Tag Archives: lifetime

Andy Murray, Jessica Ennis and Sebastian Coe win at Laureus Awards

Ennis, Murray and Coe honoured at Laureus Awards ceremony in Rio after stunning year for British sport

party just a little while longer.

British athletes, past and present, dominated at the Laureus World Sports awards in Rio de Janeiro on Monday night, as the world of international sport gathered at a glittering ceremony to celebrate an unforgettable year.

Britain may have handed over the Olympic and Paralympic flames to the 2016 host city, but the memory of London 2012 still burnt particularly bright 6,000 miles away in south America on Monday night.

Congratulations: Track and field athlete Jessica Ennis receives her award for 'Laureus Sportswomen of the Year' as presenters Nadia Comaneci and Eva Longoria look on

Congratulations: Track and field athlete Jessica Ennis receives her award for 'Laureus Sportswomen of the Year' as presenters Nadia Comaneci and Eva Longoria look on

Couldn't make it: Andy Murray accepts his award on video because he was in Indian Wells to face Evgeny Donskoy

Couldn't make it: Andy Murray accepts his award on video because he was in Indian Wells to face Evgeny Donskoy

Ennis

Actress Maggie Cheung with Laureus Academy Member Martina Navratilova announce Andy Murray as the winner of 'Laureus World Breakthrough of the Year'

The winners…

World Sportsman of the Year – Usain Bolt

World Sportswoman of the Year – Jessica Ennis

World Breakthrough of the Year – Andy Murray

World Comeback of the Year – Felix Sanchez

World Sportsperson of the Year with a Disability – Daniel Dias

Laureus Academy Exceptional Achievement Award – Michael Phelps

Laureus Lifetime Achievement Award – Sebastian Coe

World Team of the Year – European Ryder Cup Team

World Action Sportsperson of the Year – Felix Baumgarter

Olympic heptathlon champion Jessica Ennis was crowned World Sportswoman of the Year, while Andy Murray won World Breakthrough and Sebastian Coe received the Lifetime Achievement Award. Ian Poulter also accepted the Team of the Year prize on behalf of his European Ryder Cup team-mates.

Tony Blair called Lord Coe one of the ‘giants of British sport’ as the chairman of the London 2012 organising committee and double Olympic champion received the Lifetime Achievement Award from Edwin Moses and was honoured with a standing ovation.

‘I’m surrounded by the most extraordinary group of people, global icons,’ said Lord Coe, ‘and I realise that there is a commonality in the unshakeable belief we have in sport and the fact it transforms lives. This is extraordinary. I’m very, very flattered.’

Ennis beat off competition from fellow Olympic track and field gold medallists Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and Allyson Felix, swimmer Missy Franklin, skier Lindsey Vonn and tennis star Serena Williams to win her award, which was presented by former gymnast Nadia Comanechi.

A few hours earlier in a luxurious Rio hotel, Ennis had been discussing her shock and sadness at the closure of Don Valley Stadium in her hometown of Sheffield. Yet she looked equally composed collecting her award at the city’s dramatic Theatro Muncipal last night, during her 36-hour trip to the city in which she will aim to defend her Olympic title in three years’ time. We all know about the extraordinary pressure Ennis was under as the poster girl of London 2012, but it was poignant to see how the sporting world has realised it, too.

‘There was a lot of pressure in London,’ she said. ‘I looked back to what Cathy Freeman achieved in Sydney in 2000 (winning the 400 metres) and I really wanted to emulate that. I have incredible support from my friends and family and I was able to do it.’

Seb Coe

Usain Bolt

Triumphant: Lord Sebastian Coe (above) won the Laureus Lifetime Achievement award while Usain Bolt (right and below) was crowned World Sportsman of the Year

Victory: Usain Bolt

The winners are chosen by the Laureus Sports Academy, comprising 46 of the ‘greatest living sportsmen and sportswomen’, including Sir Bobby Charlton, Daley Thompson and Sir Steve Redgrave, who were all in Rio. Double Olympic decathlon champion Thompson, however, was the only Academy member in a T-Shirt and tracksuit.

Thompson said: ‘Jessica’s performance was majestic. She had the whole weight of the country’s expectation on her shoulders. Despite that, she certainly delivered.

‘She not only produced a wonderful display in her events but she gave the British team an enormous lift. Jessica showed she could win a gold medal, so everyone who followed her also felt they could do it as well.’

Murray was another British winner, receiving the Laureus Breakthrough award after winning Olympic gold and silver and his first Grand Slam at the US Open champion last September.

The Scot, 25, did not attend the ceremony owing to playing commitments in Indian Wells, but said: ‘It was an amazing year: my first Grand Slam in New York and two medals at the Olympics in my home country.

Chit chat: Usian Bolt talks to Laureus Academy Member Michael Johnson as he accepts his award

Laureus Academy Chairman Edwin Moses hands the Laureus Lifetime Achievement Award to Coe

Acceptance: Bolt takes his award from Michael Johnson, while Laureus Academy chairman Edwin Moses hands the Laureus Lifetime Achievement Award to Coe

Seb Coe with his trophy

'I would have taken that at the start of the year, that’s for sure. Winning an award like this will definitely make me more determined to come back and do better in 2013.’

A video was shown of Poulter receiving the Team of the Year award to mark Europe’s thrilling comeback to win the Ryder Cup.

‘With the legends in sport that have voted for us, it truly is a special trophy to put our hands on,’ he said.

Redgrave presented Michael Phelps with
the inaugural Exceptional Achievement Award, while Mark Spitz also paid
the American a tribute via video link. Phelps, though, was emphatic he
has no intention of trying to add to his 22 Olympic medals in Rio in
2016.

Other winners included
Usain Bolt, who won gold in the 100m, 200m and 4 x 100m relay in London
and became Sportsmen of the Year for the third time, and Felix Sanchez,
the Olympic 400m hurdles champion in 2012 – eight years after his
Olympic title in Athens.

Brazilian
swimmer Daniel Dias, who won six individual gold medals at the
Paralympic Games, fended off competition from Britain’s David Weir to
win Sportsperson of the Year with a Disability. Austrian skydiver Felix
Baumgarter, who became the first human to go through the sound barrier
when he completed a 24-mile free fall over New Mexico in October, was
named World Action Sportsperson of the Year.

Nice work: Michael Phelps poses with the Laureus Academy Exceptional Achievement Award in the winners studio at Theatro Municipal do Rio de Janeiro

Nice work: Michael Phelps poses with the Laureus Academy Exceptional Achievement Award in the winners studio at Theatro Municipal do Rio de Janeiro

Kaymer on his magic moment: "That Ryder Cup putt? My whole career rested on it"

Kaymer on his magic moment: 'That Ryder Cup putt My whole career rested on it'

|

UPDATED:

22:54 GMT, 20 December 2012

In the days following the holing of the five-foot putt of a lifetime and the jubilation expressed by his Ryder Cup team-mates and Europe’s disbelieving supporters, Martin Kaymer described it as one of those putts where you feel the hero if you make it and an idiot if you do not.

But, as the days have turned to weeks and the full impact of what he achieved during Europe’s 14-13 victory has sunk in, the thoughtful German has come to look upon that short putt that realised the Miracle at Medinah in even more stark terms.

‘Now I honestly feel like my whole career might have been on the line,’ he said.

Zero to hero: Martin Kaymer salvaged a poor year with the winning putt at Medinah

Zero to hero: Martin Kaymer salvaged a poor year with the winning putt at Medinah

‘I sometimes think about what would have happened if I had missed it. Would I have had the mental strength to recover from thinking I had let down a whole continent

‘I had a similar putt to win my first major, the US PGA Championship in 2010, but the feeling was completely different.

‘If I had missed that one it would have been my own fault and I would have moved on to the next major.

‘But letting down so many people That doesn’t bear thinking about.’

The other side of the coin, of course, is the confidence that has flowed from making it.

‘Up to that point it hadn’t been a good year for me, I would have given it about a three or four at best out of 10,’ he said. ‘Then, all of a sudden, you feel a lot happier about matters. On paper you’d probably still only give the year a three or four but mentally it had suddenly gone up a few marks.’

No pressure then: Kaymer watches his putt find its way toward the hole on the 18th

No pressure then: Kaymer watches his putt find its way toward the hole on the 18th… before sparking wild celebrations (below)

Celebration time: Europe claimed a remarkable victory

That much was obvious in his final event in South Africa, where it looked like the Kaymer of a couple of years back as he held off the local favourite, Charl Schwartzel, to win his first tournament of the year.

Now he’s enjoying some downtime and the celebrity twirl that follows on from being the man who completed the comeback.

There was an appearance on one of the biggest television shows in Germany, for example. It is called I Bet That I Can, in which members of the general public bet they can do certain unlikely things and Hollywood and sporting stars have to decide whether they can or not.

Nothing put in front of Kaymer by Joe Public could have been as unlikely as the idea that he would end up on Sunday at Medinah as the man feted by all and sundry.

Who would possibly have bet on that on Saturday, when Kaymer sat out both sessions and, on the advice of assistant captain Darren Clarke, sought out his hero, Bernhard Langer, for some serious counselling.

‘I hadn’t played well on Friday and was desperate to show what I could do on Saturday, so you can imagine how I felt when I was told I wasn’t playing,’ he said.

‘Bernhard was a huge help. He reminded me in no uncertain terms what team play is all about.’

Trophy life: Graeme McDowell, Kaymer and Justin Rose enjoy one of the more remarkable comebacks in Ryder Cup history

Trophy life: Graeme McDowell, Kaymer and Justin Rose enjoy one of the more remarkable comebacks in Ryder Cup history

As Sunday afternoon unfolded dramatically, it began to dawn on Kaymer that he might end up in the spot occupied by Graeme McDowell last time. From the forgotten man the previous day, he had become the one all his team-mates were relying on.

‘I think for the last 90 minutes I knew that it would probably come down to my match,’ he recalled.

‘On the 14th I was looking at the board and I was all square, Francesco (Molinari) in the last match against Tiger Woods was all square and I was counting the points we had got.

‘I could see that something huge was potentially unfolding. One, two, three, four points, on I went but I knew we needed at least a point from me, or two half-points from Francesco and me.

‘The last three holes were great, the excitement was beautiful. On the 17th I had a four-footer that I had to hole and, when that went in, it gave me a lot of belief.’

It is entirely typical of Kaymer that he admits feeling uncomfortable at the amount of praise that has flowed his way.

‘I was a little surprised afterwards at how many people came up and congratulated me,’ he said.

Trump card: Ian Poulter gave Europe a glimpse on Saturday afternoon as five birdies ensured a point in the fourballs to make it 10-6

Trump card: Ian Poulter gave Europe a glimpse on Saturday afternoon as five birdies ensured a point in the fourballs to make it 10-6

‘Obviously I made the last putt but at the end of the day I got only one point and I played in only two matches. There were other guys, they inspired the team a lot more than me. I mean, what Ian Poulter did on Saturday afternoon is very difficult to put into words. He deserves a lot more credit than anyone else.'

So to the 18th hole and that cauldron of noise. Kaymer must still be able to hear the cries of ‘Miss it! Miss it!’ even now.

‘I
could hear people trying to put me off but it wasn’t distracting me,’
he said. ‘You are so much in the moment. I thought of what Jose Maria
(Olazabal) had told me in very straightforward, very strict sentences.
This is why I want you on the team. We need your win, so please
deliver.’

And deliver he did, with two perfect blows to strike fear into the heart of his opponent, Steve Stricker.

Then, after the putt Kaymer couldn’t believe travelled fully five feet past the hole, came the one that will define him.

In the weeks that have followed,
Kaymer has watched it countless times. ‘I’m a great believer in watching
things that make you happy,’ he said.

‘It was a great party on the green there, wasn’t it’

Rio Ferdinand coin: Ryan Giggs wants to avoid repeat of ugly scenes in Manchester derby

United veteran Giggs wants clubs and authorities to ensure ugly post-derby scenes aren't repeated

|

UPDATED:

00:16 GMT, 12 December 2012

Manchester United winger Ryan Giggs says it is up to the clubs, police and the Football Association to ensure the scenes witnessed in the Manchester derby at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday are not repeated.

Team-mate Rio Ferdinand was struck by a coin near his eye following Robin van Persie's late winner, before a Manchester City fan entered the pitch to confront the centre half.

The incident is being investigated by both the FA and Greater Manchester Police, with the fan in question – 21-year-old Matthew Stott – facing a lifetime ban from the ground if found guilty in court of a charge of pitch encroachment.

Escalated: Manchester United won the derby in the dying moments before coins were thrown at players and a fan ran onto the pitch (above)

Escalated: Manchester United won the derby in the dying moments before coins were thrown at players and a fan ran onto the pitch (above)

When Ferdinand, who was able to complete the match, left the pitch after the final whistle he was seen to have an object in his hand which he showed to referee Martin Atkinson before he threw it to the ground.

Giggs watched the incident unfold from the bench and can understand the anger felt by Ferdinand, having himself been in a similar position in the past.

'No it's (the incident) is not isolated,' he told United's official podcast, Red Voices.

'The manager touched on it. I got hit at Chelsea when Chicharito scored.

'It happens. I think it's tough for someone to get hit in the face, for everyone to sort of make a big thing out of it.

'It's not just one club, it's not just City, it's not just Chelsea. Every club, the excitement and the passion we all want but we don't want it to tip over the edge.

Marred: United's victory was overshadowed when Rio Ferdinand was cut by a coin

Marred: United's victory was overshadowed when Rio Ferdinand was cut by a coin

Ouch: A flare was also chucked onto the pitch by Manchester City fans after Robin van Persie (left) scored the winner

Ouch: A flare was also chucked onto the pitch by Manchester City fans after Robin van Persie (left) scored the winner

'A centimetre either side and Rio loses an eye, it's so dangerous. We don't want to see it. It is up to the clubs and the police, the FA to do everything in our power to make sure it doesn't happen again.'

Ferdinand has been criticised for celebrating Van Persie's winner in front of the home fans, but Giggs feels the way the supporters are segregated and the importance of the goal makes it almost impossible not to do so.

'First of all it's tough at City because their hardcore supporters are right next to our supporters,” he added.

'When they are so close together how can you determine whether you just celebrating in front of United fans

Ugly: The scenes marred what was otherwise a thrilling Manchester derby

Ugly: The scenes marred what was otherwise a thrilling Manchester derby

'When you score a goal like that you don't have control of yourself. As a player you want to celebrate.

'If you just scored that goal and walked back to the centre circle, United fans would want to know “what's going on there”. The manager would be like “what you doing Celebrate”.

'We have stamped it out going into the crowd, you get an instant booking.

'You have still got to enjoy that sort of experience, but obviously the players and fans can't go too far.'

Danish Kaneria spot-fixing appeal hearing adjourned

Spot-fixing appeal hearing for Kaneria's lifetime ban adjourned

|

UPDATED:

18:16 GMT, 10 December 2012

Adjourned: Danish Kaneria will discover the outcome of his case next year

Adjourned: Danish Kaneria will discover the outcome of his case next year

The hearing for Danish Kaneria's appeal against the lifetime ban handed down to him by an England and Wales Cricket Board Disciplinary Panel was today adjourned, with the case expected to resume in the new year.

The adjournment came following legal submissions from both sides in London and a new date for the hearing will be agreed in due course.

Kaneria was given the ban in June for his role in a spot-fixing plot.

The 31-year-old Pakistan leg-spinner was found guilty of 'cajoling and pressurising' former Essex team-mate Mervyn Westfield into accepting cash in return for trying to concede a set number of runs in an over during a Pro 40 match in 2009.

Kaneria denies all involvement in the plot and after the hearing in June he immediately indicated his intention to appeal.

Top Spin

The Pakistan Cricket Board said in
July that he would be suspended from playing in his home country until
the outcome of the appeal was known.

Witnesses are yet to be called in the appeal hearing.

Tottenham Hotspur manager Andre Villas-Boas condemns West Ham anti-semitic chanting

Villas-Boas condemns West Ham anti-semitic chants as 'complete stupidity'

|

UPDATED:

14:55 GMT, 27 November 2012

Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas has criticised West Ham fans for the level of aggression in their chanting and branded the anti-semitic songs as ‘complete stupidity’.

Villas-Boas, who could hear the abuse from the dug out during Tottenham’s 3-1 defeat of their London rivals on Sunday, said: ‘The level of aggression with the chanting goes out of proportion. It’s complete stupidity.’

But he also extended his gratitude to the Football Association and the club for the speed with which they have acted – and the severity of the threats.

Critical: Tottenham boss Andre Villas-Boas has condemned anti-semitic chanting by West Ham fans as 'complete stupidity'

Critical: Tottenham boss Andre Villas-Boas has condemned anti-semitic chanting by West Ham fans as 'complete stupidity'

‘I think I’m grateful for the quickness with which both clubs have gone into the matter, plus the FA and the police,’ he added.

‘I think West Ham set an example by giving a lifetime ban to the fan.’

Although clearly insisting a number of West Ham supporters had crossed the line, Villas-Boas defended the supporters’ right to voice their opinion about the club and criticise personnel within reason.

‘The fans have a right to everything, in my opinion. They are the ones who breathe the biggest passion for their football club.

‘They are entitled to whatever they want to; to say whatever they want; to chant whatever they want to chant. This can lift and encourage the players and produce negativity and positivity. It’s all down to them.

No love lost: West Ham fans reportedly taunted Tottenham supporters about the stabbings in Rome last week and sang songs about Adolf Hitler

No love lost: West Ham fans reportedly taunted Tottenham supporters about the stabbings in Rome last week and sang songs about Adolf Hitler

‘Football is about them (the fans) and it’s about their passion. They have the right more than anybody to show any kind of feeling.

‘We have to take it. Sometimes you don’t like what you hear but that’s life. It’s what makes us tick, too. We’re professionals of the game and we give everything for them (the fans). We always need to retribute them with what they expect.’

Meanwhile, Martin Jol branded the racist chants from West Ham fans at Tottenham on Sunday as 'embarrassing'.

The Fulham manager was disgusted with the behaviour of some West Ham fans during the match and supported banning those involved for life.

He said: 'I feel that you should not tolerate that and I don't think Spurs and even West Ham won't tolerate that. We all talk about discrimination and we want to get it right in this country, but this is almost embarrassing. What happened at Spurs is very important, you have to talk about it and you have to try to ban it and other little issues as well.'

'Embarrassing': Fulham manager Martin Jol also joined in the condemnation of the chanting, saying those responsible should be banned for life

'Embarrassing': Fulham manager Martin Jol also joined in the condemnation of the chanting, saying those responsible should be banned for life

West Ham released a statement yesterday saying that one of the fans involved 'has since been identified as a Season Ticket holder and has been sent a letter containing a banning order from the club. Any other individuals identified can expect a similar swift and robust response.'

Jol agrees with the club banning for life from Upton Park the fans they can identify as being involved in the anti-Semitic chants at the weekend.

The 56-year-old added: 'I think that is the right thing to ban the players for life if you know who did that. I think you have to ban them from football stadiums so it’s good to hear that. Here, for example, it is totally different. We won't tolerate that. It was, of course, away fans and what can you do about it At times we could be very vulnerable as managers as well as players. And you have to accept that.'

Lyle follows Torrance, Montgomerie and Lawrie into Scottish Hall of Fame

Lyle follows Torrance, Montgomerie and Lawrie into Scottish Hall of Fame

|

UPDATED:

00:40 GMT, 2 November 2012

Two-time major champion Sandy Lyle will receive a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2013 Scottish Golf Awards.

Lyle will be granted the honour at a
celebration of Scottish Golf's achievements over the past 12 months on
March 1, 2013 in Glasgow, 25 years after winning The Masters at Augusta.

Top man: Sandy Lyle

Top man: Sandy Lyle

The 54-year-old, who also won the 1985 Open and featured in five Ryder Cup tournaments, said: 'It is an honour to receive such a prestigious award from the Scottish golfing public.'

Lyle will follow Sam Torrance, Colin Montgomerie and Paul Lawrie into the Hall of Fame.

Lance Armstrong has ruined his sport – Daley Thompson

Despicable cheat Armstrong has shattered dreams and ruined his sport

|

UPDATED:

21:46 GMT, 12 October 2012

Armstrong: No sign of contrition

Armstrong: No sign of contrition

We all want to believe that some people can fly. That’s why we love sport. But Lance Armstrong has shattered that illusion.

He has cheated sport – not just cycling – by committing the most sophisticated crime in sporting history.

I don’t know how he can sleep. When he was committing that kind of fraud, on that kind of scale, I just can’t get my head round how anybody could pretend it’s all OK.

Saying he was only doing it because so was everyone else is not a valid excuse. He’s got kids, too. How does he face them every day and not just burst into tears

This summer was brilliant for me because
my younger children have seen me involved in the Olympics and now they
understand how I feel about sport, why it matters and why I’m a sports
maniac. But I couldn’t face my 10-year-old if I had done all of the
things Armstrong has done.

He forced young professional cyclists to
get on his programme. It’s one thing doing it yourself but it’s another
surrounding yourself with good pros, forcing them to cheat and enticing
younger cyclists into your world.

Imagine that was your child. He’s 21 years old and he gets an opportunity of a lifetime to train with Armstrong. He’s got no chance. It’s so easy to fall into that trap because no-one wants – or dares – to speak out against the programme, so it’s allowed to fester.

It was almost the perfect crime and Armstrong nearly got away with it. He cheated on an industrial scale and it seems to me cycling’s governing body, the International Cycling Union, have been compliant in it. Why has it taken so long to catch him

Long chase: It has taken far too long to catch Armstrong

Long chase: It has taken far too long to catch Armstrong

This really concerns me. Why didn’t the
UCI report him They shouldn’t be overseeing the sport if they turned a
blind eye to what was going on, year after year. They just saw Armstrong
and his army of sponsors, how much money and profile he brought the
sport, and thought he was too big to kick out.

Someone needs to be made accountable. Cycling needs to have good people running it, now more than ever.

Lots of people knew but didn’t say anything. There are other people who need to pay some kind of price for this, too – not just the drug-takers.

I have to take my hat off to the US Anti-Doping Agency because – although I’ve said for many years their parent body, the World Anti-Doping Agency, isn’t fit for purpose – they have done a magnificent job. So have journalists such as Paul Kimmage and David Walsh.

What Armstrong did in cycling enabled him to help and inspire many people and that’s brilliant, but it was built on lies. For me, that overshadows everything he’s done away from sport.

Tainted: Armstrong's charity work is massively overshadowed

Tainted: Armstrong's charity work is massively overshadowed

I hope he’s remembered as a cheat and
not a hero. He might have earned tens of millions of dollars for himself
and his charity but it’s all been based on deception.

Yet there still doesn’t seem to be any sign of contrition. If Armstrong admitted it and started talking – if he showed he realises how wrong it all was – some would be prepared to forgive. But he’s so insistent he’s done nothing wrong. He was never a hero of mine, but it leaves me feeling flat.

Good people such as Britain’s Tour de France champion Bradley Wiggins and Team Sky general manager Dave Brailsford can help put cycling back up where it should be, but it will take time.

I would prefer to see Wiggins stay clean and perhaps go a bit slower than see those other frauds recording faster times. You might as well just let their chemists race instead.

What we want to see is endeavour by athletes; how far they can push themselves. If they can fly. It’s something pure, not artificial like Armstrong’s performances. He has not just cheated cycling, he has cheated sport.

Lance Armstrong doping case: 11 team-mates testify against him

Armstrong's team-mates reveal former champion was involved in 'the most sophisticated, professionalised and successful doping programme in sport'

|

UPDATED:

17:01 GMT, 10 October 2012

Lance Armstrong's US Postal Service Pro Cycling Team 'ran the most sophisticated, professionalised and successful doping programme that sport has ever seen', the United States Anti-Doping Agency said.

USADA chief executive Travis T Tygart said in a statement that there was 'conclusive and undeniable proof' of a team-run doping conspiracy.

Eleven of Armstrong's former team-mates testified against him, Tygart said.

Shamed: Lance Armstrong was stripped of his Tour de France titles

Shamed: Lance Armstrong was stripped of his Tour de France titles

USADA are sending their 'reasoned decision' in the Armstrong case to the International Cycling Union, the World Anti-Doping Agency and the World Triathlon Corporation.

This will be the explanation for their decision to strip the retired cyclist, who now competes in triathlons, of his seven Tour de France titles and hand him a lifetime ban.

The evidence, Tygart said, was 'overwhelming' and 'in excess over 1000 pages'.

'The evidence shows beyond any doubt that the US Postal Service Pro Cycling Team ran the most sophisticated, professionalised and successful doping program that sport has ever seen.'

Disgraced: Armstrong's career achievements have been tarnished

Disgraced: Armstrong's career achievements have been tarnished

He said it contains 'direct documentary evidence including financial payments, emails, scientific data and laboratory test results that further prove the use, possession and distribution of performance enhancing drugs by Lance Armstrong and confirm the disappointing truth about the deceptive activities of the USPS Team, a team that received tens of millions of American taxpayer dollars in funding'.

Tygart also claimed the team's doping
conspiracy 'was professionally designed to groom and pressure athletes
to use dangerous drugs, to evade detection, to ensure its secrecy and
ultimately gain an unfair competitive advantage through superior doping
practices'.

Twenty-six people in total, he said, gave sworn testimony.

End of the road: Armstrong has been accused of being involved in a sophisticated doping programme

End of the road: Armstrong has been accused of being involved in a sophisticated doping programme

Among the former team-mates who did so were Tyler Hamilton and Floyd Landis.

The other team-mates who gave evidence against Armstrong were Frankie Andreu, Michael Barry, Tom Danielson, George Hincapie, Levi Leipheimer, Stephen Swart, Christian Vande Velde, Jonathan Vaughters and David Zabriskie.

Tygart praised those riders involved in the 'doping conspiracy' for having 'tremendous courage' to come forward and 'stop perpetuating the sporting fraud'.

He said: 'I have personally talked
with and heard these athletes' stories and firmly believe that,
collectively, these athletes, if forgiven and embraced, have a chance to
leave a legacy far greater for the good of the sport than anything they
ever did on a bike.

'Lance Armstrong was given the same opportunity to come forward and be part of the solution. He rejected it.

Floyd Landis

Tyler Hamilton

Testifying: Armstrong's former team-mates Floyd Landis and Tyler Hamilton

'Instead he exercised his legal right
not to contest the evidence and knowingly accepted the imposition of a
ban from recognised competition for life and disqualification of his
competitive results from 1998 forward.'

The USADA chief also called on the
International Cycling Union (UCI) to 'act on its own recent suggestion
for a meaningful Truth and Reconciliation programme'.

He said such a scheme might be the only way the sport can 'unshackle itself from the past'.

Tested: Lance Armstrong walks out of the doping control center during the 2002 Tour De France

Tested: Lance Armstrong walks out of the doping control center during the 2002 Tour De France

Tygart added: 'We have heard from many athletes who have faced an unfair
dilemma – dope, or don't compete at the highest levels of the sport.
Many of them abandoned their dreams and left sport because they refused
to endanger their health and participate in doping. That is a tragic
choice no athlete should have to make.'

USADA confirmed two other members of
the USPS team, Dr Michele Ferrari and Dr Garcia del Moral, also received
lifetime bans for their part in the doping conspiracy.

Three further members, team director
Johan Bruyneel, a team doctor Dr Pedro Celaya and team trainer Jose
Marti have chosen to contest the charges and take their cases to
arbitration.

FULL STATEMENT FROM USADA

Today, we are sending the 'Reasoned Decision' in the Lance Armstrong case and supporting information to the Union Cycliste International (UCI), the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), and the World Triathlon Corporation (WTC). The evidence shows beyond any doubt that the US Postal Service Pro Cycling Team ran the most sophisticated, professionalized and successful doping programme that sport has ever seen.

The evidence of the US Postal Service Pro Cycling Team-run scheme is overwhelming and is in excess of 1,000 pages, and includes sworn testimony from 26 people, including 15 riders with knowledge of the US Postal Service Team (USPS Team) and its participants' doping activities.

The evidence also includes direct documentary evidence including financial payments, emails, scientific data and laboratory test results that further prove the use, possession and distribution of performance enhancing drugs by Lance Armstrong and confirm the disappointing truth about the deceptive activities of the USPS Team, a team that received tens of millions of American taxpayer dollars in funding.

Together these different categories of eyewitness, documentary, first-hand, scientific, direct and circumstantial evidence reveal conclusive and undeniable proof that brings to the light of day for the first time this systemic, sustained and highly professionalised team-run doping conspiracy. All of the material will be made available later this afternoon on the USADA website at www.usada.org.

The USPS Team doping conspiracy was professionally designed to groom and pressure athletes to use dangerous drugs, to evade detection, to ensure its secrecy and ultimately gain an unfair competitive advantage through superior doping practices. A programme organised by individuals who thought they were above the rules and who still play a major and active role in sport today.

The evidence demonstrates that the 'code of silence' of performance enhancing drug use in the sport of cycling has been shattered, but there is more to do. From day one, we always hoped this investigation would bring to a close this troubling chapter in cycling's history and we hope the sport will use this tragedy to prevent it from ever happening again.

Of course, no-one wants to be chained to the past forever, and I would call on the UCI to act on its own recent suggestion for a meaningful truth and reconciliation programme. While we appreciate the arguments that weigh in favour of and against such a program, we believe that allowing individuals like the riders mentioned today to come forward and acknowledge the truth about their past doping may be the only way to truly dismantle the remaining system that allowed this 'EPO and blood doping era' to flourish. Hopefully, the sport can unshackle itself from the past, and once and for all continue to move forward to a better future.

Our mission is to protect clean athletes by preserving the integrity of competition not only for today's athletes but also the athletes of tomorrow. We have heard from many athletes who have faced an unfair dilemma – dope, or don't compete at the highest levels of the sport. Many of them abandoned their dreams and left sport because they refused to endanger their health and participate in doping. That is a tragic choice no athlete should have to make.

It took tremendous courage for the riders on the USPS Team and others to come forward and speak truthfully. It is not easy to admit your mistakes and accept your punishment. But that is what these riders have done for the good of the sport, and for the young riders who hope to one day reach their dreams without using dangerous drugs or methods.

These eleven (11) team-mates of Lance Armstrong, in alphabetical order, are Frankie Andreu, Michael Barry, Tom Danielson, Tyler Hamilton, George Hincapie, Floyd Landis, Levi Leipheimer, Stephen Swart, Christian Vande Velde, Jonathan Vaughters and David Zabriskie.

The riders who participated in the USPS Team doping conspiracy and truthfully assisted have been courageous in making the choice to stop perpetuating the sporting fraud, and they have suffered greatly. In addition to the public revelations, the active riders have been suspended and disqualified appropriately in line with the rules.

In some part, it would have been easier for them if it all would just go away; however, they love the sport, and they want to help young athletes have hope that they are not put in the position they were – to face the reality that in order to climb to the heights of their sport they had to sink to the depths of dangerous cheating.

I have personally talked with and heard these athletes' stories and firmly believe that, collectively, these athletes, if forgiven and embraced, have a chance to leave a legacy far greater for the good of the sport than anything they ever did on a bike.

Lance Armstrong was given the same opportunity to come forward and be part of the solution. He rejected it.

Instead he exercised his legal right not to contest the evidence and knowingly accepted the imposition of a ban from recognised competition for life and disqualification of his competitive results from 1998 forward.

The entire factual and legal basis on the outcome in his case and the other six active riders' cases will be provided in the materials made available online later today. Two other members of the USPS Team, Dr Michele Ferrari and Dr Garcia del Moral, also received lifetime bans for perpetrating this doping conspiracy.

Three other members of the USPS Team have chosen to contest the charges and take their cases to arbitration: Johan Bruyneel, the team director; Dr Pedro Celaya, a team doctor; and Jose 'Pepe' Marti, the team trainer. These three individuals will receive a full hearing before independent judges, where they will have the opportunity to present and confront the evidence, cross-examine witnesses and testify under oath in a public proceeding.

From day one in this case, as in every potential case, the USADA board of directors and professional staff did the job we are mandated to do for clean athletes and the integrity of sport. We focused solely on finding the truth without being influenced by celebrity or non-celebrity, threats, personal attacks or political pressure because that is what clean athletes deserve and demand.'

LANCE ARMSTRONG FACTFILE

1971: Born September 18, in Dallas.

1991: Signs with Subaru-Montgomery and becomes US national amateur champion.

1993: Crowned US national champion. Wins first stage in Tour de France but fails to finish. Beats Miguel Indurain to win world championship.

1994: Wins Liege-Bastogne-Liege spring classic.

1996: October 2 – Diagnosed with testicular cancer. The disease later spreads through his whole body. Founds Lance Armstrong Foundation for Cancer.

1997: Declared cancer-free after brain surgery and chemotherapy. Signs with US Postal Service team after being dropped by Cofidis.

1998: Wins Tours of Holland and Luxembourg.

1999: Claims first Tour de France title, winning four stages.

2000: Wins second Tour. Secures time-trial bronze in Sydney Olympics.

2001: Victorious in Tour of Switzerland.

July 29: Becomes only the fifth rider to win three Tour de France titles in a row.

2002: Wins Dauphine Libere and Midi Libre.

July 28: Becomes only the fourth person to win four successive Tour de France titles.

Lance Armstrong and Floyd Landis

2003: Equals the record of five victories in the Tour de France, but is pushed to his limit by German Jan Ullrich, who finishes just 61 seconds off the pace.

2004: July 25 – Clinches record sixth Tour de France victory.

2005: July 24 – Wins his seventh Tour de France, two more than anyone else, before retiring.

September 6 – Claims he is considering coming out of retirement after being angered by drug allegations against him.

2008: September 9 – Announces he will return to professional cycling and will attempt to win his eighth Tour de France in 2009.

2009: March 23 – Suffers a broken right collarbone when he crashes out on stage one of the Vuelta a Castilla y Leon in Spain.

May – Appears in first Giro d'Italia, finishing 12th. Tour is somewhat marred by financial cloud over Armstrong's Astana team and the American is linked to a takeover.

June – Astana's financial issues are resolved and Armstrong is named in the Tour de France team, but with 2007 champion Alberto Contador of Spain as leader.

July – Contador and Armstrong endure a fractious relationship. Contador claims a second Tour title, while Armstrong finishes third. Armstrong announces he will launch his own squad in 2010, Team Radio Shack.

2010: January – Team Radio Shack make their debut at the Tour Down Under in Australia. Armstrong finishes 25th overall.

Lance Armstrong riding on the Champs Elysees

May – Armstrong's former US Postal team-mate Floyd Landis, who was stripped of the 2006 Tour de France title for doping, launches allegations at the Texan.

June 28 – Announces that the 2010 Tour de France will be his last.

July – Finishes final Tour in 23rd place, 39 minutes and 20 seconds behind winner Contador.

2011: February 16 – Announces retirement for second time.

May – Forced to deny claims made by former team-mate Tyler Hamilton that they took performance-enhancing drugs together.

2012: February 4 – An investigation into alleged doping by Armstrong is dropped by federal prosecutors in California.

June 13 – The United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) confirm they have initiated legal proceedings over allegations of doping against Armstrong.

June 30 – The USADA confirm they will file formal doping charges against Armstrong.

July 9 – Armstrong files a lawsuit in a US federal court asking for a temporary restraining order against the agency. Armstrong also claims the USADA offered “corrupt inducements” to other cyclists to testify against him.

July 11 – Armstrong refiles lawsuit against the USADA after initial lawsuit was dismissed by a judge as being a “lengthy and bitter polemic”, designed to attract media attention and public sympathy.

August 20 – Armstrong's legal action against the USADA dismissed in court.

August 24 – Armstrong announces he will not fight the doping charges filed against him by the USADA, saying in a statement he is “finished with this nonsense” and insisting he is innocent. He is stripped of all his titles banned for life from cycling by USADA.

October 10 – USADA claim 11 of Armstrong's former team-mates have testified against him. The organisation say the US Postal Service team “ran the most sophisticated, professionalised and successful doping programme that sport has ever seen”, with “conclusive and undeniable proof” of a team-run doping conspiracy.

Olly Barkley to join Racing Metro 92

Barkley says au revoir to Bath and confirms deal with Racing Metro

|

UPDATED:

13:23 GMT, 20 September 2012

French fancy: Barkley will join Racing Metro at the end of the month

French fancy: Barkley will join Racing Metro at the end of the month

Bath have confirmed that fly-half Olly Barkley will move to French club Racing Metro 92 at the end of the month.

The 30-year-old England international will join the Paris-based outfit as a medical joker after Bath's Premiership fixture against Sale at the Recreation Ground on September 29.

Barkley, who is also available for this weekend's visit to London Irish, paid tribute to the Somerset club but said that moving to France was an offer he could not refuse.

'Bath Rugby is in my heart and it always will be,' Barkley said. 'When I no longer play the game, this will be the club I come to watch.

'I will be forever a Bath boy but this, for me, was simply the opportunity of a lifetime and one I just couldn't ignore. I will miss the club always, and I wish all of my mates here the very best.

He added: 'I'd like to thank the club for their understanding, and also the Bath supporters who have been amazing to me in my time here.'

Barkley, who has won 23 caps but does not feature in the current England Elite or Saxons squads, answers an injury SOS for Racing less than a month from launching a Heineken Cup campaign that sees them in the same group as Saracens, Munster and Edinburgh.

Out of favour: Barkley has not played for England since 2008

Out of favour: Barkley has not played for England since 2008

Juan Martin Hernandez is currently on Rugby Championship duty with Argentina, while two other No 10s – Jonathan Wisniewski and Benjamin Dambielle – are nursing long-term injuries.

The move to France brings to an end Barkley's second spell with Bath after he rejoined them from Gloucester in 2009.

His latest stint at the Rec saw him suffer a broken leg on two separate occasions, but he is now fully fit and had appeared to be a key part of a squad under the coaching direction of South African Gary Gold.

'Barks is a great bloke and a top player. I could not have been more impressed with both his attitude and his incredibly professional approach since I arrived at the club,' said Gold.

'Every now and then an offer lands on the table that a bloke just can't refuse. We are sorry to see him go, but he goes with our blessing. He will always be welcome here.'

Bath have also confirmed they have signed hooker Brett Sharman on a short-term loan as injury cover for Rob Webber.

Lance Armstrong rides at Power of Four mountain race despite ban

Banned 'drugs cheat' Armstrong back on the bike one day after being stripped of titles

|

UPDATED:

17:02 GMT, 25 August 2012

Banned Lance Armstrong put in a show of defiance as he climbed back on his bike just one day after his reputation was destroyed by a damning doping verdict.

The American, who was sensationally stripped of his record seven Tour de France titles on Friday and banned for life by the US Anti-Doping Agency, took part in the Power of Four mountain race in Snowmass Village in Colorado on Saturday.

The 40-year-old opted not to challenge the US Anti-Doping
Agency's charges against him, claiming to be 'finished with all this
nonsense' after a long-running battle against allegations of cheating.

Back in the saddle: Lance Armstrong prepares to take part in the Power of Four mountain race at the starting line in Snowmass Village, Colorado

Back in the saddle: Lance Armstrong prepares to take part in the Power of Four mountain race at the starting line in Snowmass Village, Colorado

The race was the first public appearance for Armstrong since the US Anti-Doping Association stripped him of his seven Tour de France championships and banned him for life

Armstrong was earlier backed by his ong-time friend Jim Ochowicz. who insisted he had earned every victory he has achieved over the course of his career despite his decision not to contest doping charges.

The USADA have stripped him of all his titles and imposed a lifetime ban, although that still has to be ratified by the sport's governing body, who could take the decision to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

Until then, though, questions remain over Armstrong's previously illustrious legacy, but Ochowicz, who has mentored Armstrong throughout his career and is the current manager of BMW Racing, is not buying in to that.

Taking part: Armstrong is banned but made an appearance in the mountain race

Defiance: The race was the first public appearance for Armstrong since the US Anti-Doping Association stripped him of his seven Tour de France championships and banned him for life

Good to talk: Armstrong prepares to take part in the race

All smiles: Despite the controversy, Arsmtrong appeared relaxed

All smiles: Despite the controversy, Arsmtrong appeared relaxed

'I think Lance did a lot for the sport. We're all grateful to him for what he's done. I think he's earned every victory he's had,” he said in a statement.

'It's a tough day for cycling but we're going to carry on from here. I'm a friend of Lance's. I support his decision to call it. He's done so much for our sport over the years.

'I'm sad about what's transpired but at the same time, I wish him luck with his family. I love them, I love him.'

Armstrong, who was charged along with
five associates in June, sought a temporary restraining order against
the agency's legal action but that was dismissed in a federal court in
Austin, Texas on Monday.

USADA
claim once that action failed Armstrong had until midnight on Thursday
to contest the evidence against him in an arbitrary hearing, and was
fully aware of the consequences of not doing so.

The statement revealed that over a
dozen witnesses, up to 10 of whom are believed to be former team-mates,
had agreed to testify against Armstrong.

It
also claimed the USADA received evidence Armstrong was doping in 1996,
prior to his battle with testicular cancer, which set his Tour triumphs
in the most heroic of contexts, and in 2009, after making his return to
the sport following his initial retirement.

Centre of attention: Armstrong is surrounded by fellow riders ahead of the race

Centre of attention: Armstrong is surrounded by fellow riders ahead of the race