Fallen Hero

HOW THE mighty have fallen.

Lance Armstrong, once the golden boy of competitive cycling, is now nothing but a poster boy for cheating and deceit.

Armstrong’s tumble of disgrace hit rock bottom this week. That came about when the sport’s governing body stripped the Texan of all seven Tour de France titles, cycling’s biggest prize.

It didn’t end there, as the International Cycling Union also banned him for life. The stern disciplinary edict was triggered by a U.S. Anti-Doping Agency report that accused Armstrong of leading a massive doping program on his teams.

The USADA findings were bolstered by testimony from several former teammates who competed alongside Armstrong as he won the sport’s most coveted title every year from 1999 to 2005. USADA said Armstrong should be banned and stripped of his Tour titles for “the most sophisticated, professionalized and successful doping program that sport has ever seen.”

All along, Armstrong has proclaimed his innocence. Those claims ring hollow now.

An unfortunate sidelight to Armstrong’s debacle is the fate of his Livestrong Foundation. The charity, which recently marked its 15th anniversary, was established after Armstrong’s courageous battle against testicular cancer.

Livestrong has raised an astounding $500 million in the fight against cancer. That remains a feather in Armstrong’s cap.

However, many lucrative sponsorships are now being terminated with Armstrong. The loss of such big-money deals have some concerned that Livestrong will be an innocent victim for Armstrong’s misdeeds.

To his credit, Armstrong has resigned as the foundation’s leader, which may prove the life preserver Livestrong needs.

We have nor remorse in regards to Armstrong’s loss of his racing titles, nor his cycling ban. We do, however, harbor hope that the Livestrong Foundation survives and thrives in his wake.