The Lance Armstrong Foundation has formally changed its name to the Livestrong Foundation. While the organisation has long been known unofficially as Livestrong, the name change reflects a further distancing by the charity from the man who founded it 15 years ago before going on to win the seven Tour de France titles he has now been stripped of for doping.
According to Reuters, paperwork to formalise the name change, which took effect on 30 October, was filed with the Texas Secretary of State.
Livestrong Foundation spokeswoman Katherine McLane told the news agency: "For most of its life, the organization has been known as the Livestrong Foundation, but making that change official is necessary and appropriate during a time of change for the organization."
In recent days, it had been confirmed that Armstrong, who stepped down as the foundation’s chairman on 17 October but planned to remain on its board, had also ceased being a director on 4 November.
The fact that the name change pre-dates his departure from the board and came just a fortnight after that statement that he was remaining as a director suggests that there may have been a fair amount of behind-the-scenes wrangling about what role if any he should play in the charity’s future as it sought to limit the damage in the wake of the US Postal scandal.
Certainly there was no hint when Armstrong spoke at a gala evening to celebrate the charity’s 15th birthday on 20 October that within a fortnight he would no longer be involved in its board meetings and that his name would be dropped, although what did change in the intervening time was that the UCI ratified USADA’s sanctions in full on 22 October.
In an email to Reuters yesterday, one of Livestrong’s board members, Mark McKinnon, commented: "All of us - especially Lance - wanted Livestrong to have a presence that was bigger than its founder.
"We knew that in order to make the most profound and lasting impact for cancer survivors, the cause and the organization had to have its own persona. That's exactly what Livestrong has become and Lance helped shape that effort.
"Lance doesn't want to be a distraction from the foundation's cause - serving cancer patients and survivors," he added.
"That's why he resigned from the foundation's board. In the spirit of that noble decision, the foundation has to make appropriate changes as well.
"At the moment, he feels it's better for the organization that he step away a bit," McKinnon said.
The charity’s website still says in the copyright notice at the bottom of the page that Livestrong is “a registered trademark of the Lance Armstrong Foundation,” and a press release issued yesterday acknowledges its creation “in 1997 by cancer survivor and philanthropist Lance Armstrong.”
The former mention of his having been a cyclist who won the Tour de France seven times is gone.
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.