(NEW YORK) — Despite stepping down as the Livestrong Foundation’s chairman this week, cyclist Lance Armstrong was on hand Friday night at the charity’s 15th anniversary gala to give a speech, but it did not contain an explanation or apology for the alleged doping that cost him his medals, sponsors.
“It’s been a difficult couple of weeks. I’ve been better and I’ve also been worse,” he said once supporters finished clapping for him. “This mission is bigger than me. It’s bigger than any individual.”
His appearance comes just days after he was stripped of his stripped of his seven Tour de France titles and banned from cycling by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency and dropped by many sponsors following the release of the USADA’s case file against Armstrong.
The USADA released a 200-page report last week, which include the names of 11 teammates who say he was using performance enhancing drugs to cheat. In August, he told the USADA that he wouldn’t fight the June doping charges against him, but had insisted he never cheated.
The International Cycling Union could also strip Armstrong of his seven Tour de France titles from 1995 to 2005. They could also require him to pay back at least $4 million in race winnings.
Sponsors who dropped Armstrong included Nike and Anheuser-Busch.
Livestrong Supporters Remain Confident in Mission
Despite the recent controversy, many Livestrong supporters remained confident in the organization’s mission to provide cancer support services, citing faith in the other leaders of the charity.
“It’s been kind of a bittersweet time, but I think Livestrong is going to live strong,” supporter Julie Armstrong said.
Ulman confirmed the charity’s continuing support of Armstrong saying, “He’s our founder, he’s been the inspiration for this movement…so it’s phenomenal for him to be here tonight.”
Celebrities also showed support of Lance and Livestrong as they walked the yellow carpet, but didn’t offer much comment.
Sean Penn said, “Tonight is not about ‘that.’” Armstrong and others in attendance like Norah Jones, Stephen Marley, Ben Stiller and Robin Williams slipped in a back door, avoiding the media.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
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