Lance Armstrong

Lance Armstrong: Competitors know I won 7 Tour de France titles

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Lance Armstrong said that his competitors would agree with him that he’s a seven-time Tour de France champion, despite being stripped of those titles in 2012 due to doping.

In a Dan Patrick Show interview Tuesday, Armstrong was asked if he still considered himself a seven-time Tour winner as his Twitter bio says. The full interview is here.

“I know that’s a polarizing subject question, and it’s certainly polarizing for me to have that on there [the Twitter bio],” Armstrong said. “I think the 200 guys that took that start line, all of those seven years, I think if we went and asked those guys who won the races, they would tell you who won the races. I think it’s unfair, and it’s a real injustice to the sport and to the event to not have a winner. As unfortunate and as messy of a time as it was, it just was what it was. I’m terribly sorry for the people that are literally pissed off and disappointed by that, but I think my competitors would agree that I won those races. And I agree with them.”

Armstrong said last year that he still thought of himself as a Tour champion but respected that many would disagree with him.

“Whether we say that those happened or not, whether I won or not, that’s for others to decide,” Armstrong said Tuesday.

Officials did not elevate the 1999-through-2005 second- or third-place cyclists, many of whom also cheated, to Tour winners when Armstrong was stripped. In more recent cases in 2006 and 2010, the second-place rider was elevated when winners Floyd Landis and Alberto Contador were stripped.

In 2013, Armstrong’s biggest rival during his heyday, German Jan Ullrich, said he believed Armstrong should keep the seven titles because doping was so prevalent in that era.

“I am no better than Armstrong, but no worse either,” said Ullrich, who admitted in June 2013 to blood doping during a career that included second-place finishes behind Armstrong at the 2000, 2001 and 2003 Tours.

Also Tuesday, Armstrong said he believes a clean cyclist could over time be better than he was as a cheater and brought up another U.S. Olympian who took performance-enhancing drugs, sprinter Justin Gatlin.

“Could somebody be better than you without cheating?” Patrick asked.

“I suppose over time it will be, yeah,” Armstrong said. “But don’t we all evolve? Look at the case of Justin Gatlin. He’s tested positive two or three times. He’s now back on the track. He’s probably being tested 82 times a day. He has the fastest time in the world in the 100-meter dash this year. He’s the favorite for a gold medal. So, I don’t know. Did he just find a way to do it clean? Let’s hope so.

“I’m not trying to excuse what me or an entire generation did, but more and more, I think that’s pretty well-known. We came across an era where the PEDs that were available were so beneficial and so advantageous that if you didn’t gear up, it was going to be hard to stick around.

“When I flew over to Europe in the early ’90s, I thought, this is cool, I’m a tough kid from Plano, Texas. I’m going to work hard and kick these guys’ asses. Within a year or two, it did look different. I thought, OK, I’m not going home. I’m staying, and I’m fighting.”

Lance Armstrong on forgiveness: ‘We’re getting close to that time’

Sam Girard, Olympic short track champion, surprisingly retires at age 22

Sam Girard
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Sam Girard, who avoided a three-skater pileup to win the PyeongChang Olympic 1000m, retired from short track speed skating at age 22, saying he lost the desire to compete.

“I leave my sport satisfied with what I have accomplished,” Girard said in a press release. “This decision was very well thought through. I am at peace with the choice that I’ve made and am ready to move onto the next step.”

Girard and girlfriend and fellow Olympic skater Kasandra Bradette announced their careers end together in a tearful French-language press conference in Quebec on Friday.

Girard detailed the decision in a letter, the sacrifices made to pursue skating. Notably, moving from his hometown of Ferland-et-Boilleau, population 600, to Montreal in 2012. His hobbies had been of the outdoor variety, but he now had to drive an hour and a half from the training center just to go fishing.

In PyeongChang, Girard led for most of the 1000m final, which meant he avoided chaos behind him on the penultimate lap of the nine-lap race. Hungarian Liu Shaolin Sandor‘s inside pass took out South Koreans Lim Hyo-Jun and Seo Yi-Ra, leaving just Girard and American John-Henry Krueger.

Girard maintained his lead, crossing .214 in front of Krueger to claim the title. He also finished fourth in the 500m and 1500m and earned bronze in the relay.

“My first Olympics, won a gold medal, can’t ask for more,” he said afterward.

Though Girard was already accomplished — earning individual silver medals at the 2016 and 2017 Worlds — he came to PyeongChang as the heir apparent to Charles Hamelin, a roommate on the World Cup circuit whom Girard likened to a big brother. Girard earned another world silver medal this past season.

Hamelin, after taking individual gold in 2010 and 2014, left PyeongChang without an individual medal in what many expected to be his last Olympics. However, he went back on a retirement vow and continued to skate through the 2018-19 season.

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MORE: J.R. Celski explains decision to retire

Maia, Alex Shibutani extend break from ice dance competition

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Brother-sister ice dance duo Maia and Alex Shibutani will not compete next season, the Olympic bronze medalists announced via U.S. Figure Skating on Friday.

“We’re healthier and stronger than we were after the Olympics, and we’re continuing to push ourselves,” Maia Shibutani said in a press release.

“We’ve continued to skate a lot, and we feel like we’ve benefited from some time away to create in different environments and focus on experiences that can help us grow,” Alex said.

The “Shib Sibs” won the U.S. title in 2016 and 2017. They won their first world medal in 2011 (bronze) before reaching the world podium again in 2016 and 2017 with silver and bronze, respectively.

They most recently competed at the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics, where they earned bronze both individually and in the team event.

Maia and Alex Shibutani are now the second ice dance medalists from PyeongChang to announce they’ll sit out at least part of next season. Gold medalists Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir of Canada will tour instead this fall and are not expected to return to competition.

The siblings haven’t stayed away from the ice entirely in their break from the sport, though — they’ve also been touring and performing in shows.

The Shibutanis became the second set of siblings to earn Olympic ice dance medals after France’s Isabelle and Paul Duchesnay in 1992.

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