WASHINGTON, January 6, 2012 — Is the Golden Boy of Cycling about to ‘fess up? Will Lance Armstrong change direction and finally admit that he used performance-enhancing drugs all those years of touring?
Anonymous sources close to Armstrong have told several news outlets that he is seriously considering admitting that he did.
Last year the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) stripped the 41-year-old cyclist of his seven Tour de Tour titles, claiming that he had been the ring leader of a innovative doping operation that used banned drugs and blood transfusions, which successfully avoided detection. He was also prohibited from participating in all forms of professional sports.
However, a spokesperson for the USADA said it had no comment on the possible confession and Armstrong’s attorney Tim Herman had said that Armstrong has not contact USADA or the World Anti-Doping Agency. Herman, when asked if the former champion is about to end the ten years of denial and confess, said, “Lance has to speak for himself on that.”
So why confess at this time?
The rumors about Armstrong coming clean at last seem to be a trial balloon to assess the mood of the public and USADA. But there are other strong reasons to own up to the doping charges as well.
One is Livestrong, the anti-cancer charity he founded, after nearly dying from and then defeating testicular cancer. It wants him to come clean for the health of the charity. After losing his titles last fall, Armstrong severed his ties with Livestrong, but as far as the public is concerned, they are still one and the same, which is why Livestrong wants a repentant and not defiant Armstrong.
Also Armstrong, according to the Sunday Telegraph, wants to start competing in sports again, not cycling but in triathlons and running races.
But a confession would mean he could face charges of perjury as well as paying out enormous compensation to former sponsors such as the U.S. Post Office, which sponsored his team between 2000 and 2004.
He also took a personal financial beating as sponsors like Nike, Trek, and Budweiser withdrew their sponsorships. And Armstrong has large legal fees to bear, including being sued for $12 million by an insurance company for bonuses it rewarded to Armstrong.
Obviously, one of the things that Armstrong would look for if he does confess is immunity from perjury charges. Armstrong had sworn under oath that he never used performance-enhancing drugs. What he has to be worried about is that track star and Olympic champion Marion Jones ended up in federal prison for six months, including time in solitary confinement, on perjury charges when she lied to a grand jury about her drug use.
Even if Lance Armstrong finally comes clean, will it make a difference on how the public and the sports world view him? Would he be welcomed into the triathlon? Would he find himself booed once he entered a race? Will a confession help Livestrong gain its momentum as an anti-cancer charity?
There are more questions than answers, as there always have been about Lance Armstrong.
All that is known is that he is vacationing in Hawaii with his family this week and will talk to his lawyer when he returns about his options. Stay tuned for the next twist in the Armstrong saga.
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