By Jenn Bernstein
WARRINGTON, Pa. — Lance Armstrong was looked at as an inspiration to many, and the demise of his athletic career and his decision to step down as chairman of Livestrong is generating a lot of discussion and opinions.
On Wednesday, Armstrong said “…to spare the foundation any negative effects as a result of controversy surrounding my cycling career, I will conclude my chairmanship,” according to the Livestrong website.
Shortly thereafter, Nike also announced it was ending its longtime relationship with the athlete, saying in a statement, “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.”
The developments come one week after a damaging report detailed alleged performance enhancing drug use by Armstrong.
Eyewitness News caught up with several members of the Bicycle Club of Philadelphia in Warrington while they stopped for lunch during a 58 mile ride Wednesday.
“It’s sad,” said cyclist Lou Delquadro. “I mean, it was a great American success story, Lance Armstrong coming back from cancer and doing he did.”
For the last seven years, Livestrong Challenge Philly has brought thousands of walkers, runners, and cyclists together in Blue Bell. This past August, $1.7 million was raised for cancer research.
Cyclist Skip Smith has ridden in the event before. He says, “Lance Armstrong represented a lot to a lot of people, he brought a lot of people into cycling, and also brought a lot of people into various fitness programs, and called a lot of attention to cancer research. It brought a lot of people together. It’s sad.”
While many are disappointed, these cyclists hope the entire ordeal doesn’t undermine the charity’s mission.
“We’ve always been impressed with the foundation,” said Club President Howard Hochheiser. “Hopefully, the foundation is able to survive through this.”