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Is Lance Armstrong Guilty or Just Exhausted?

The 7-time Tour de France champion and cancer survivor decides against entering the arbitration process with the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, effectively ending his defense against charges he used drugs during his unprecedented cycling dominance.

Depending on who you believe, Lance Armstrong, one of the greatest endurance athletes of all time, either admitted Thursday that he used banned substances during his historic seven-year reign as Tour de France champion or simply grew tired of defending himself against charges he's faced for more than a decade.

Either way, the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency said Thursday that it will strip Armstrong of his seven Tour titles after he said he wouldn't seek arbitration with the agency over the case, a move that would have been his final chance in staving off a lifetime ban and being stripped of his titles, according to the Associated Press.

Travis Tygart, USADA's chief executive, said Armstrong's decision should be interpreted as an admission of guilt.

"It is a sad day for all of us who love sport and athletes," Tygart told the AP. "It's a heartbreaking example of win at all costs overtaking the fair and safe option. There's no success in cheating to win."

But Armstrong has issued a lengthy statement that admitted nothing and said he was simply done fighting what he called an "unconstitutional witch hunt." He has consistently pointed to the hundreds of drug tests that he has passed as proof of his innocence during his 7-year run from 1999 to 2005 as Tour de France champion.

"There comes a point in every man's life when he has to say, 'Enough is enough.' For me, that time is now," Armstrong said in a statement posted on his website. "I have been dealing with claims that I cheated and had an unfair advantage in winning my seven Tours since 1999. The toll this has taken on my family and my work for our foundation and on me leads me to where I am today -- finished with this nonsense."

So who do you believe? Is Lance effectively admitting his guilt, or do you buy his claim that he's simply done fighting this battle and wants to focus on his work with his Livestrong Foundation?

Take the poll below and tell us in the Comments why you voted the way you did.

Karl McDonnell August 24, 2012 at 08:06 AM
He is guilty only of doing exactly what all of his competitors were doing - He was just better on dope than they were. Karl Ireland
Greg Fuller August 24, 2012 at 03:44 PM
Once, twice -- maybe you could get an advantage by doping. But SEVEN WINS? This guy is clearly a superior athlete -- with or without drugs. And consider equal opportunity -- if drugs were that rampant, at least some of his competitors probably used them -- and still didn't beat him. This is a professional sport. The problem with drugs is that they are dangerous -- and an athlete shouldn't take, or have to take, them in order to win. If they were not dangerous to the athletes health -- then how would they be different from, say, a more technologically advanced bike frame? I don't think he was doping -- but even if he was, probability is very high his close competitors were doing the same. So one way or the other, it was likely a level playing field. Give it up -- let him keep his awards, and enjoy his retirement along with the good things done by his foundation -- which will likely be adversely affected by these proceedings.
Matt August 24, 2012 at 05:59 PM
First off, we cannot ignore that his response has been consistently that he "passed the drug tests" not that he unequivocally did not use drugs. Secondly, he ha demonstrated, through bending the rules on text messaging with teammates (within the letter but not spirit of the rules) that he felt bound to not technically break the rules, but did not feel bound to any ethical standard. Lastly, and most importantly, doping is not just matter among adult competitors, I.e. they are pros and they are all doing it. The standards set by the top athletes drive behavior among young, developing participants, compromising the health and safety of our youth. High school football players and cyclists have turned to the chemical advantage because they see it as necessary and expected, compromising their health, fertility, and healthy lifespan. There must be zero tolerance, not just "I passed te drug tests" if we are to take our role as reaponsible adults and parents. He is clearly a great athlete, but by doping, great athletes set a standard that compromises sport and harms our youth. No more equivocations, Lance. Clear the stage for clean sport.

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