New allegations from the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency threaten to strip sports hero Lance Armstrong of his seven Tour de France titles, and also bar him from competing in an upcoming Ironman triathalon. The USADA claims that the celebrated cyclist used "testosterone and blood-doping products" — charges that Armstrong vehemently denies, reminding the public that he has "passed more than 500 drug tests and never failed one." Doping allegations have dogged the cancer survivor since his first Tour win in 1999, though it looked like Armstrong was finally in the clear after federal prosecutors dropped a two-year criminal probe in February. But now that the Anti-Doping Agency has leveled yet another charge, fans who have long struggled to keep Armstrong on his pedestal may finally give up hope of his innocence. Can he emerge from this latest scandal unscathed?
He'll survive: It's "too late to completely tarnish Armstrong's image," says Fan IQ. He's eluded every investigation thus far with his reputation intact. His golden story is just too hard to ruin: Cancer survivor, activist, and perhaps the most well-known cyclist ever. Even if he's found guilty, Americans will stick by him. The narrative would just shift to an "us vs. them" argument between the U.S. and the rest of the world, where Armstrong is routinely heckled and doesn't carry the messianic status he does here in the states.
"Lance Armstrong is under the microscope once again, with more doping charges"
He'll be ruined — and that may be a good thing: Enough is enough, says Richard Poplak at The Daily Maverick. After dodging so many bullets, Armstrong is "going to be brought down." As a sports journalist, I've interviewed enough people to know "exactly what transpired in the hotel rooms" occupied by Armstrong's Tour de France teammates — and he's going to get nailed for it eventually. When that happens, cycling can finally move on to a new era as a clean sport. "Armstrong represents its dark past."
"Lance Armstrong 2.0 — the bullet dodger is once again on the block"
He'll be ruined — and cycling will be, too: If these accusations are true, it's not just Armstrong who's in trouble, says Tim Keeney at Bleacher Report. Cycling itself is doomed, too. Armstrong is "one of the greatest and most famous cyclists in the world." His conviction would kill the sport's credibility. "It would be like finding out Michael Jordan was paying the refs." Cycling's popularity is already plummeting, and would disappear entirely "if its biggest star turned out to be a cheater."
"What USADA charges mean for Lance Armstrong"
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- The mystery behind China's aggressive push into space
- Here's the schedule very successful people follow every day
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- 7 grammar rules you really should pay attention to
- As deadly skin cancer rates keep climbing, surgeon general says to stop tanning and wear sunscreen
- What religious traditionalists can teach us about sex
- The 5 best and worst states for a well-lived life
- Why Texas' abortion rates aren't falling as quickly as everyone expected
- 7 ideas from ancient thinkers that will improve your modern life
- The 6 best low-cost smartphones
Subscribe to the Week