Aug. 23, 2012 -- Cyclist Lance Armstrong released a statement on this evening announcing he would not enter arbitration to fight doping charges brought against him by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency and its CEO, Travis Tygart. Here is Armstrong's statement:
There comes a point in every man's life when he has to say, "Enough is enough." Forme, that time is now. I have been dealing with claims that I cheated and had an unfairadvantage in winning my seven Tours since 1999. Over the past three years, I havebeen subjected to a two-year federal criminal investigation followed by Travis Tygart'sunconstitutional witch hunt. The toll this has taken on my family, and my work for ourfoundation and on me leads me to where I am today - finished with this nonsense.I had hoped that a federal court would stop USADA's charade. Although the court wassympathetic to my concerns and recognized the many improprieties and deficiencies inUSADA's motives, its conduct, and its process, the court ultimately decided that it couldnot intervene.
If I thought for one moment that by participating in USADA's process, I could confrontthese allegations in a fair setting and - once and for all - put these charges to rest, Iwould jump at the chance. But I refuse to participate in a process that is so one-sidedand unfair. Regardless of what Travis Tygart says, there is zero physical evidence tosupport his outlandish and heinous claims. The only physical evidence here is thehundreds of controls I have passed with flying colors. I made myself available aroundthe clock and around the world. In-competition. Out of competition. Blood. Urine.Whatever they asked for I provided. What is the point of all this testing if, in the end,USADA will not stand by it?
From the beginning, however, this investigation has not been about learning the truth orcleaning up cycling, but about punishing me at all costs. I am a retired cyclist, yetUSADA has lodged charges over 17 years old despite its own 8-year limitation. Asrespected organizations such as UCI and USA Cycling have made clear, USADA lacksjurisdiction even to bring these charges. The international bodies governing cyclinghave ordered USADA to stop, have given notice that no one should participate inUSADA's improper proceedings, and have made it clear the pronouncements byUSADA that it has banned people for life or stripped them of their accomplishments aremade without authority. And as many others, including USADA's own arbitrators, havefound, there is nothing even remotely fair about its process. USADA has broken thelaw, turned its back on its own rules, and stiff-armed those who have tried to persuadeUSADA to honor its obligations. At every turn, USADA has played the role of a bully,threatening everyone in its way and challenging the good faith of anyone who questionsits motives or its methods, all at U.S. taxpayers' expense. For the last two months,USADA has endlessly repeated the mantra that there should be a single set of rules,applicable to all, but they have arrogantly refused to practice what they preach. On topof all that, USADA has allegedly made deals with other riders that circumvent their ownrules as long as they said I cheated. Many of those riders continue to race today.
The bottom line is I played by the rules that were put in place by the UCI, WADA andUSADA when I raced. The idea that athletes can be convicted today without positive Aand B samples, under the same rules and procedures that apply to athletes withpositive tests, perverts the system and creates a process where any begrudged exteammatecan open a USADA case out of spite or for personal gain or a cheating cyclistcan cut a sweetheart deal for themselves. It's an unfair approach, applied selectively, inopposition to all the rules. It's just not right.
USADA cannot assert control of a professional international sport and attempt to stripmy seven Tour de France titles. I know who won those seven Tours, my teammatesknow who won those seven Tours, and everyone I competed against knows who wonthose seven Tours. We all raced together. For three weeks over the same roads, thesame mountains, and against all the weather and elements that we had to confront.There were no shortcuts, there was no special treatment. The same courses, the samerules. The toughest event in the world where the strongest man wins. Nobody can everchange that. Especially not Travis Tygart.
Today I turn the page. I will no longer address this issue, regardless of thecircumstances. I will commit myself to the work I began before ever winning a singleTour de France title: serving people and families affected by cancer, especially those inunderserved communities. This October, my Foundation will celebrate 15 years ofservice to cancer survivors and the milestone of raising nearly $500 million. We have alot of work to do and I'm looking forward to an end to this pointless distraction. I have aresponsibility to all those who have stepped forward to devote their time and energy tothe cancer cause. I will not stop fighting for that mission. Going forward, I am going todevote myself to raising my five beautiful (and energetic) kids, fighting cancer, andattempting to be the fittest 40-year old on the planet.