Lance Armstrong breaks silence after his "difficult couple of weeks" (+ video)

... but he doesn't mention what those difficulties are

by Simon_MacMichael   October 20, 2012  

Lance Armstrong Livestrong speech You Tube still

Lance Armstrong has made his first public speech since the United States Anti-Doping Agency published damning evidence of the extent of the doping that brought him seven Tour de France titles. Speaking at an event in Austin marking the 15th anniversary of his Livestrong charity, the 41-year-old made only passing reference to “a difficult couple of weeks.”

Some had wondered whether Armstrong might use the occasion to make an admission of doping. News earlier in the day that the giant Big Tex statue that for 60 years has welcomed visitors to the Texas State Fair in Dallas had gone up in flames seemed to serve as a portent, as did the fact that the yellow – not red – carpet that greeted visitors to Livestrong’s birthday bash became strewn with broken glass as guests brushed past tall flower vases, causing them to topple over and shatter.

Armstrong, a man who doesn’t have a reputation of treading lightly, didn’t need to on this occasion – he was whisked round to the rear entrance, away from the glare of the cameras, and the media would likewise be excluded from his speech.

Those hoping for an admission would be disappointed. It may come one day, but following a week in which he had stepped down as chairman of his charity and sponsors such as Nike had withdrawn their backing but reaffirmed their commitment to Livestrong, it was unlikely he was going to allow his own troubles to overshadow the celebration of its work.

Still, it was a different Armstrong to the one seen in public of late. After USADA announced in August that it had banned him for life and stripped him of results dating back to 1998, he had introduced himself to a conference on cancer in Montreal with the words: “I won the Tour de France seven times.”

There was no such bullishness, no reference to cycling last night – although it’s likely there will be tomorrow, when he is expected to address 4,000 cyclists taking part in a Livestrong charity ride around Austin.

Instead, flanked by Livestrong staff, he told an audience including celebrity supporters Robin Williams, Ben Stiller, Sean Penn and Norah Jones, “It’s been an interesting couple of weeks. It’s been a difficult couple of weeks, for me, for my family, for my friends, for this foundation.

“I get asked a lot, people say, ‘Man, how are you doing?’ and I say this every time, and I mean it. I say, ‘I’ve been better… but I’ve also been worse.’”

He moved immediately on to relating how the idea for what would become the Lance Armstrong Foundation, now better known as Livestrong, started with a meal with friends at a local Tex-Mex restaurant in Austin after he had been diagnosed with cancer, and spoke about how it had developed over the years.

Towards the end of his speech, Armstrong said: “This mission is bigger than me. It’s bigger than any individual. There’s 28 million people living in the world with this disease. Martin Luther King said once: ‘We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.’ This team behind me on this stage has infinite hope. The people in this room have infinite hope, and the people who we serve, literally whoever needs to be served, whoever we can serve, need infinite hope. The mission absolutely must go on."

He concluded: “We will not be deterred, we will continue to go forward, and we will continue to serve the 28 million people around the world that need us the most.”

That figure of 28 million people has been referenced by Armstrong before, including in the closing stage of what would prove to be his final Tour de France when the start was delayed as his RadioShack team were forced to change out of a one-off kit they wanted to wear for the day that bore the number 28.

The delay while riders changed jerseys and struggled with safety pins gave the kind of worldwide television exposure that cynics might say would be beyond any charity’s advertising budget.

It would leave a bitter aftertaste to Armstrong’s final participation in the race he once dominated – and one from which his name is likely to be erased from the record books should the UCI ratify the United States Anti Doping Agency’s decision on Monday.

17 user comments

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Looks a posh do. Wonder how much it cost to put on and how much cancer patients got out of it?

posted by Some Fella [707 posts]
20th October 2012 - 16:56

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He is a bad bad man.

posted by Some Fella [707 posts]
20th October 2012 - 16:57

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Cheating c@nt!

Argy's picture

posted by Argy [147 posts]
20th October 2012 - 18:03

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well if its anything like the 'ride with lance' ride that was organised where each rider paid $35'000 dollars to ride and they only got receipts for $25'000 with him pocketing the rest, you have to assume a similar rate

@argy those words are far to kind,

posted by russyparkin [575 posts]
20th October 2012 - 19:02

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Some Fella wrote:
Looks a posh do. Wonder how much it cost to put on and how much cancer patients got out of it?

I Guess your Right Being seen to do Good is 1! thing,,
bet Ticket's weren't $9.99 a throw!!! Thinking

Alex7

Baldy1alex's picture

posted by Baldy1alex [42 posts]
20th October 2012 - 19:07

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Argy wrote:
Cheating c@nt!

You don't waste words do you!

posted by SideBurn [763 posts]
20th October 2012 - 19:10

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Lance is like the Tories, going through tough times,both of their own making. I wish Lance well but not the Tories!

posted by onlyonediane [159 posts]
20th October 2012 - 20:01

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Ha! See, it's the opposite for me. I have no love forthr Tories but at least they are trying to do something about a bad situation, and they do have *something* to offer. They're clueless, rather than evil.

posted by andyp [783 posts]
20th October 2012 - 20:25

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I feel sorry for him,his armegeddon with more to come I suspect,. Court cases etc. However if a book was written or ghosted by him and the proceeds were used constructively to prevent the next generation doping. That would be a good way of saying sorry for fooling us for so long.

posted by onlyonediane [159 posts]
20th October 2012 - 21:07

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andyp wrote:
…rather than evil.

I beg to differ, but this is a cycling site, and I've just poured a nice glass of Malbec, so I'm not going to go there.

posted by ped [158 posts]
20th October 2012 - 21:10

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Nice to see Ben Stiller was there. I remember LA played a cameo in the film "Dodgeball" where Ben played a bullying athlete, financially ruined in the last reel. Life imitating art, perhaps? ("My milkshake brings all the boys to the yard... I won those TdF's. F**kin' Travis Tygart"...)

posted by The Rumpo Kid [590 posts]
20th October 2012 - 21:42

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Reports say that it was $1,000 per plate to sit and listen to that cheat.

pedalpowerDC's picture

posted by pedalpowerDC [196 posts]
21st October 2012 - 4:49

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There's a certain irony in a charity which wants to save lives being fronted by a man who was key in perpetuating a system which put lives at risk.

Cheers M
_______________________________________________________
“Racing Is Life. Anything That Happens Before or After is Just Waiting.”

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posted by Morpheus00 [41 posts]
21st October 2012 - 8:30

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$1000 a plate? You would have to be politically naieve, fiercely loyal or just moronically stupid to attend such a function.It is like putting a fox in charge of the hen coop. Wave

posted by Seoige [104 posts]
21st October 2012 - 12:36

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"Looks a posh do. Wonder how much it cost to put on and how much cancer patients got out of it? "

All charities need marketing budgets.. sad fact.

posted by james-o [188 posts]
21st October 2012 - 19:20

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Personally i like the idea of someone using their position to raise money for charity.

What i dont like is someone lying about their position in the first place.

If Stiller et al want to hand over 1k to attend let them, at least some of the money will go to charity, better that than none at all. Thinking

If you must break the law, do it to seize power: in all other cases observe it. Gaius Julius Caesar.

stumps's picture

posted by stumps [2642 posts]
21st October 2012 - 19:25

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Better still though give the money directly to a charity rather have a cut of it handed over to someone "behind the scenes".

If you must break the law, do it to seize power: in all other cases observe it. Gaius Julius Caesar.

stumps's picture

posted by stumps [2642 posts]
21st October 2012 - 20:05

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