Amid new doping charges against Armstrong, Livestrong events go on

Just as cyclist Lance Armstrong is facing new accusations of doping, his cancer-survivor organization is hosting a benefit bike ride in Montgomery County.

Livestrong has organized a 10K on Saturday and a bike tour on Sunday. Armstrong’s doping charges do not seem to have hurt Livestrong, so far.

Armstrong is not new to charges that he used performance-enhancing drugs during his peak competition years, but this one carries significant weight. The cancer survivor and cycling champion has been accused by former colleagues, former competitors, and those who might have a personal grudge. This time, the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency is taking a shot.

Armstrong filed suit against the USADA, claiming the agency is working outside its jurisdiction, and that this is a matter for the cycling’s international governing body to decide.

None of this has slowed down donations to Livestrong. Last year’s event in Montgomery County raised more than $2.5 million dollars. It’s one of the organization’s most successful events.

Despite accusations against him, Armstrong seems to be coated with Teflon.

“I don’t know that we truly understand the function of giving to celebrities,” said Laura Otten, director of the Nonprofit Center at La Salle University. “What is the psychology, and why do we choose to give to a cause that is linked to a celebrity? Many people give to Livestrong because they too are cancer survivors, or they are bikers, or they have been pushed to the edge and come back. He keeps doing that.”

But that might change. Otten says the nonprofit world is now in a post-Penn State era, where donors may become weary of forgiving the misdeeds of an organization’s figurehead.

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.