Australian Olympic Champion Ian Thorpe Celebrates Downfall of Lance Armstrong

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Ian Thorpe, one of the greatest Australian swimmers in the history of the sport, admitted that he was “happy” about the dramatic downfall of eight-time Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong. Thorpe made the comments regarding the “Lance-gate” doping scandal at the Doha GOALS (Gathering of all Leaders in Sport) sporting forum on December 12, 2012.

“I was happy. It shows that no matter who you are and whatever you do, you can fall,” Thorpe said.

Thorpe used the podium to praise another speaker in attendance at the Doha Goals forum – Travis Tygart, the chief executive officer for the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA). Tygart’s determination and obsession with Armstrong was considered the driving force behind the investigation that led to a lifetime ban for Armstrong.

Thorpe may have forgotten about his own problems with doping accusations in the months before his surprise retirement in November 2006.

A urine sample collected by the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority (ASADA) in May 2006 revealed an elevated testosterone:epitestosterone (T:E) ratio. The T:E ratio is used by anti-doping laboratories as a putative indicator of anabolic steroid (testosterone) use.

The T:E ratio of Thorpe’s ‘sample A’ was reportedly between 4:1 and 6:1. The ratio only slightly exceeded the 4:1 threshold established by the World Anti-Doping Code.

The tests also revealed high levels of luteinizing hormone (LH). This was somewhat surprising since the administration of exogenous anabolic steroids generally reduces levels of this pituitary hormone.

ASADA originally dismissed the case citing lack of medical evidence.

The results were not made public until the following year (April 2007) when L’Équipe, the French daily sports newspaper, leaked the news. L’Equipe is the same newspaper that printed numerous doping accusations against Armstrong during the course of his career.

Upon learning of the Thorpe’s positive steroid test, FINA, the world governing body for competitive swimming, questioned ASADA’s handling of the case. FINA considered the findings to be a clear adverse analytical positive.

The FINA Doping Control Review Board (DCRB) appealed ASADA’s dismissal of the case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).

An angry Thorpe responded to the L’Equipe leak by vehemently denying the use of banned performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs).

“I have never cheated and have always complied with my obligations to the anti-doping code to the letter, and I have prided myself on this. My reputation as a fair competitor is the most valuable thing I take out of my time in swimming,” said Thorpe. “I have complete confidence that all the medical and scientific evidence will establish that I am clean.”

Thorpe initially blamed the elevated testosterone and LH levels on an operation that he underwent to repair a broken hand.

ASADA was forced to re-open the investigation. But the agency ultimately affirmed its original conclusion.

The national anti-doping organization cleared Thorpe of using steroids based on unspecified medical evidence provided by Thorpe’s doctors.

As a result, Thorpe was able to maintain his legacy relatively untarnished. Thorpe was lucky that he didn’t meet Travis Tygart five years earlier. He probably would not have been singing his praises back then.


AFP. (December 13, 2012). Ian Thorpe “happy” at the downfall of Lance Armstrong. Retrieved from

Spits, S. (August 31, 2007). Thorpe cleared of doping. Retrieved from

Luebbers, M. (March 31, 2007). Is Ian Thorpe Guilty of Doping? Retrieved from