Brian Cookson

Lance Armstrong

UCI boss has ‘no remit to reduce’ Lance Armstrong’s lifetime ban

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Lance Armstrong‘s cooperation with an independent reform commission’s probe into cycling’s doping culture has not helped his case to have his lifetime ban reduced. At least not yet.

Brian Cookson, the International Cycling Union president, said in January 2014 there was “the possibility of a reduction” in Armstrong’s lifetime ban if he assisted in doping investigations, but that it was in the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency’s hands.

On Monday, Cookson repeated that it’s up to USADA, after an independent reform commission released a 227-page report on cycling’s doping culture Sunday. The investigation included interviewing Armstrong.

“I’ve got no remit to reduce the ban of Lance Armstrong,” Cookson told reporters Monday, according to VeloNews. “I have no desire to be the president that let Armstrong off the hook, or anything like that.”

USADA banned Armstrong for life in 2012. He was stripped of his record seven Tour de France titles and later admitted to doping during his cycling career in January 2013.

Armstrong’s name was prevalent in the 227-page report released Sunday, with no major new revelations from a 13-month investigation. As were the names of former UCI bosses Hein Verbruggen and Pat McQuaid, deemed ineffective at best in fighting doping during their reigns.

“The commission did not feel that anything that Lance Armstrong had told them was sufficient for them to recommend a reduction in his sanction,” Cookson said, according to VeloNews. “I have found no evidence to contradict that.”

Cookson reportedly added that the commission asked him to facilitate discussion between USADA and Armstrong.

“I am grateful to CIRC for seeking the truth and allowing me to assist in that search,” Armstrong said in a statement Monday. “I am deeply sorry for many things I have done. However, it is my hope that revealing the truth will lead to a bright, dope-free future for the sport I love, and will allow all young riders emerging from small towns throughout the world in years to come to chase their dreams without having to face the lose-lose choices that so many of my friends, teammates, and opponents faced. I hope that all riders who competed and doped can feel free to come forward and help the tonic of truth heal this great sport.”

In a statement Monday, USADA CEO Travis Tygart did not mention possible discussion with Armstrong.

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Skating, cycling bosses propose major changes to Olympic programs

Figure skating
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Presidents of the international skating and cycling unions suggested major changes to the Olympics, including cutting figure skating short programs, eliminating short track speed skating and moving summer indoor sports to the Winter Games.

International Skating Union (ISU) president Ottavio Cinquanta outlined what he called “personal opinions,” a summary of proposals he put forth for consideration in an internal letter to ISU officials. The Italian Cinquanta’s reign as ISU president, since 1994, is expected to end in 2016.

Dutch newspaper Volkskrant quoted Cinquanta’s proposed changes for speed skating and short track speed skating on Tuesday. The Chicago Tribune obtained the letter and published it.

Here’s a summary:

Figure skating ideas
Abolish all short programs.

Make free skates the same time across all four disciplines (men’s and pairs are currently 4 minutes, 30 seconds, while women and ice dance are 4 minutes).

Add synchronized skating to the Olympics.

Speed skating/Short track ideas 
Move to a mass start in speed skating with a maximum of two skaters per country per event (currently it is three or four) to ensure a nation does not sweep gold, silver and bronze in any event. Cinquanta prefaced this by noting the Netherlands “monopolized” the speed skating medals in Sochi (winning 23 of a possible 32), calling the dominance a “sign of high concern.”

Switch from a 400m oval to a 250m oval and eventually cancel short track events.

Replace speed skating’s 1000m, women’s 5000m and men’s 10,000m with 16-lap mass starts and a mixed relay.

Meanwhile, International Cycling Union (UCI) president Brian Cookson suggested discussions about moving track cycling, combat sports such as judo and indoor sports like badminton to the Winter Olympics.

“If you have a problem with Summer Olympics where the whole thing is perceived as overheated with too many facilities, too many sports, too many competitors and so on, why not look at moving some of the other sports that traditionally take place in the winter in the northern hemisphere indoors,” Cookson said, according Agence-France Presse citing Press Association Sport. “If we moved track cycling to the Winter Olympics and that allowed us to have more track cycling events and more medals then that could be a pretty good outcome.

“So let’s talk about those things and see what the stakeholders, the national federations, the teams and the competitors have to say about those options.”

It would not be unprecedented to move sports from the Summer Olympics to Winter Olympics. Ice hockey and figure skating were Summer Olympic sports before the first edition of the Winter Olympics in 1924.

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Lance Armstrong’s lifetime ban could be reduced

Lance Armstrong
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“There will be the possibility of a reduction” of Lance Armstrong‘s ban if he assists in doping investigations, the International Cycling Union (UCI) president said Thursday.

“It all depends on what information Lance has and what he’s able to reveal,” UCI president Brian Cookson said, according to The Associated Press. “Actually that’s not going to be in my hands. He’s been sanctioned by USADA.”

The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) banned Armstrong for life in 2012 and would have to be the organization to approve scaling it back in the event Armstrong provides new information about doping cases.

“[USADA] would have to agree to any reduction in his sanction based on the validity and strength of the information that he provided,” Cookson said. “If they’re happy, if WADA are happy, then I will be happy.”

However, Cookson said he won’t be calling Armstrong.

“I am deliberately not speaking to anyone involved,” he said, according to VeloNews. “That’s the job of the [UCI’s independent] commission. Lance Armstrong will be able to contact them, just the same as everyone else.

“I am aware that Armstrong is keen to contribute, but I’ve kept one step backward from the process. I don’t want to be seen as interfering in any way.”

Armstrong has said he could be open to testifying with “100 percent transparency and honesty,” if he’s treated fairly compared to others from cycling’s doping era.

“If everyone gets the death penalty, then I’ll take the death penalty,” he told the BBC in November. “If everyone gets a free pass, I’m happy to take a free pass. If everyone gets six months, then I’ll take my six months.”

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