Today's news, tomorrow's lesson

Tour de France record holder to be stripped of sporting honours

Today's news, tomorrow's lesson - 24 August

Tour de France record holder to be stripped of sporting honours

Cyclist Lance Armstrong will cede his seven Tour de France yellow jerseys and accept a lifetime ban from the sport after refusing to contest a US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) charge against him. The cycling champion announced his decision after his appeal to the federal court to stop the USADA investigation was rejected.

Celebrated as a sporting legend, Armstrong won the French road cycling competition seven consecutive times between 1999 and 2005. The accusation that he used performance enhancing substances came from members of his team, although Armstrong never failed a drug screening test during any competition.

Armstrong protested his innocence in a statement on Thursday. He said: "There comes a point in every man's life when he has to say, 'Enough is enough.' For me, that time is now.

"The toll this has taken on my family, and my work for our foundation and on me leads me to where I am today – finished with this nonsense." Armstrong added that he considered the investigation against him to be a "witch hunt".

His foundation, Livestrong, has raised nearly $500 million for cancer victims and their families. Armstrong suffered from cancer and overcame the disease before going on to compete as a professional cyclist.

As it stands, Armstrong's relinquished titles leave no recognised winner of the Tour de France for the seven years he won the event.

Questions for discussion

For primary:

  • Why is it wrong to cheat?
  • How do you think it might feel to be accused of something you didn't do?

For secondary:

  • Do you think that Armstrong's charity work outweighs the possibility of the doping charges being true?
  • Why do you think that an athelete might be prepared to risk their career by taking performance-enhancing drugs?

Related resources

Enhancement drugs: wrong or not?

  • Debate the issue of substance use in sports with this topic guide from Instituteofideas.

Drugs in sports

  • Introduce the different types of drugs and the dangers they can cause to health as well as career.

Le Dopage et le Cyclisme

  • For a topical French refresher, try this worksheet about Armstrong's case.

Tour de France

  • Introduce younger pupils to the French cycling race with this simple non-fiction piece from widget_software.

Further news resources

First News front page

  • Help your pupils understand the features of the front page of a newspaper.

Write all about it

  • Get students creating their own news report with this step-by-step guide

What is the News?

  • A sociological and media perspective on what makes an event 'newsworthy'.

On the box

  • Help pupils to write their own TV news broadcast with this handy PowerPoint.

Structuring stories

  • A scheme of work to help students structure news stories.

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