put this much effort into every athlete... only those with the biggest star power.
If the USADA had sufficient evidence against Armstrong I'm sure this would have been over years ago, but they now claim to have doctors and former teammates lined up to testify against him. The fact they've been trying this hard for this long (Armstrong has been retired for about a year and a half now) and are now basing their defense on claims shows just how far they are willing to stretch a person to preserve what they've earned or (in their minds) cheated to achieve.
From the beginning, however, this investigation has not been about learning the truth or cleaning up cycling, but about punishing me at all costs. I am a retired cyclist, yet USADA has lodged charges over 17 years old despite its own 8-year limitation. As respected organizations such as UCI and USA Cycling have made clear, USADA lacks jurisdiction even to bring these charges.
If Lance had actually wanted to fight these charges he probably could have done so successfully, but he cited the desire to put this behind him for his family, self and the non-profit cancer foundation (LAF) he now represents.
In the end the battle was deemed not worth the effort. On one hand you could be looking at a guilty man who championed his way to the top with performance enhancing drugs (and most accusations stemming from his return from cancer) or you could be looking at a champion who who truly knows he never cheated and did indeed top the world's best cyclists (7 times) and is quite content later in life with that being enough, despite it's repercussions.
If the latter is true the man truly is a hero.