Lance Armstrong may be suspected, and in the minds of many, convicted of using performance enhancing drugs to win his multiple Tour De France titles. But his story of surviving cancer and his advocacy have made his legacy more complicated than that of your average athlete.
As a result of his doping allegations, now some wonder whether its appropriate to continue to wear the popular yellow Livestrong bracelet, which has sold more than 80 million worldwide. CNN reports that some are giving consideration to ditching the yellow wristband that were once a symbol of pride, solidarity and advocacy.
“Casting the doping allegations aside, Lance Armstrong did more good than bad, he changed a generation’s view on cancer,” Eric Liu tweeted, according to CNN.
That view was echoed by many others who long-suspected Armstrong of doping, but admired his battle with cancer and how he worked to erase the stigma associated with the disease. For some, though, Lance’s disgrace is too much.
“My heart is broken by this news. I never thought Lance was involved in doping, I thought he was above it, an honest man with integrity and honor,” Wendy Adams, who had worn a bracelet since her father was diagnosed with cancer in 2004, told CNN. He died in 2005. “Lance is Livestrong, he is the face of hope. And when that face is that of a liar, a manipulator, for me? I can’t wear it with pride anymore.”
The Chicago Tribune has another take from a wearer of the bracelet.
Jeremy Treister is a cyclist himself, is the same age as Armstrong, and suffered the same cancer as the former Tour De France star — testicular cancer. He isn’t sure how to react.
“I need to see how the world reacts,” he told the Tribune. “I don’t want to be a conversation piece everywhere I go.”
Just this week, Nike Inc., Trek Bicycles and Anheuser-Busch severed ties to Armstrong over the doping allegations, which the cyclist continues to deny.
While Armstrong’s legacy, and the future of Livestrong, which he stepped down from as chairman this week, remain uncertain, it does appear that the little yellow bracelets already intertwined with personal meaning to the millions who wear them aren’t going away any time soon.
Are you still wearing your Livestrong wristband?