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The future of Livestrong after Lance Armstrong

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With Lance Armstrong's seven Tour de France titles now wiped from the record books, his legacy on the bike has vanished, leaving him to be remembered more as a doper than a hero. However, through his Livestrong Foundation, which raises money to research and fight cancer, Armstrong is still known positively as a cancer survivor, fighter and fundraiser. Edward Queen, Emory University's director of Ethics and Servant Leadership, expects that to change.  

"Livestrong is so closely connected with Lance Armstrong and his career that it will be extremely difficult for the organization to continue to maintain its current size and stature following these disclosures," Queen explains. "Many organizations can move forward after a housecleaning, although scandals can take a terrible toll. In this case, this is not simply about a leader but the founder, and a founder whose visibility and identity as a sports icon and cancer survivor drove the entire visibility of the organization. As a result it has a distinctive challenge."    

Queen says it's possible Livestrong can survive in the wake of Armstrong's doping scandal as a leader in funding research. The foundation raised more than $35 million in 2011 alone, according to its website. But, Queen says, the organization must acknowledge the issue and make changes.  

"From the website today, you would not even know that there are any challenges, and Armstrong continues to figure prominently," says Queen. "My biggest thought about the failure of Livestrong to address the crisis is that it places an immediate strain on people's faith in the organization. Here its founder has been accused and found guilty (not legally but administratively) of using banned substances, lying about, and pressuring others to do both of those. Given the immensity of the issue, it cannot and should not be ignored."

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