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Lance Armstrong has been stripped of his seven Tour de France titles and the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) has banned him for life from cycling.
The agency's action came one day after the 40-year-old cyclist and cancer survivor decided not to fight the doping charges, calling the lastest USADA investigation an "unconstitutional witch hunt."
This whole story feels confusing. I'm having trouble understanding why the burden of responsibility is on Armstrong to prove his innocence. Shouldn't the USADA have to prove his guilt before taking away his titles?
"Any time we have overwhelming proof of doping, our mandate is to initiate the case through the process and see it to conclusion as was done in this case," said USADA CEO Travis Tygart said in a press release.
But Armstrong has never tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs (at least according to several news articles I found on the subject). If that's true, how could there be "overwhelming proof" against him?
“If I thought for one moment that by participating in USADA’s process I could confront these allegations in a fair setting and -- once and for all -- put these charges to rest, I would jump at the chance,” Armstrong said in a statement. “But I refuse to participate in a process that is so one-sided and unfair.”
Another thing I don't understand: Why does the USADA - which is described as the anti-doping organization for U.S. Olympic sports - have the authority to invalidate the results of an international competition? Shouldn't there be an independent committee or some such group that decides that type of thing?
So many questions. As for the man who showed us how to live strong - he's finished fighting.
"I know who won those seven Tours," Armstrong said. "The toughest event in the world where the strongest man wins. Nobody can ever change that. Especially Travis Tygart."