Lance Armstrong’s swimming career drowned before it ever got started.
After initially entering a master level swimming event slated for this weekend in his hometown of Austin, Texas, the disgraced former seven-time Tour de France winner withdrew after the sport’s international governing body raised objections.
The 41-year-old Armstrong had signed up for the meet’s three longest events: the 500, 1000 and 1650-yard freestyle races. But the sport’s Swiss-based governing body sent a letter to U.S. masters swimming officials Thursday saying the event is under the umbrella of the World Anti-Doping Code and subject to the lifetime ban given to Armstrong by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency.
Prior to his withdrawal, Armstrong was slated to compete against middle-aged swimmers at the Masters South Central Zone Swimming Championships at the Jamail Texas Swim Center on the campus of the University of Texas at Austin.
You may remember that the former pro cyclist began his competitive sports career in the pool at his childhood home near Dallas. That led to a stint as a pro triathlete, which he eventually abandoned to pursue cycling full time.
After retiring from cycling, Armstrong returned to triathlon and was gunning for a run at the Ironman World Championships in Hawaii before his troubles with the doping police began and he was subsequently barred from competing in the run-bike-swim events.
In January, Armstrong sat down with talk-show host Oprah Winfrey and confessed to years of doping – and lying about doping. He was summarily stripped of his seven Tour de France titles and banned for life from the sport – and any other sport under the USADA umbrella.
When Armstrong first signed up to swim at the local event, the race director said it was okay, because masters level swimming in the U.S. does not fall under the drug-testing jurisdiction of the U.S. Anti Doping Agency. But that stance quickly changed – and Armstrong is once again a man without a sport.