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Armstrong stepping down as Livestrong chairman

Armstrong stepping down as Livestrong chairman

By The Associated Press. CREATED Oct 17, 2012

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) -- Lance Armstrong stepped down as chairman of his Livestrong cancer-fighting charity and Nike severed ties with him as fallout from the doping scandal swirling around the famed cyclist escalated Wednesday.

Armstrong announced his move at the charity in an early-morning statement. Within minutes, Nike said that it would end its relationship with him "due to the seemingly insurmountable evidence that Lance Armstrong participated in doping and misled Nike for more than a decade."

Nike said it will continue to support Livestrong.

TMZ now reports that the bike helmet company that crafted Lance Armstrong's $15,000 helmet for the 2010 Tour de France -- and launched a full line of Lance Armstrong helmets -- has dropped the Armstrong in the wake of the doping scandal.

The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency released a massive report last week detailing allegations of widespread doping by Armstrong and his teams when he won the Tour de France seven consecutive times from 1999 to 2005.

The document's purpose was to show why USADA has banned him from cycling for life and ordered 14 years of his career results erased -- including those Tour titles. It contains sworn statements from 26 witnesses, including 11 former teammates.

Armstrong, who was not paid a salary as chairman of the Lance Armstrong Foundation, will remain on its 15-member board. His duties leading the board will be turned over to vice chairman Jeff Garvey, who was founding chairman in 1997.

"This organization, its mission and its supporters are incredibly dear to my heart," Armstrong said in a statement. "Today therefore, to spare the foundation any negative effects as a result of controversy surrounding my cycling career, I will conclude my chairmanship."

Foundation spokeswoman Katherine McLane said the decision turns over the foundation's big-picture strategic planning to Garvey. He will also assume some of the public appearances and meetings that Armstrong used to handle.

Kelley O'Keefe, professor of brand strategy at Virginia Commonwealth University, said the charity already may be permanently damaged and that Armstrong may never be able to fully resume his public role.