Lance Armstrong Fired by Nike, Steps Down From Livestrong
The wheels are falling off for Lance Armstrong.
Once one of America's great sporting heroes, a cyclist who remarkably came back from a near-death brush with cancer to win an incredible seven Tour de France titles, the allegations that he abused performance enhancing drugs during his storied run is finally catching up to him. Less than a week after the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency released a statement detailing teammates' accusations of Armstrong's steroid abuse, Nike has terminated their ten year relationship.
"Due to the seemingly insurmountable evidence that Lance Armstrong participated in doping and misled Nike for more than a decade, it is with great sadness that we have terminated our contract with him," the company said in a statement.
Additionally, Armstrong said that he is voluntarily stepping down as chair of own Lance Armstrong Foundation.
This summer, Armstrong announced that he would no longer fight the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency's allegations, though he insisted they were unfounded. The cycling world has long chased Armstrong on the suspicion that he operated within an elaborate doping scheme meant to hide his abuse of performance enhancers.
Upon his announcement, the USADA stripped him of his seven titles and banned him for life.
Last week, the USADA released a tease of conversations with 26 witnesses, many of them former teammates of Armstrong, including Tyler Hamilton and Floyd Landis, they themselves disgraced bikers stripped of their medals.
Armstrong's lawyer, Tim Herman, blasted the release at the time.
"Ignoring the 500-600 tests Lance Armstrong passed, ignoring all exculpatory evidence, and trying to justify the millions of dollars USADA has spent pursuing one, single athlete for years, USADA has continued its government funded witch hunt of only Mr. Armstrong, a retired cyclist, in violation of its own rules and due process, in spite of USADA's lack of jurisdiction, in blatant violation of the statute of limitations, and without honoring… national and international rules," he said.
In 2005, the peak of his earning power, Armstrong reportedly took in $17.5 million from endorsements, including his deal with Nike.