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May 23rd, 2010
01:51 PM ET

Lance Armstrong: Debate Over Whether He's More Like Bono or Tiger Woods

Rick Horrow joins CNN's Don Lemon on Newsroom Sunday.

From Sports Business Analyst Rick Horrow:

Strong Accusations

Once again, the cycling world was rolled this week by former Tour de France winner Floyd Landis’ doping confessions and allegations that seven-time Tour winner Lance Armstrong and other prominent cyclists also took banned performance-enhancing drugs.  While Armstrong is now busy disparaging the charges and claiming that Landis has had a vendetta against him for years, if the allegations are eventually proven to be true, and if Tiger Woods’ all-too-similar fall from grace serves as a potholed roadmap, Armstrong’s Livestrong Foundation and the thousands of cancer victims it aids each year could suffer more collateral damage than the wreck that caused Armstrong to pull out of the Tour of California on Thursday. 

After Armstrong was diagnosed with testicular cancer in 1996, beat it, came back to win the Tour de France in 1999-2005, and launched the Livestrong Foundation that begat millions of rubber wristbands and $325 million and counting toward the fight against cancer (according to the Livestrong website), he was hailed as a classic role model akin to U2’s Bono, one of the true good guys who rose above his chosen niche and celebrity lifestyle to positively impact millions of other people around the world. 

But like Woods, there have been hints along the road that with Armstrong all was not exactly what it seemed.  Although unproven, doping allegations have hung around Armstrong for years – even American cycling legend Greg Lemond, the Cal Ripken of the sport, has seemed to suggest that Armstrong might have been using due to the controversial medical staff he employed.  And like Woods, Armstrong’s marital life hasn’t exactly been Ozzie and Harriet.  The cyclist left his wife Kristin, with whom he has three children, for singer Sheryl Crow, and has since fathered two more children with other girlfriends.

Woods has recently been linked to shady Canadian physician Dr. Anthony Galea, accused of bringing HGH into this country to illegally treat American athletes.  And enduring significant collateral damage from the golfer’s multi-mistress scandal is his Tiger Woods Foundation, which has benefited more than 10 million youths since its 1996 inception (according to the Foundation website) through grant programs supporting 100 charities annually, the Earl D. Woods scholarship fund which has handed out over $2 million in total, in $5,000 increments, and major annual fundraising events.

The Foundation’s Chevron World Challenge in December was without its host and major draw – and saw a sharp decline in ticket sales and corporate support as a result.  This year’s Tiger Jam at Las Vegas’ Mandalay Bay, normally held right around now, was summarily canceled in December – the last thing Woods’ image shapers want is him showing up at a sexy party in Vegas.  (The 2009 event raised more than $1 million.)  Woods’ glitzy October Block Party event in Los Angeles is also in question – ironically, Armstrong’s ex-girlfriend Crow was last year’s headliner.  And while he has committed to play in a major Tiger Woods Foundation fundraiser, the AT&T National golf tournament beginning July 1, the telecomm giant dropped Woods as a sponsor in January and ousted the golfer from his role as host of the annual event.

These days, the athletes’ families, the millions who benefit from their foundations, fans of their respective sports, and the media are getting really weary of sitting around waiting for the other cleat to drop. 

Rick Horrow is the CNN Sports Business Analyst and co-author of Beyond the Box Score: An Insider’s Guide to the $750 Billion Business of Sports




Filed under: CNN Newsroom • Don Lemon
soundoff (6 Responses)
  1. Michael Armstrong Sr.

    Hes more like a bone head he needs to put his training wheels back on his bike or retire .

    May 23, 2010 at 1:54 pm |
  2. Larry

    I can honestly say that you need to be amongst the Floyd Landis' of the world. You are making Lance guilty for no other reason that it makes you feel good because you "think" you have a story. Have you been married? Have you ever looked at another woman in a sexual tone? That is considered the same as Adultry. Don't be all assuming with Lance. Have you ever been No. 1 in the world at anything? Don't you believe, and I said believe, that if Lance was doping someone would have come forth in the last ten years? And no they haven't. Don't you believe it is hard work and discipline? When have you weighed your food for at least three strait days? It is the precise determination and purpose that helps him win. That being said, you wouldn't have a story. All of you journalists want to write about the drama as opposed to the hard work and sucess. Shame on you.

    May 23, 2010 at 3:09 pm |
  3. MR.AL

    I lost all respect for Armstrong after he dumped his wife then dumped Sheryl Crow. Both Armstrong And Woods are sports stars and like the rich and famous the wealthy, corperate america and Lawmakers there seems to be a different system for them than it is for every outher American. They think if they say I'm Sorry that makes it all better!!.

    May 24, 2010 at 11:55 pm |
  4. MacIntact

    He is his own man, he has great presents , power, and drive. So do they all in there own. Your great Mr. Armstrong

    May 25, 2010 at 11:56 am |
  5. Shadowman_30

    I need for someone to do some research before they put out information that missleads the world and the leader of the so called free world. The current situation in Jamaica has left 45 dead innocent poeple that had no ties to Coke. So is it ok that these people are dead because of the hidden political agenda. His father is who use to run the shower posse, he died in a jail cell in Jamaica. This is nothing but a ruse to kill innocent people in that community. He owns majority of the businesses and real estate in the capitol this is what they are fighting for, how can the US sanction this. We are talking about sending corrupt police and soldiers into an area that they have been dying to go into and kill whom ever and what ever they see moving just because they can. I am 32 and this has been going on since I was 3. The police and soldier department is made of 90% PNP this is the opposition to the JLP party that is now in power and they are killing the innocent that merely live there because they have no where else to go. Why punish them for only one man who takes root in that community. They have not shot one bad guy nor have found them, they have cut off all power and light to the community and are still shooting the innocent. Is this why I voted for President Obama? The cause does not justify the means and someone needs to get the complete story out. Yes he is one of the bad guys but there were worst than him who gave nothing back and killed in the name of reputation. This is so wrong on many levels, I have to hear the grief of the innocent victims family members who never fired a gun. The poor always suffer at the hands of the rich, but in this case they are dying and no one cares.

    May 26, 2010 at 11:47 am |
  6. Rita Keays

    Like many politicians lives in the United States – It doesn't matter
    what one does in his bedroom. The fact is that Lance is a great
    cyclist and I think you should be recognized as such.

    If his dirty laundry offends you then you should try covering another
    venue. The man is talented, vivacious and oviously loves to live.
    And personally I think he is a hunk (besides the point)

    I kinda think its also sad that things didn't work out with Crow because
    I think they made a fabulous couple.
    C'est la vie.
    Viva le France.
    Good Luck Lance.

    May 26, 2010 at 5:16 pm |