When I heard about the Lance Armstrong ban, I was kind of gutted. I am not alone in not knowing the detail of what has gone on and Im not going to give my opinion here (tempted as I am). One of the first things I wondered was what impact it would all have on his foundation Livestrong. The foundation was set up by Armstrong, who was already a well known cyclist, and it was inextricably linked to, not only his recovery, but his subsequent Tour wins. The two, in so many ways are one, just look at the name.
As with any “bad” news story around leadership, surely this would impact the brand? Apparently it has, but not in the way I would have expected. What happened? According to USA Today
- By 3:30 p.m. Friday, Livestrong had received donations from 411 contributors, almost 10 times as many as Thursday, which had 42 donors.
- Livestrong received $80,000 from online donors Friday, up from an average day of around $3,000. By the Saturday this had gone to $148,950.
- It had sold about $13,000 in merchandise, more than tripling the $4,000 total from Thursday.
- The foundation needed three full-time workers to help respond to emails flooding its general mailbox. 98% of the messages were positive.
According to the foundations CEO the organisation is feeling a sense of relief that the whole thing is now behind them, which makes you wonder did Armstrong take his descision to help his foundation? Did he feel the foundations work and legacy was more important than his own? Well his statement gives a hint to this being the case:
“We have a lot of work to do and I’m looking forward to an end to this pointless distraction,” Armstrong, one of the world’s most famous cancer survivors, said in his statement. “I have a responsibility to all those who have stepped forward to devote their time and energy to the cancer cause.”
Armstrong has become more than a cyclist that broke records, he is an activist, he is a change maker. In many ways the foundation has actually become bigger than the man who founded it. Maybe that is why it and he will survive this “crisis”
There have been financial impact to the foundation, and this is to be expected. Armstrong is banned from cycling, so this means he can’t compete in Triathlons, so the deal he had with the World Triathlon Corporation, in which Armstrong would compete in WTC events in exchange for $1 million for the foundation, is off the table, because he cannot compete in Triathlons. But Nike have come out and said they are standing behind Armstrong and the Foundation.
I think this quote from The Roar kind of sums up how a lot of people feel towards Armstrong and more importantly the foundation.
For what its worth, I own a framed cycling jersey that is signed by Lance Armstrong. It will continue to hang proudly on my office wall. In my eyes his signature represents excellence and the fight against cancer.
And the figures cited above seem to back that up.
For what its worth, I own a framed cycling jersey that is signed by Lance Armstrong. It will continue to hang proudly on my office wall. In my eyes his signature represents excellence and the fight against cancer. We, the fans, will ultimately decide the value of the Lance Armstrong brand.