Armstrong facing perjury charge

Seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong has not only been given a lifetime ban from the sport of cycling, after compelling evidence was given by teammates that he had used performance-enhancing drugs, he could now face charges of perjury.

In 2005 he recorded a sworn testimony in which he denied being a drug cheat and even went as far to say that it would jeopardise the “faith of all the cancer survivors around the world”, referencing his own battle and his Livestrong charity. This recorded testimony was aired on the ABC’s Four Corners for the first time last night and could now form the basis of a perjury charge against the former champion.

Attorney Jeff Tillotson who was representing an insurance company, which Armstrong was pursuing for bonus payments following his successive Tour de France wins, took the testimony. The insurer had initially refused to pay, as it believed there was compelling evidence that Armstrong had used performance-enhancing drugs. This testimony was critical to investigations by the US Anti-Doping Agency’s lifetime ban of Armstrong.

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Watch the Four Corners report 

Opinion: Is any sport clean?

Imagine being talented at something that you love doing; you are propelled to stardom almost overnight. Sounds like a dream come true, doesn’t it? But with success comes extreme pressure to continue winning and this can force people to carry out all sorts of illegal practices.

It’s not only performance-enhancing drugs that are the scourge of sport; match fixing and illegal betting are reported to be commonplace in many top-end sports. Just last week we witnessed racing royalty Damien Oliver coming under scrutiny for placing a bet against the horse he was riding in a race in 2010. Although yet to be convicted, Oliver has already been dumped from his rides in the Cox Plate and Caulfield Cup.

This year’s Olympic Games, supposedly the epitome of elite sport, were plagued with reports of doping, especially in swimming. Whether this was indeed the case or not, mud sticks.

We look up to our sports stars, expect them to perform at their best each and every time, and when they don’t, they face a backlash of public scrutiny. They are hailed as heroes and then dropped as soon as any controversy rears its head.

Cycling has for years being dogged with rumours of doping. In a sport which requires such extreme levels of endurance this is hardly surprising. So how do the new stars of the sport expect to compete at such levels knowing they simply can’t even risk taking cough medicine for fear of being labelled a drug cheat? They look to the once greats, such as Armstrong, and make the decision that they will not find themselves in the same position.

Training hard and simply doing the best you can is the message that must be reiterated to our young, up and coming sports stars of the future. It worked for Cadel.

Is too much pressure put on our up and coming sports stars or should they be thankful for being able to make a living doing something that they love?

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