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Lance Armstrong, through winning seven Tour de France titles, brought the sport of cycling into the eyes of thousands of fans. When Armstrong battled and overcame testicular cancer, forming the Livestrong Foundation, he won the hearts of many. Throughout his career he denied doping accusations, and fought back against anyone who began the rumors. In a January 2013 interview with Oprah Winfrey, Lance Armstrong finally admitted to doping during his cycling tours. He is now being attacked on all sides – from other cyclists, fans, family and the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA). But Armstrong is facing another round of attacks, this time from readers.
Rob Stutzman, aide to former governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, along with chef and amateur cyclist Jonathon Wheeler feel betrayed by the portrayal of Armstrong as an inspirational figure after he admitted to lying on Oprah’s show. The two books, It’s Not About the Bike and Every Second Counts, published by Penguin and Random House, were labeled as “true memoirs” of Armstrong’s battle with cancer as he won seven Tour de France titles. Readers claim they were misled and would not have bought the books.
According to the Daily News, the suit says “Plaintiffs and class members would not have purchased the books had they known the true facts concerning Armstrong’s misconduct and his admitted involvement in a sports doping scandal that has to his recent and ignominious public exposure and fall from glory.” It also “includes long passages from the books in which Armstrong denies doping or claims his athletic accomplishments were achieved without the use of performance-enhancing drugs.”
Stutzman, who says he is not normally a reader, even recommended the book to friends who were battling cancer. When he had the chance once to meet with Armstrong and thank him for the inspirational books, Armstrong merely thanked him.
The case is being filed in Sacramento federal court. While it is not clear how much the defendants are suing for, it will be more than the price of the book. Penguin believes the case should simply be dismissed.
This suit is only the tip of the iceberg for Lance Armstrong as more people and organizations claim they were cheated by the cyclist. Some papers, like the Sunday Times of London, plan to sue for the money lost in libel cases that Armstrong brought to them for publishing an article about Armstrong’s doping allegations, which he vehemently denied at the time. Former teammate and close friend of Armstrong’s, Floyd Landis, filed a whistle-blower lawsuit claiming that accepting the $30 million from the U.S. Postal Service as a sponsorship was fraud because the team was fueled illegal methods.
Lance Armstrong had admitted doping with the hope of resuming his cycling career once more. According to the New York Times, “Armstrong has hopes of competing in triathlons and running events, but those competitions are often sanctioned by organizations that adhere to the World Anti-Doping Code, under which Armstrong received his lifetime ban.”
Oprah Winfrey believes that this is not the end for Armstrong. “If he is willing to do the work … he can be a real hero” she told USA Today. “Everybody has the ability within them to rise again. What really matters in the world is what kind of human being he chooses to be.” As more people react to the truth about their fallen idol, fans can only hope that he can redeem his name.
Image Courtesy : jdegenhardt