Armstrong Steps Down Amid Massive Controversy
Legendary cyclist Lance Armstrong announced Wednesday that he is stepping down from his position as Chairman of the Livestrong charity, amid a torrent of negative press surrounding allegations of doping.
Compounding the bad news, Nike, Armstrong's biggest sponsor, announced they would terminate their relationship with Armstrong (though they would continue to support Livestrong).
Armstrong, one of cycling's all-time greatest athletes and seven-time winner of the Tour de France, was slapped with charges of using performance-enhancing drugs by the US Anti-Doping Association (USADA) in June of this year. In August, USADA denounced Armstrong, requesting that cycling's governing body strip him of his Tour de France titles and other awards.
The story has continued to generate momentum on the heels of a USADA report released earlier this month detailing statements from 26 witnesses, including 11 former teammates.
Armstrong announced in an early-morning statement that he would resign as Chairman of Livestrong "to spare the organization any negative effects as a result of controversy surrounding (his) cycling career."
He will continue to serve on the board of Livestrong, but his duties will be handed over to Vice Chairman and co-founder Jeff Garvey.
The Livestrong Foundation, whose iconic yellow silicone bracelets have sold more than 80 million since 2004, will be without Armstrong at the head for the first time since its inception in 1997. The charity focuses on cancer research and increasing cancer awareness, with much of its profits driven by the sale of the Nike-designed wristbands.
The charity actually reported an increase in donations following the allegations in August, and plan to continue in their mission despite the recent tarnishing of Armstrong's image.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.