The Turnstile

Nike cuts ties with Livestrong, continuing the Lance Armstrong downfall

Jay Busbee
The Turnstile

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Lance Armstrong in 2009. (Getty Images)

The fallout from Lance Armstrong's doping confessions continues. Nike has announced that it will no longer continue a relationship with Livestrong, Armstrong's charity.

It's a major blow to the foundation, which has raised more than $100 million and achieved global recognition for its yellow wristbands thanks in part to Nike's influence. The contract runs until 2014, but Nike will stop making Livestrong apparel following the 2013 holiday season.

Armstrong had begun the charity as the Lance Armstrong Foundation, but was removed from the board in October following allegations of doping. Last fall, the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency published a damning report describing the doping tactics of Armstrong's team. While he initially fought the allegations, Armstrong confessed earlier this year to using performance-enhancing substances.

Livestrong said in a statement that it remains "deeply grateful" to Nike for the company's involvement. Nike did not provide a statement, and Armstrong indicated that he no longer has a connection to either party.

This is not a sign of doom for the charity, Livestrong officials said. Livestrong has cut its budget by 11 percent to $38.4 million this year, but remains about 2.5 percent ahead of revenue projections, and has received a favorable rating from a charity analysis service.

Armstrong, meanwhile, is involved in a bit of back-and-forth with Betsy Andreu, wife of his former teammate Frankie Andreu. Betsy Andreu claims she heard Armstrong confess to using performance-enhancing drugs to a doctor more than a decade ago; Armstrong has repeatedly called her a liar. But when pinned down by Oprah Winfrey in January, Armstrong said he would apologize for criticizing her and trying to ruin his career.

However, as USA Today notes, that apology has been tough to come by for Andreu, who tried and failed to meet with Armstrong last month. Emails between the two indicate that Armstrong consented to, then broke, a planned meeting.

Also still at issue for Armstrong: a federal whistleblower lawsuit filed against Armstrong by Floyd Landis. The Department of Justice is now a part of that lawsuit, saying Armstrong "unjustly enriched" himself.

Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly spelled the names of Frankie and Betsy Andreu.

-Follow Jay Busbee on Twitter at @jaybusbee.-

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