Lance Armstrong, who was stripped of his seven Tour de France cycling titles and barred for life from competing in Olympic sports, is considering confessing to the use of performance-enhancing drugs to restore his competitive eligibility, the New York Times reported.
Armstrong, 41, is talking to associates and antidoping officials about a public admission, the Times said, citing people with knowledge of his discussions.
He was banned for life from competing in sanctioned events by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, which cited a career “fueled from start to finish by doping” when it released a 202-page summary of its investigation into the rider and the U.S. Postal Service cycling team on Oct. 10.
Armstrong, who has denied using performance-enhancing drugs and blood infusions to further his cycling career, lost his titles on Aug. 23 after he declined to take the USADA case to arbitration.
Tim Herman, Armstrong’s attorney, said he didn’t have knowledge of Armstrong’s decision to admit to doping, according to the New York Times. Herman didn’t respond to a request for comment by e-mail last night.
Armstrong has been in discussions with the USADA Chief Executive Travis Tygart as he tries to get the lifetime ban reduced, the Times said, citing a person familiar with the situation. Herman denied his client was talking to Tygart, according to the newspaper.
According to the World Anti-Doping Code, an athlete may be eligible for a reduced punishment if he confesses and details his doping. He also must say who helped him and how he got away with doping.
Besides losing his spot in athletic events, Armstrong also was dropped by several sponsors and stepped down as chairman of Livestrong, the cancer foundation he founded.
Nike Inc. (NKE:US) pulled its support for Armstrong one week after the USADA report on his use of performance-enhancing substances.
A week later, Oakley Inc. severed its “long-standing relationship” with Armstrong to become the last big company to fall in the cyclist’s sponsor lineup. Anheuser-Busch InBev, Trek bicycles, and energy supplement makers FRS and Honey Stinger also dropped the athlete.
Burns Entertainment Sports Marketing, which tracks endorsement income for U.S. celebrities, estimated that Armstrong made $15 million to $18 million from endorsements in 2011, with $8 million to $12 million coming from Nike.
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