Nike ‘just did it’ to Lance

So Nike has taken the inevitable step of terminating its contract with Lance Armstrong. This is hardly surprising. It doesn’t take much to consider what Just Do It could mean in this context. Watching the July 2012 Nike advert with Lance Armstrong is now uncomfortable viewing. Over images of Armstrong cycling up a hill, a disembodied voice says ‘I got up the next day… and I’m stronger than I ever was before’. ‘Yuh, I bet you were!’, is of course what we are all thinking now.

Armstrong has also stepped down today as chairman of his charity Livestrong with immediate effect. He remains on the Board though, which is an interesting decision. There’s no doubt he is committed to helping cancer sufferers and he has made a big difference – nearly $500 million raised and 2.5 million people ‘served’ as today’s statement on the Livestrong blog puts it.

Only time will tell if Lance Armstrong can continue to be any kind of face for his foundation. And whether the Livestrong foundation will always be tarnished by association with him. Today’s announcement is explicit about the damage limitation that stepping down represents. Of course his cancer survival story is and always will be incredible. But so it seems was the depth of his deceit about his doping. Perhaps in the end Lance Armstrong will be remembered principally as an example of how quickly a good reputation can be lost and how hard it is to build it up again.


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