Wednesday, October 17, 2012

''LANCE ARMSTRONG MISLED US'' NIKE CUT TIES WITH EMBATTLED FORMER CYCLIS


US sportswear giant Nike have dumped Lance Armstrong after the doping scandal that has engulfed the company.

Nike terminated their sponsorship agreement with Armstrong 'due to the insurmountable evidence' he 'participated in doping and misled Nike for more than a decade'.

Nike had initially stood by by the seven-time Tour De France winner despite his role as ringleader in 'the most sophisticated, professionalised and successful doping programme sport has ever seen'.
But they were forced to cut their ties with Armstrong after it became clear he had 'misled them for more than a decade'.

 The decisions come a week after the United States Anti-Doping Agency released a report containing accusations of widespread doping by Armstrong and his teams.

It contains sworn statements from 26 witnesses, including 11 former team-mates.

USADA ordered 14 years of Armstrong's career results, including his seven Tour de France titles, to be erased. The former cyclist has always denied doping, but gave up his fight against the charges in August.

Nike, which added that it was "misled" by the American for more than a decade, made a U-turn on a statement released last week  when it said it would "continue to support Lance and the Lance Armstrong Foundation". Nike and Armstrong had been in partnership since 1996

A Nike statement said: 'Due to the seemingly insurmountable evidence that Lance Armstrong participated in doping and misled Nike for more than a decade, it is with great sadness that we have terminated our contract with him.
'Nike does not condone the use of illegal performance enhancing drugs in any manner. 

Forty one years old, Armstrong has also stepped down as chairman of his charity Livestrong. 

Armstrong, who was not paid a salary as chairman of the Lance Armstrong Foundation, will remain on its 15-member board. His duties leading the board will be turned over to vice chairman Jeff Garvey, who was founding chairman in 1997.
 
Nike plans to continue support of the Livestrong initiatives created to unite, inspire and empower people affected by cancer.'

Armstrong has been a face of Nike since 1996 and was instrumental in the US sportswear company’s expansion into cycling. He has appeared in multiple campaigns for the brand including a 2001 advertisement featuring footage of Armstrong having blood drawn for a drug test and challenging those who accused him of doping.

The 30-second ad featured Mr Armstrong saying, “Everybody wants to know what I’m on. What am I on? I’m on my bike, busting my ass six hours a day. What are you on?” he says.

Together with Nike, the Livestrong Foundation raised more than £49.5m million through the sale of yellow Livestrong wristbands since May 2004. The company also has a healthy line of Livestrong-branded products, including shoes and T-shirts.

There were still nearly 100 Livestrong items available for purchase on Nike's website on Wednesday morning and it is not clear whether the company will stop producing the gear or pull it from shelves.

Nike's announcement came minutes after Armstrong revealed he was stepping down as chairman of his Lance Armstrong Foundation, which has raised £297m million since its inception in 1997.





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