Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Armstrong keeps living strong

Anti-cancer crusader admired despite doping scandal

  • Print

It's not so much that the Lance Armstrong story was too good to be true. Now it might just be too good to let go.

Even after investigators unveiled a scathing report portraying him as an unrepentant drug cheat, Armstrong continues to confound his public with competing images: a rapacious, win-at-all-costs athlete or a hero who came back from cancer.

We've all heard his story before: An up-and-coming cyclist gets testicular cancer at age 25. He's given less than a 50 per cent chance of surviving. Instead, he fights it off and comes back stronger. He wins the Tour de France seven times. Hobnobs with presidents. Dates a rock star and pretty much becomes one himself. Uses his fame and success to raise millions to promote cancer awareness.

Even if it's the impossible fairy tale it sounds like, built on a brittle mountain of drugs, deception and arm-twisting, it's the narrative the world has listened to for nearly 15 years.

More than 1,000 pages of finely detailed evidence from the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency are now in the open, supporting its decision to ban Armstrong for life from cycling and order his titles stripped for using performance-enhancing drugs. Yet while other sports stars who have faced drug-induced downfalls -- Marion Jones, Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens -- fade from memory or become objects of scorn, Armstrong keeps rolling along.

Sure, negative comments dot the landscape -- people have put an "x" through the "v" on their Livestrong wristbands to make it read "Lie strong." But the tributes also keep coming: a few dozen new posts on a Facebook page titled "Lance Armstrong Supporters" either vilify USADA or tell Armstrong they've got his back.

You can see it from the sponsors -- Nike is one -- that are sticking with Armstrong. You can see it in the donations to the Lance Armstrong Foundation, which have spiked since August, when Armstrong announced he wouldn't fight the doping charges.

It also shows in the way Armstrong steadfastly goes about his business. On Thursday, the day after the USADA report came out, he was at his foundation headquarters in Austin, Texas, looking for a place to hang a picture. On Friday, he linked to his Twitter account a shiny new slide show touting the top 15 things his foundation has accomplished since it was founded 15 years ago this month.

He's sold 84 million yellow Livestrong wristbands and a good number of the more than 25 million people fighting cancer worldwide look to him for inspiration to gain strength to keep going. Armstrong showed them it could be done, while raising more than $500 million to help their cause.

The fervent support Armstrong, 41, engenders in the wake of such damning facts and testimony from nearly a dozen ex-teammates is a sign of the emotion his story still holds. That's an element missing from the stories of Jones, Bonds, Clemens, Mark McGuire, Sammy Sosa and others who've been tainted by performance-enhancing drugs.

None of them overcame what Armstrong did.

-- The Associated Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition October 14, 2012 B13

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes


  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.


Make text: Larger | Smaller


Jets This Week: Crunching the playoff numbers

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • July 1, 2012 - 120701  -   Canada Day fireworks at The Forks from the Norwood Bridge Sunday, July 1, 2012.    John Woods / Winnipeg Free Press
  • Challenges of Life- Goose Goslings jump over railway tracks to catch up to their parents at the Canadian Pacific Railway terminalon Keewatin St in Winnipeg Thursday morning. The young goslings seem to normally hatch in the truck yard a few weeks before others in town- Standup photo- ( Day 4 of Bryksa’s 30 day goose project) - Apr 30, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)

View More Gallery Photos


Who has been the Jets' most valuable player this season?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google