USADA Head: Armstrong Offered $250,000 Donation
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PLANO, Texas (CBS Houston/AP) - The head of the United States Anti-Doping Agency claims in a recent interview that Lance Armstrong attempted to give a large sum of money to the organization, and that they were subject to death threats from fans of the fallen athlete.
Travis Tygart, who is CEO of the USADA, told CBS News’ Scott Pelley during an interview for “60 Minutes Sports” that the Plano, Texas, native once gave the International Cycling Union – a union that regulates his sport – a donation of $100,000.
Armstrong subsequently offered the USADA a reported $250,000 according to Tygart, which the agency turned down.
“[It was] totally inappropriate,” he was quoted as saying by CBS News. “It was … a clear conflict of interest for USADA. We had no hesitation in rejecting that offer.”
Tygart additionally noted to Pelley that he was subject to death threats because of the findings of their investigation, threats much like ones that had been made against other riders who confessed to doping.
He said they came in the form of anonymous e-mails and letters, and that one even inferred that the sender want to “[put] a bullet in [his] head,” CBS News learned.
According to Tygart, Armstrong had been using the endurance-enhancing drug EPO since his very first Toure de France win in 1999.
“There was no test for EPO … at that time,” he said. “Six samples that were taken from Lance Armstrong were retested in ’05. And they were positive.”
The USADA stripped Armstrong of his seven Tour de France titles last year and issued a report portraying the cyclist as the leader of a sophisticated doping operation on his winning teams.
Armstrong has testified under oath that he never used performance-enhancing drugs, which could theoretically lead to charges if he ultimately confessed.
And new reports indicate that he might - the New York Times reported Friday that Armstrong, who had also publicly strongly denied the doping charges that led to him being stripped of his seven Tour de France titles, has told associates he is considering admitting to the use of performance-enhancing drugs.
The report cited anonymous sources and said Armstrong was considering a confession to help restore his athletic career in triathlons and running events at age 41. Armstrong was banned for life from cycling and cannot compete in athletic events sanctioned by the USADA.
Tygart’s interview with “60 Minutes Sports” will air tonight on Showtime at 10 p.m. ET.
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