The downfall of cycling legend Lance Armstrong is a sad chapter in sports history. Another premier athlete has been disgraced by using illegal performance enhancing substances, even though he still refutes the doping charges.

The real tragedy, however, might be that Armstrong's Livestrong charity is feeling residual backlash.

Last week, Armstrong who ruled the cycling world as a rider and as an international star stepped down as chairman of Livestrong, his charity dedicated to raising money for cancer research.

The reason, he said: "To spare the foundation any negative effects as a result of controversy surrounding my cycling career." Faced with accusations from the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency that he used performance-enhancing drugs to stoke a career that included seven Tour de France titles, Armstrong agreed last month to quit fighting the charges.

He still claims he didn't dope. But the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency produced a report that chronicled the claims of 11 former teammates and more than a dozen other witnesses that Armstrong not only cheated, but also encouraged - even demanded - others do the same to stay on top of his sport.

Armstrong sponsors Nike and Trek bicycles have dropped their support.

In the commotion, yellow Livestrong bracelets are sliding off of wrists. That's a sad piece of this story. The ends can't justify the means. But Armstrong's recovery from testicular cancer to top of the podium made for compelling theater.

The yellow bracelets, introduced in 2004, sold by the millions for $1 apiece.

What happens next with Livestrong, a charity so closely linked with Armstrong, is anyone's guess. Here's hoping it can outrun the controversy chasing its founder and continue to be a leading voice in the fight against cancer.

- The Lafayette Journal Courier contributed

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