Lance Armstrong used performance enhancing drugs and hid that fact from authorities (find the report here). He won seven Tour de France races that way. The Tour de France is arguably the most important athletic event in France. Stripped of his titles, Armstrong no longer represents the paragon of American sport, but possibly the best of the worst — the one who was found out.
Its an embarrassment for the country but more importantly, it is an embarrassment for the sport. Its so bad, that not only are sponsors leaving Armstrong and his foundation, but they are also abandoning the sport, generally.
Here is an excellent article from a true Lance Armstrong fan who makes no apologies and draws no conclusions. But his tone demonstrates his extreme disappointment:
We live in a different age, one that may not allow the forgiveness of Lance Armstrong, that may hold him to be the creator rather than the product of the era he reigned over. We might even judge this champion’s cheating and lying too vile to permit the remembrance of the part of him that, even now, convinced that he doped to win the Tour, I can’t stop being a fan of: the plain fact that he was, as even his bitter enemy Floyd Landis told me when we spoke last year, “a badass on a bike.”
I’ve never been a fan of professional athletics. I think the pros get paid way too much in proportion to their contribution. But I am a cyclist and this is my sport. I want to encourage others to participate — cycling is a great way for people of all fitness levels to get in shape. I want those people to know they can ride a bicycle without doping. I don’t want kids risking their health to emulate the great riders.