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Meet Travis Tygart: The man who took down Lance Armstrong

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Travis Tygart, 43, chief executive of the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), believes in having a level playing field for all athletes who compete. An advocate of playing by the rules, he regularly proclaims the pitfalls of cheating. 

Chief of the National Anti-Doping Organisation (NADO) in the US since 2007, Tygart was listed as one of Sports Illustrated’s 50 most powerful people in sport in 2013. And Tygart knows what exactly he is for, especially after his high profile exposẻ of the Lance Armstrong doping scandal in 2012.

Speaking to journalists on the sidelines of an anti-doping intelligence and investigation seminar in Singapore, Tygart denies that Lance Armstrong was the subject of a “witch hunt”, when he was banned from cycling for life. 

Travis Tygart
Travis Tygart, 43, chief executive of the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) (Photo by USADA)

Indeed, Tygart reiterated that Armstrong could have challenged the decision at the Court of Arbitration for Sport when the ban was imposed. Armstrong, 43, was stripped of his Tour titles and given a life ban from cycling by USADA in 2012 for using a cocktail of performance-enhancing drugs, having denied for years, that he used these to get an edge over others.

"It has become culturally acceptable to cheat," Tygart said. "We have become a society that accepts a win-at-all-cost attitude—as long as you don't get caught."

Even so, the former lawyer, who has been near or in the heart of every major doping investigation in the past decade, was succinct in his response to the brickbats that the USADA received from the Armstrong scandal.

“Ultimately, Lance was held accountable for his decisions. It was not us that brought him down." 

"It was his decision to defraud the world. We simply did our job.” 

- Travis Tygart, CEO, US Anti-Doping Agency

Meanwhile, the door remains open for Armstrong to return to the sport and have his lifetime suspension lifted. However, this depends solely on the value of information he provides. This must lead to the establishment or discovery of doping violations of others.

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