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'Tough' week comes to a close for Lance Armstrong

October 20, 2012|By Dan Loumena
  • Lance Armstrong addresses the crowd at Livestrong's 15th anniversary celebration Friday in Austin, Texas.
Lance Armstrong addresses the crowd at Livestrong's 15th anniversary… (Livestrong )

Lance Armstrong made the understatement of the month when he said it's been a "difficult couple of weeks" during a speech at the 15th anniversary celebration of Livestrong, the cancer-fighting charity he started.

"I am … truly humbled by your support," said the seven-time Tour de France champion in his hometown of Austin, Texas, before a crowd of 1,700. "It's been an interesting couple of weeks. It's been a difficult couple of weeks for me and my family, my friends and this foundation."

Armstrong said that when people ask how he's doing, he replies, "I've been better, but I've also been worse."

Armstrong has been banned from cycling by the U.S. Anti-Doping Assn., which recently released a report that details incidents of performance-enhancing drug use by the American, who has arduously denied the accusations and has never triggered a positive test during his career.

The sport's governing body, the International Cycling Union, will decide next week if it will accept the report and the USADA's harsh penalties or appeal on behalf of Armstrong, who last month said he would no longer fight the doping accusations.

Livestrong, which became part of the global consciousness for the yellow bracelets that became popular in 2004, has raised more than $500 million for cancer research, awareness and support for patients and their families.

"The mission is bigger than me. It's bigger than any individual," Armstrong said.

Despite the USADA report and his potential exit from the cycling record books, Armstrong still has plenty of supporters despite the fact that Nike and Anheuser-Busch have dropped him as an endorser.

"Obviously, some things have a left a little scar, but people think it's still important to come out and support Livestrong," Royals pitcher Jeremy Guthrie said.

The anniversary celebration on Friday was expected to raise about $2.5 million and included a silent auction and appearances from Sean Penn and Norah Jones.

"There's 28 million people around the world living with this disease," Armstrong said. "Thank you for your support."

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