Lance Armstrong is being Erased in Boston

Armstrong’s Boston Marathon results are likely to be removed from official records.

Lance ArmstrongLance Armstrong image via Randy Miramontez / Shutterstock.com

Guess what marathon runners? If you ran the Boston Marathon in 2008, and finished after spot 496, your name will soon be moved up. Tom Grilk, the executive director of the Boston Athletic Association, said that Lance Armstrong’s results from the Boston Marathon will most likely be erased because the marathon follows the decisions of the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) and the International Cycling Union. The USADA said that Armstrong led “the most sophisticated, professionalized and successful doping program that sport has ever seen.” He ran the marathon in 2008, with a time of 2:50.58, which earned him a top-500 finish.

The bad news? All of Armstrong’s incredible work as head of Livestrong, the Lance Armstrong Foundation, is now coming under scrutiny. The foundation has raised more than $400 million since it was created in 1997. The money goes to raising public awareness for the disease, and helping patients through “cancer navigation,” which helps them deal with insurance companies, choosing a doctor, and finding clinical treatments.

What happens when the public face of a foundation is under scrutiny for lying and cheating? Armstrong has already stepped down as chairman of the foundation, and lost lucrative endorsement deals with Nike and Anheuser-Busch. Some people who donated to the charity are even asking for their money back.

Livestrong spokeswoman Katherine McLane told CNN that she hopes people can separate the scandal from the mission. “They chose to support not a single person, but a cause that benefits millions of people throughout the United States and throughout the world. They put their trust in Livestrong, one of America’s top-rated cancer charities, and we can assure them that their trust was not misplaced.”

So why would an athlete, who is the public face of such a large charity, choose to risk it all and use performance-enhancing drugs? An article in Wired, explains how doping in cycling, or any professional sport, can be explained as a classic case of the prisoner’s dilemma. When there are two athletes individually deciding whether or not to take drugs, they assume that the other will probably take the drugs. This forces the athlete to take the drugs either way, therein creating the dilemma. The only way to avoid this is to have trust and faith in your opponent.

Or, perhaps, have more faith in yourself.

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