Photo Credit: Michael Stewart/Getty Images
The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency might be planning to strip Lance Armstrong of his seven Tour de France titles, but that doesn't mean he needs to deny that he won them. In fact, the 40-year-old cancer survivor wore his accomplishments proudly during a speech he gave at a cancer conference in Montreal.
"I thought in light of recent events I might reintroduce myself," the cyclist tells the audience, as seen in a video posted by E! Online. "My name is Lance Armstrong. I am a cancer survivor. I've been asked to come up here and talk about my story of survivorship. I'm a father of five. And yes, I won the Tour de France seven times. And for those who have no idea what I'm talking about, I love you."
Despite the scandal Armstrong is facing today, he made it clear that his true focus is on the fight against cancer.
"I touched on it earlier sort of jokingly about recent news, but I think that the real issue here is one of distraction," he says later in the video. "I'm not going to be distracted from this fight. The global burden is too big. ... Thank you all for having me. Livestrong everybody."
This was Armstrong's first public appearance following his decision to no longer fight the Anti-Doping Agency's charges that he used performance-enhancing drugs during his athletic career. As a result, the organization confirmed last week that the retired cycling champion would be stripped of his record-setting seven Tour titles and ban him from cycling for life.
Armstrong released a statement on Aug. 23 explaining his decision to stop fighting.
"I will no longer address this issue, regardless of the circumstances. I will commit myself to the work I began before ever winning a single Tour de France title: serving people and families affected by cancer, especially those in underserved communities," Armstrong wrote. "We have a lot of work to do and I'm looking forward to an end to this pointless distraction. I have a responsibility to all those who have stepped forward to devote their time and energy to the cancer cause. I will not stop fighting for that mission."
He added, "USADA cannot assert control of a professional international sport and attempt to strip my seven Tour de France titles. I know who won those seven Tours, my teammates know who won those seven Tours and everyone I competed against knows who won those seven Tours."