Armstrong scandal could see cycling dropped from Olympics

Wed Jan 16, 2013 4:02am IST

Lance Armstrong, founder of the LIVESTRONG foundation, takes part in a special session regarding cancer in the developing world during the Clinton Global Initiative in New York September 22, 2010. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson/Files

Lance Armstrong, founder of the LIVESTRONG foundation, takes part in a special session regarding cancer in the developing world during the Clinton Global Initiative in New York September 22, 2010.

Credit: Reuters/Lucas Jackson/Files

Related Topics

REUTERS - Cycling could be dumped from the Olympic programme if Lance Armstrong implicated the sport's governing body of covering up a widespread doping scheme, International Olympic Committee (IOC) member Dick Pound told Reuters on Tuesday.

Pound said the IOC might be left with no choice other than to take drastic action if Armstrong was able to prove the International Cycling Union (UCI) had acted improperly.

"We could say, 'look, you've clearly got a problem why don't we give you four years, eight years to sort it out," Pound said.

"And when you think you're ready come on back we'll see whether it would be a good idea to put you back on the program."

A former head of the World Anti-Doping Agency, Pound said it was clear the IOC needed to take matters into its own hands in the wake of the Lance Armstrong doping scandal.

"The only way it (cycling) is going to clean up is if all these people say 'hey, we're no longer in the Olympics and that's where we want to be so let's earn our way back into it,'" Pound said in a telephone interview.

"The IOC would have to deal with it, the (UCI) is not known for its strong actions to anti-doping.

"It was the same in weightlifting a few years ago, all of a sudden when you get right up against it things go fuzzy and they say, 'well, we can't punish innocent athletes in these sports by dropping the sport from the program.'"

Pound made his comments after talk show host Oprah Winfrey confirmed media reports that Armstrong admitted to using performance-enhancing drugs in an interview that was taped on Monday.

The full details will not be known until the interview is broadcast on Thursday and Friday although CBS reported that Armstrong indicated he might be willing to testify against others.

"You have to wait to see to what degree he has admitted, to what degree he is prepared to help," said Pound.

"Some of the press reports I've seen say he had a lot of help from high cycling officials and he is willing to tell all about that."

Pound helped start up WADA and headed up the IOC ethics committee that cleaned up the organization following the Salt Lake City Olympic corruption scandal.

But the Canadian lawyer said any possible changes to cycling's status were unlikely to happen until after the next IOC presidential election, in August this year.

"I don't think under the current administration, that has only a year left, that anything that drastic would happen but maybe under a new president would say 'alright, we've got this started now once and for all let's send out a message,'"

WADA, founded after the Festina doping affair in the 1998 Tour de France, has long been critical of the UCI's handling of doping in the sport with Pound routinely slamming cycling bosses.

Despite agreeing that Armstrong cheated his way to the top, USADA and the UCI have continued to trade thinly veiled insults.

UCI president Pat McQuaid said the U.S.Anti-Doping Agency, whose damning investigation led to Armstrong's downfall, should have handed over its dossier on the disgraced American to a neutral investigator and that anti-doping agencies needed to share the blame because their tests failed to catch him.

USADA responded by saying the UCI's banning of Armstrong was not the end of the problem because USADA's investigation showed that doping was rife in professional cycling.

In a recent interview on 60 Minutes Sports, USADA chief Travis Tygart said that the UCI had wrongfully accepted $100,000 gift from Armstrong.

"That (a possible cover-up) could be an even bigger story and that is still to come," said Pound.

"There will be a lot of people watching for that and if in fact there was assistance from the UCI and Lance describes it, that could be the real assistance he could give to the fight and result in a reduction of his life sentence (from competition)." (Reporting by Steve Keating; Editing by Julian Linden)

FILED UNDER:
Comments (0)
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

  • Most Popular
  • Most Shared

Jan Dhan Yojana

REUTERS SHOWCASE

Japan Trip

Japan Trip

Modi eyes breakthrough nuclear pact on Japan trip.  Full Article 

Chance For Reform

Chance For Reform

India's coal crunch - a chance to revamp, reallocate and revive.  Full Article 

E-Commerce

E-Commerce

Ratan Tata invests in online retailer Snapdeal.  Full Article 

Top Priority

Top Priority

Finance minister says food inflation is top priority.  Full Article 

Deal Talk

Deal Talk

Who wants to buy Snapchat? Microsoft, Google, Apple, Alibaba.  Video 

Fresh Funding

Fresh Funding

Tiger Global leads $65 million funding in Indian messaging app Hike.  Full Article 

GDP Preview

GDP Preview

Economy likely grew faster in June quarter: Reuters poll.  Full Article 

Safety Net

Safety Net

SEBI revamps trading safety-net rules.  Full Article 

Fraud Investigation

Fraud Investigation

IMF's Lagarde put under investigation in French fraud case.  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device.  Full Coverage