Disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong is being sued for £1 million ($1.6 million/€1.2 million) by British newspaper, The Sunday Times, over his libel action against them eight years ago.
Inside the Games had revealed in October that the newspaper, which is part of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation empire, were set to launch the against the American shortly after the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) banned him for life.
Armstrong, who has been stripped of the seven Tour de France he won between 1999 and 2005, received £300,000 ($485,000/€368,000) from The Sunday Times in 2004 as payment towards his legal fees after the paper, in an article written by David Walsh, raised questions about his success following his recovery from testicular cancer.
“It is clear that the proceedings were baseless and fraudulent,” said a letter from lawyers representing The Sunday Times. “Your representations that you had never taken performance enhancing drugs were deliberately false.”
The Sunday Times’ claim that Lance Armstrong was a drugs cheat has vindicated and now they want to make him pay
The newspaper is demanding the return of the £300,000 ($485,000/€368,000) payment plus interest, as well as costs accrued in defending the case, which was settled in 2006.
In his original London High Court ruling, Mr Justice Gray said, “In my judgment, the hypothetical ordinary, reasonable reader would have understood The Sunday Times’ article as a whole – read once in conjunction with its headline, photographs and their captions – to mean that Mr Armstrong had taken drugs to enhance his performance in cycling competitions. If that is the meaning, then it appears to me inevitably to follow that Mr Armstrong’s conduct in so doing was fraudulent and amounted to cheating and that his denials were lies.”
Armstrong himself said the article was “based on untrue allegations, which are without substance.”
Walsh’s story contained doping allegations made by Armstrong’s former masseuse Emma O’Reilly.
A report by USADA in October said the now-retired Armstrong had been involved in the “most sophisticated, professionalized and successful doping program the sport has ever seen.”
Armstrong has always denied using performance-enhancing drugs but chose not to contest the USADA charges.
Inside the Games is a blog of the organizing committee for the recent London Summer Olympics. The blog continues to publish articles on various issues affecting international sports and the Olympic movement. Readers can go to http://insidethegames.biz to read these articles. The above article is reprinted here with full permission from the blog editors.