Lance Armstrong has resigned as chairman of Livestrong, the cancer charity he founded, just as Nike said that it was terminating its contract with him over allegations that his cycling victories were fuelled by doping.
Armstrong announced his decision in a statement Wednesday morning:
"This organization, its mission and its supporters are incredibly dear to my heart. Today therefore, to spare the foundation any negative effects as a result of controversy surrounding my cycling career, I will conclude my chairmanship."
According to the Associated Press, Armstrong will remain on the board of Livestrong, which will now be led by vice chairman Jeff Garvey. Garvey will also take over some of Armstrong's public appearances, though Armstrong said he intended to remain an "active advocat[e] for cancer survivors."
In a separate statement, Nike said that it was ending its sponsorship deal with the cyclist due to "the seemingly insurmountable evidence that Lance Armstrong participated in doping and misled Nike for more than a decade."
The company said it would continue to support Livestrong, also known as the Lance Armstrong Foundation.
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Armstrong is only the second athlete ever to be dropped by Nike, according to ESPN. The sportswear giant has endorsed him since 1996 and sells a wide range of Livestrong-branded merchandise, including its iconic yellow wristbands.
Armstrong founded the charity in 1997 after surviving testicular cancer. He has continued to represent it even after the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) banned him from cycling in August.
As GlobalPost reported then, the announcement prompted an immediate spike in donations to Livestrong. Many cancer survivors hail him as an inspiration despite the allegations.
Based on testimony from 11 former teammates, the USADA has accused Armstrong's US Postal Service cycling team of running "the most sophisticated, professionalized and successful doping program that sport has ever seen."
The former champion has been stripped of his titles—including seven Tour de France victories—and banned from competition for life.
He denies participating in doping, but has abandoned efforts to fight the allegations in court after losing his first attempt.
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