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Sunday, May 2, 2010

Lance Armstrong,Lance Edward Armstrong

Lance Edward Armstrong (born Lance Edward Gunderson on September 18, 1971) is an American professional road racing cyclist who is best known for winning the Tour de France a record seven consecutive times, after having survived testicular cancer. He is also the founder and chairman of the Lance Armstrong Foundation for cancer research and support. He currently rides for UCI ProTour team Team RadioShack.
In 1996 he was diagnosed with testicular cancer, a tumor that metastasized to his brain and lungs. His cancer treatments included brain and testicular surgery and extensive chemotherapy, and his prognosis was originally poor. He went on to win the Tour de France each year from 1999 to 2005 and is the only person to win seven times, having broken the previous record of five wins, shared by Miguel Indurain, Bernard Hinault, Eddy Merckx and Jacques Anquetil.

In 1999, he was named the ABC Wide World of Sports Athlete of the Year. In 2000 he won the Prince of Asturias Award in Sports. In 2002, Sports Illustrated magazine named him Sportsman of the Year. He was also named Associated Press Male Athlete of the Year for the years 2002–2005. He received ESPN's ESPY Award for Best Male Athlete in 2003, 2004, 2005, and 2006, and won the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Overseas Personality Award in 2003. Armstrong retired from racing on July 24, 2005, at the end of the 2005 Tour de France, but returned to competitive cycling in January 2009, and finished third in the 2009 Tour de France.

Early career
Armstrong was born on September 18, 1971, in Plano, Texas, a northern suburb of Dallas.

At the age of 12, he began his sporting career as a swimmer at the City of Plano Swim Club and finished fourth in Texas state 1,500-meter freestyle. He stopped swimming after seeing a poster for a junior triathlon which he entered and won easily.

In the 1987–1988 Tri-Fed/Texas ("Tri-Fed" was the former name of USA Triathlon), Armstrong was the number one ranked triathlete in the 19-and-under group; second place was Chann McRae, who became a US Postal Service cycling teammate and the 2002 USPRO national champion. Armstrong's points total for 1987 as an amateur was better than the five professionals ranked that year. At 16, Armstrong became a professional triathlete and became national sprint-course triathlon champion in 1989 and 1990 at 18 and 19, respectively.

It became clear that his greatest talent was for bicycle racing after he won the U.S. amateur championship in 1991. Representing the U.S., he finished 14th in the 1992 Summer Olympics. This performance earned him his first professional contract with Motorola, riding alongside Sean Yates. He won his first race with Motorola, the Trophee Laigueglia in Italy, beating the favourite Moreno Argentin. Also in 1992, Armstrong competed in the Tour of Ireland race.

In 1993, Armstrong won 10 one-day events and stage races. He became one of the youngest riders to win the UCI Road World Championship, and took his first stage win at the 1993 Tour de France from Châlons-sur-Marne to Verdun. He was in 97th place overall when he abandoned the race in the Alps after the 12th stage.

He also collected the Thrift Drug Triple Crown of Cycling: the Thrift Drug Classic in Pittsburgh, the K-Mart West Virginia Classic, and the CoreStates USPRO national championship in Philadelphia. Thrift Drug said it would award $1 million to a rider winning all three races, a feat previously unachieved. At the USPRO championship, Armstrong sat up on his bicycle on the final lap, took out a comb, combed his hair and smiled for the cameras.

In 1994, he again won the Thrift Drug Classic and came second in the Tour Du Pont in the United States. His successes in Europe were second placings in the Clásica San Sebastián and Liège-Bastogne-Liège.

He won the Clásica San Sebastián in 1995, and this time won the Tour Du Pont and took a handful of stage victories in Europe including the stage to Limoges in the Tour De France. He dedicated the win to teammate Fabio Casartelli who died in a crash on the descent of the Col de Portet d'Aspet on the 15th stage, two days before.

Armstrong's successes were much the same in 1996. He became the first American to win the La Flèche Wallonne and again won the Tour Dupont. However, his performances began to suffer and he was only able to compete for five days in the Tour De France. At Atlanta he was only able to finish 6th in the time trial and 12th in the road race in the 1996 Olympic Games.

On October 2, 1996, at age 25, Armstrong was diagnosed with stage three testicular cancer. The cancer had spread to his lungs, abdomen and brain. On that first visit to a urologist in Austin, Texas, for his cancer symptoms he was already coughing up blood and had a large, painful testicular tumor. Immediate surgery and chemotherapy were required to save his life. Armstrong had an orchiectomy to remove his diseased testicle. After his surgery his doctor admitted that he had less than a 40% survival chance.

The standard chemotherapeutic regimen for the treatment of this type of cancer is a cocktail of the drugs BEP (bleomycin, etoposide, and cisplatin (or Platinol)). Armstrong, however, chose an alternative, VIP (etoposide, ifosfamide, and cisplatin), to avoid the lung toxicity associated with the drug bleomycin. This decision may have saved his cycling career. His primary treatment was received at the Indiana University (IU), Indianapolis, Medical Center, where Dr. Lawrence Einhorn had pioneered the use of cisplatinum to treat testicular cancer. His primary oncologist there was Dr. Craig Nichols.Also at IU, his brain tumors were surgically removed and found to contain extensive necrosis (dead tissue). His last chemotherapy treatment was received on December 13, 1996.

His cancer went into complete remission, and by January 1998 he was already engaged in serious training for racing, moving to Europe to race for the U.S. Postal team. A pivotal week (April, 1998) in his comeback was one he spent training in the very challenging Appalachian terrain around Boone, North Carolina, with his racing friend Bob Roll

Tour de France success

Lance Armstrong finishing 3rd in Sète, taking over the Yellow Jersey at Grand Prix Midi LibreBefore his cancer treatment, Armstrong had won two Tour de France stages. In 1993, he won the 8th stage and in 1995 he took stage 18 in honor of teammate Fabio Casartelli who crashed and died on stage 15. Armstrong dropped out of the 1996 Tour on the 7th stage after becoming ill, a few months before his diagnosis.

Armstrong's cycling comeback began in 1998 when he finished fourth in the Vuelta a España. In 1999 he won the Tour de France, including four stages. He beat the second rider, Alex Zülle, by 7 minutes 37 seconds. However, the absence of Jan Ullrich (injury) and Marco Pantani (drug allegations) meant Armstrong had not yet proven himself against the biggest names. Stage wins included the prologue, stage eight, an individual time trial in Metz, an Alpine stage on stage nine, and the second individual time trial on stage 19.

In 2000, Ullrich and Pantani returned to challenge Armstrong. The race that began a six-year rivalry between Ullrich and Armstrong ended in victory for Armstrong by 6 minutes 2 seconds over Ullrich. Armstrong took one stage in the 2000 Tour, the second individual time trial on stage 19. In 2001, Armstrong again took top honors, beating Ullrich by 6 minutes 44 seconds. In 2002, Ullrich did not participate due to suspension, and Armstrong won by seven minutes over Joseba Beloki.

The pattern returned in 2003, Armstrong taking first place and Ullrich second. Only 1 minute 1 second separated the two at the end of the final day in Paris. U.S. Postal won the team time trial on stage four, while Armstrong took stage 15, despite being knocked off on the ascent to Luz Ardiden, the final climb, when a spectator's bag caught his right handlebar. Ullrich waited for him, which brought Ullrich fair-play honors.

In 2004, Armstrong finished first, 6 minutes 19 seconds ahead of German Andreas Klöden. Ullrich was fourth, a further 2 minutes 31 seconds behind. Armstrong won a personal best five individual stages, plus the team time trial. He became the first since Gino Bartali in 1948 to win three consecutive mountain stages; 15, 16, and 17. The individual time trial on stage 16 up Alpe d'Huez was won in style by Armstrong as he passed Ivan Basso on the way despite setting out two minutes after the Italian. He won sprint finishes from Basso in stages 13 and 15 and made up a significant gap in the last 250m to nip Klöden at the line in stage 17. He won the final individual time trial, stage 19, to complete his personal record of stage wins.

In 2005, Armstrong was beaten by David Zabriskie in the Stage 1 time trial by 2 seconds, despite passing Ullrich on the road. His Discovery Channel team won the team time trial, while Armstrong won the final individual time trial. To complete his record-breaking feat, Armstrong crossed the line on the Champs-Élysées on July 24 to win his 7th consecutive Tour, finishing 4m 40s ahead of Basso, with Ullrich third.

On July 24, 2005, Armstrong officially announced his retirement from professional cycling after his 7th consecutive Tour de France win.

Astana: 2009
Armstrong announced on September 9, 2008 that he would return to pro cycling with the express goal of participating in the 2009 Tour de France. "After talking with my children, my family and my closest friends, I have decided to return to professional cycling in order to raise awareness of the global cancer burden", Armstrong said on his livestrong.org website.[11] VeloNews reported that Armstrong will race for no salary or bonuses and will post his internally tested blood results online.

The announcement ended speculation that he would return with Astana in the Tour of California, Paris-Nice, the Tour de Georgia and the Dauphiné-Libéré. Astana missed the 2008 Tour after Alexandre Vinokourov was ejected from the 2007 Tour for testing positive.

Australian ABC radio reported on September 24, 2008 that Armstrong would compete in the UCI Tour Down Under through Adelaide and surrounds in January 2009. UCI rules say a cyclist has to be in an anti-doping program for six months before an event, but the Tour Down Under allowed Armstrong to compete after he engaged Don Catlin, a leading anti-doping scientist, to independently test him throughout his comeback races. The Premier of South Australia, Mike Rann, declared that Armstrong's participation would make the tour "the biggest sporting event in South Australian history."

In October 2008, Armstrong confirmed he would compete in the 2009 Giro d'Italia, his first participation.

On January 17, Armstrong said at a press conference for the Tour Down Under that his comeback was motivated by spending most of his days spreading the Livestrong message and raising national awareness of cancer. Though his fitness levels had supposedly returned to peak condition, Armstrong placed 29th in the race. Armstrong said he considered this a successful result, as the thousands of fans who flocked to Adelaide to see him compete — booking every hotel room in the city— added A$17 million to the South Australian economy, and the government rewarded his effort by pledging A$4.1 million towards the construction of a centre for cancer research.

Armstrong's stolen Trek bicycle was returned to the Sacramento police by an anonymous citizen on February 18, 2009. The time-trial bike was found four days after it disappeared from the Astana team truck after he used it before Stage 1 of the Tour of California. A police statement read, "The facts surrounding how the person came into possession of the bicycle are not being released at this time due to an ongoing investigation."

In February 2009, Armstrong was confirmed to compete in the Tour of Ireland from 19–23 August 2009, before then participating in the Livestrong Global Cancer Summit from August 24-26th in Dublin. The Astana Cycling team confirmed in early March that Armstrong will return to Europe to continue his comeback season with races at Milan-Sanremo and the Vuelta a Castilla y León. He had to retire from the 2009 Vuelta Castilla y León during the first stage after crashing in a rider pileup in Baltanás, Spain and breaking his collarbone.

Armstrong flew back to Austin, Texas for corrective surgery, which was successful, and was back training on a bicycle within four days of his operation. On April 10, 2009, a controversy emerged between the AFLD and Armstrong and his team manager, Johan Bruyneel, stemming from a March 17, 2009 encounter with an AFLD anti-doping official who visited Armstrong after a training ride in Beaulieu-sur-Mer. When the official arrived, Armstrong claims he asked—and was granted—permission to take a shower while Bruyneel checked the official's credentials. In late April, the AFLD cleared Armstrong of any wrongdoing. Armstrong returned to racing after his collarbone injury at the Tour of the Gila in New Mexico on 29 April.

On 7 July, in the fourth stage of the 2009 Tour de France, Armstrong narrowly failed to win the yellow jersey after his Astana team won the team time trial. His Astana team won the 39 km lap of Montpellier but Armstrong ended up just over two tenths of a second (0.22) outside of Fabian Cancellara's overall lead. Armstrong finished the 2009 Tour de France in third place overall, 5:24 behind the overall winner, his Astana teammate Alberto Contador.

Family and personal life

Armstrong (center) on the set of College GameDay during the 2006 UT football seasonArmstrong was born to Linda Mooneyham, a secretary, and Eddie Charles Gunderson, a route manager for The Dallas Morning News. He was named after Lance Rentzel, a Dallas Cowboys wide receiver. His father left his mother when Lance was two and has two other children from another relationship. His mother later married Terry Keith Armstrong, a wholesale salesman, who adopted Lance in 1974. Linda has married and divorced three times. Armstrong refuses to meet his birth father and has described Terry Armstrong as deceitful.

Armstrong met Kristin Richard in June 1997. They married on May 1, 1998 and have three children: Luke, born October 1999, and twins Isabelle and Grace, born November 2001. The pregnancy was possible through sperm Armstrong banked three years earlier, prior to chemotherapy and surgery. The couple filed for divorce in September 2003. At Armstrong's request, his children flew in for the Tour de France podium ceremony in 2005, where Luke helped his father hoist the trophy, while his daughters (in yellow dresses) held the stuffed lion mascot and bouquet of yellow flowers.

Armstrong began dating singer-songwriter Sheryl Crow in the autumn of 2003 and revealed their relationship in January 2004. The couple announced their engagement in September 2005 and their split in February 2006. In October 2007, Armstrong and fashion designer Tory Burch ended a relationship after several months. He dated American actress Kate Hudson from May-July 2008. On July 30, 2008, a representative for Hudson announced the relationship had ended amicably.

In December 2008, Armstrong announced that his girlfriend, Anna Hansen, was pregnant with his child. The couple started dating in July 2008 after meeting through Armstrong's charity work. Although it was believed that Armstrong could no longer father children, after having undergone chemotherapy for testicular cancer, this child was conceived naturally. The baby boy, Maxwell Edward "Max" Armstrong, was born on June 4, 2009 in Aspen, Colorado. Armstrong announced the birth using the micro-blogging service Twitter. Armstrong has become a popular Twitter user with approx. 2,000,000 followers or more.

In April 2010, Armstrong using twitter announced that he was having a 5th child to be born in October 2010.

Armstrong owns homes in Austin, Texas and Aspen, Colorado, as well as a ranch in the Texas Hill Country. Armstrong is a fan of the University of Texas Longhorns college football program and is often seen on the sidelines supporting the team.

In regards to religion, he is agnostic, quoted as saying, "at the end of the day, if there was indeed some body or presence standing there to judge me, I hoped I would be judged on whether I had lived a true life, not on whether I believed in a certain book, or whether I'd been baptized. If there was indeed a god at the end of my days, I hoped he didn't say, 'But you were never a Christian, so you're going the other way from heaven.' If so, I was going to reply, 'You know what? You're right. Fine.'"[

Allegations of drug use
Armstrong has been criticised for his disagreements with outspoken opponents of doping such as Paul Kimmage and Christophe Bassons. Bassons wrote a number of articles for a French newspaper during the 1999 Tour De France which made references to doping in the peloton. Subsequently, Lance had an altercation with Christophe Bassons during the 1999 Tour De France where Bassons said Armstrong rode up alongside on the Alpe d'Huez stage to tell him "it was a mistake to speak out the way I do and he asked why I was doing it. I told him that I'm thinking of the next generation of riders. Then he said 'Why don't you leave, then?'Armstrong confirmed the story. On the main evening news on TF1, a national television station, Armstrong said: "His accusations aren't good for cycling, for his team, for me, for anybody. If he thinks cycling works like that, he's wrong and he would be better off going home". Kimmage, a controversial journalist who referred to Armstrong as a 'cancer in cycling' also asked Lance questions in relation to his 'admiration for dopers' at a press conference at the Tour of California in 2009 provoking a scathing reaction from Armstrong. This spat continued and is exemplified by Kimmage's articles in The Sunday Times.

Armstrong has continually denied using "illegal" performance-enhancing drugs and has described himself as "the most tested athlete in the world". A 1999 urine sample showed traces of corticosteroid in an amount that was not in the positive range. A medical certificate showed he used an approved cream for saddle sores which contained the substance.

On March 17, 2009, French Anti-doping Agency tested Armstrong for the 24th time in the last year and the test was negative for performance-enhancing drugs

Specific allegations
Armstrong has been criticized for working with controversial trainer Michele Ferrari. Greg Lemond described himself as "devastated" on hearing of them working together, while Tour de France organizer Jean-Marie Leblanc said, "I am not happy the two names are mixed."Following Ferrari's later-overturned conviction for "sporting fraud" and "abuse of the medical profession", Armstrong suspended his professional relationship with him, saying that he had "zero tolerance for anyone convicted of using or facilitating the use of performance-enhancing drugs" and denying that Ferrari had ever "suggested, prescribed or provided me with any performance-enhancing drugs."
Ferrari was later absolved of all charges by an Italian appeals court of the sporting fraud charges as well as charges of abusing his medical license to write prescriptions. The court stated that it overturned his conviction "because the facts do not exist" to support the charges

In 2004, reporters Pierre Ballester and David Walsh published a book alleging Armstrong had used performance-enhancing drugs (L. A. Confidentiel - Les secrets de Lance Armstrong). It contains allegations by Armstrong's former masseuse, Emma O'Reilly, who claimed Armstrong once asked her to dispose of used syringes and to give him makeup to conceal needle marks on his arms. Another figure in the book, Steve Swart, claims he and other riders, including Armstrong, began using drugs in 1995 while members of the Motorola team, a claim denied by other team members.Allegations in the book were reprinted in the UK newspaper The Sunday Times in a story by deputy sports editor Alan English in June 2004. Armstrong sued for libel, and the paper settled out of court after a High Court judge in a pre-trial ruling stated that the article "meant accusation of guilt and not simply reasonable grounds to suspect."
The newspaper's lawyers issued the statement: "The Sunday Times has confirmed to Mr. Armstrong that it never intended to accuse him of being guilty of taking any performance-enhancing drugs and sincerely apologised for any such impression." Armstrong later dropped similar lawsuits in France.

On March 31, 2005, Mike Anderson filed a brief  in Travis County District Court in Texas, as part of a legal battle following his termination in November 2004 as an employee of Armstrong. Anderson worked for Armstrong for two years as a personal assistant. In the brief, Anderson claimed that he discovered a box of Androstenone while cleaning a bathroom in Armstrong's apartment in Girona, Spain.Androstenine is not on the list of banned drugs. Anderson stated in a subsequent deposition that he had no direct knowledge of Armstrong using a banned substance.
Armstrong denied the claim and issued a counter-suit. The two men reached an out-of-court settlement in November 2005; the terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

On August 23, 2005, L'Équipe, a major French daily sports newspaper, reported on its front page under the headline "le mensonge Armstrong" ("The Armstrong Lie") that 6 urine samples taken from the cyclist during the prologue and five stages of the 1999 Tour de France, frozen and stored since at "Laboratoire national de dépistage du dopage de Châtenay-Malabry" (LNDD), had tested positive for Erythropoietin in recent retesting conducted as part of a research project into EPO testing methods. For years, it had been impossible to detect the drug, called erythropoietin, which builds endurance by boosting the production of oxygen-carrying red blood cells. The world governing body of cycling, Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI), did not begin using a urine test for EPO until 2001, two years after the samples were taken. This claim was based on an investigation in which they claimed to be able to match samples from the 1999 Tour that were used to hone the EPO test to Armstrong. To establish a link between Armstrong and the samples, Damien Ressiot, L'Equipe's reporter, matched the tracking numbers, with the indirect help of UCI and Lance Armstrong on the samples with those on Armstrong's record with the UCI during the 1999 Tour.
Armstrong immediately replied on his website, saying, "Unfortunately, the witch hunt continues and tomorrow's article is nothing short of tabloid journalism. The paper even admits in its own article that the science in question here is faulty and that I have no way to defend myself. They state: 'There will therefore be no counter-exam nor regulatory prosecutions, in a strict sense, since defendant's rights cannot be respected.' I will simply restate what I have said many times: I have never taken performance enhancing drugs."

In October 2008, the AFLD gave Armstrong the opportunity to have samples taken during the 1998 and 1999 Tours de France retested.Armstrong immediately refused, saying, "the samples have not been maintained properly." Head of AFLD Pierre Bordry stated: "Scientifically there is no problem to analyse these samples - everything is correct" and "If the analysis is clean it would have been very good for him. But he doesn't want to do it and that's his problem."

In June 2006, French newspaper Le Monde reported claims by Betsy and Frankie Andreu during a deposition that Armstrong had admitted using performance-enhancing drugs to his physician just after brain surgery in 1996. The Andreus' testimony was related to litigation between Armstrong and SCA Promotions, a Texas company attempting to withhold a $5-million bonus; this was settled out of court with SCA paying Armstrong and Tailwind Sports $7.5 million, to cover the $5-million bonus plus interest and lawyers' fees.
The testimony stated "And so the doctor asked him a few questions, not many, and then one of the questions he asked was... have you ever used any performance-enhancing drugs? And Lance said yes. And the doctor asked, what were they? And Lance said, growth hormone, cortisone, EPO, steroids and testosterone. "Armstrong suggested Betsy Andreu may have been confused by possible mention of his post-operative treatment which included steroids and EPO that are taken to counteract wasting and red-blood-cell-destroying effects of intensive chemotherapy, but this is at odds with the fact that it was necessary for Armstrong to tell the doctor the list of drugs taken, and the use of the phrase "performance enhancing".

The Andreus' allegation was not supported by any of the eight other people present, including Armstrong's doctor Craig Nichols,or his medical history. However, according to Greg LeMond (who has been embroiled with his own disputes with Armstrong), there exists a recorded conversation in which Stephanie McIlvain, Armstrong's contact at Oakley Inc., said of Armstrong's alleged admission 'You know, I was in that room. I heard it.' McIlvain has contradicted LeMond and denied the incident occurred in her sworn testimony.

In July 2006, the Los Angeles Times published a story on the allegations raised in the SCA case.The report cited evidence at the trial including the results of the LNDD test and an analysis of these results by an expert witness.From the LA Times article: "The results, Australian researcher Michael Ashenden testified in Dallas, show Armstrong's levels rising and falling, consistent with a series of injections during the Tour. Ashenden, a paid expert retained by SCA Promotions, told arbitrators the results painted a "compelling picture" that the world's most famous cyclist "used EPO in the '99 Tour." Ashenden's finding were disputed by the Vrijman report, which pointed to procedural and privacy issues in dismissing the LNDD test results. The LA Times article also provided information on testimony given by Armstrong's former teammate, Swart, Andreu and his wife Betsy, and Instant messaging conversation between Andreu and Jonathan Vaughters regarding blood-doping in the peloton. Vaughters signed a statement disavowing the comments and stating he had: "no personal knowledge that any team in the Tour de France, including Armstrong's Discovery team in 2005, engaged in any prohibited conduct whatsoever." Andreu signed a statement affirming the conversation took place as indicated on the instant messaging logs submitted to the court.
The SCA trial was settled out of court, and the LA Times reported: "Though no verdict or finding of facts was rendered, Armstrong called the outcome proof that the doping allegations were baseless." The L.A. Times' article provides a review of the disputed positive EPO test, allegations and sworn testimony against Armstrong, but notes that: "They are filled with conflicting testimony, hearsay and circumstantial evidence admissible in arbitration hearings but questionable in more formal legal proceedings.

Handling of urine tests
In October 2005, in response to calls from the International Olympic Committee and the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) for an independent investigation, the UCI appointed Dutch lawyer Emile Vrijman to investigate the handling of urine tests by the French national anti-doping laboratory, LNDD. Vrijman was head of the Dutch anti-doping agency for ten years; since then he has worked as a defense attorney defending high-profile athletes against doping charges.Vrijman's report cleared Armstrong because of improper handling and testing. The report said tests on urine samples were conducted improperly and fell so short of scientific standards that it was "completely irresponsible" to suggest they "constitute evidence of anything."The recommendation of the commission's report was no disciplinary action against any rider on the basis of LNDD research. It also called upon the WADA and LNDD to submit themselves to an investigation by an outside independent authority.The WADA rejected these conclusions.The IOC Ethics Commission subsequently censured Dick Pound, the President of WADA and a member of the IOC, for his statements in the media that suggested wrongdoing by Armstrong.

In April 2009, Dr. Michael Ashenden said that "the LNDD absolutely had no way of knowing athlete identity from the sample they're given. They have a number on them, but that's never linked to an athlete's name. The only group that had both the number and the athlete's name is the federation, in this case it was the UCI." He added "There was only two conceivable ways that synthetic EPO could've gotten into those samples. One, is that Lance Armstrong used EPO during the '99 Tour. The other way it could've got in the urine was if, as Lance Armstrong seems to believe, the laboratory spiked those samples. Now, that's an extraordinary claim, and there's never ever been any evidence the laboratory has ever spiked an athlete's sample, even during the Cold War, where you would've thought there was a real political motive to frame an athlete from a different country. There's never been any suggestion that it happened


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