Once upon a time, Lance Armstrong was considered one of the greatest athletes of all time. His comeback story was truly inspirational. The now-infamous cyclist survived testicular cancer, overcame many odds to return, and won seven-straight Tour de France titles. He was an icon, but then everything came crashing down.
In August 2012, after a two-year investigation by the federal government, Armstrong's life was turned upside down. He was the face of a doping scandal and accused of using performance-enhancing drugs. His career was over.
The professional cyclist was stripped of his Tour de France wins, records, prize money, an Olympic medal, and was banned for life by the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) and Union Cyclist Internationale (UIC).
It was a hit on Armstrong's reputation, his place in sports history and, ultimately, his net worth.
Lance Armstrong Career & Sponsors
Before he became a beloved professional road racing cyclist, Lance Edward Armstrong, who was born to Linda Gayle and Eddie Charles Gunderson, was a well-known triathlete in Plano, Texas -- a suburb of Dallas. He was even a national sprint-course triathlon champion, but eventually decided to shift from professional triathlete to competitive cycling.
No matter the trek, Armstrong was a warrior. He won some of biggest races in the world, including the World Road Race Championship and Tour DuPont as the leader of the Motorola cycling team. He even competed in the 1992 and 1996 Summer Olympics, but then his career took a turn.
Armstrong was diagnosed with testicular cancer at just 25-years old in October 1996. Tumors spread to his abdomen, lungs, and lymph nodes--giving him a low chance of survival. He also had a testicle removed and started chemotherapy with the hope to one day return to cycling.
That, obviously, was easier said than done. He lost his big deal and $600,000 salary with Team Confidis before eventually signing to be on the U.S. Postal Service and Discovery cycling team for $200,000 annually.
Armstrong's career took off from there. He captured his first Tour de France in 1999, won seven in a row, and retired from racing in 2005. Armstrong returned, but officially called it quits in 2011.
For years, there were doping allegations surrounding Armstrong. How could an athlete, especially a cancer survivor, be that dominant? The rumors got even more intense when Floyd Landis -- a member of the U.S. Postal Service team -- was stripped of his Tour de France title for drug use and accused Armstrong of doing the same.
Turns out, they were all true, and it tarnished his legacy.
Lance Armstrong Endorsements
In a 2013 interview with Oprah Winfrey, after years of denial, Lance Armstrong admitted to using performance-enhancing drugs, including EPO. The confession certainly hurt his image even more publicly, especially on social media, but the damage was already done.
Armstrong's major sponsors including Nike, Oakley, Trek and Anheuser Busch all left him. According to Celebrity Net Worth, losing his endorsement deals and sponsorships could have cost him $75 million. He also stepped down from the Lance Armstrong Foundation (now called Livestrong Foundation), which has raised nearly $500 million for cancer research over the years.
Most recently, Armstrong settled with the U.S. government for $5 million.
Needless to say, the financial hit was massive, but Armstrong struck gold in the market.
Lance Armstrong Uber Investment
Sometimes it's better to be lucky than good. That even goes for Lance Armstrong. After talking with Chris Sacca, who started the venture capital firm LOWERCASE Capital, Armstrong decided to invest. He told CNBC he didn't know what Sacca was buying, but it turned out to be Uber.
Armstrong's $100,000 investment has turned into somewhere between $20 million and $30 million.
Armstrong admitted it saved his family.
Lance Armstrong Net Worth
Lance Armstrong's life has been a roller coaster. He's reached the top of the mountain and been at rock bottom. His net worth is certainly a reflection of that.
Armstrong, who lives primarily in Austin, Texas, has married and divorced his ex-wife Kristin Richard, got engaged to Sheryl Crow, and has five children total, including two with longtime girlfriend and current fiancee Anna Hansen.
According to Celebrity Net Worth, Armstrong was worth approximately $125 million at the peak of his career. That has dropped considerably, but thanks to Uber, Lance Armstrong's net worth is approximately $50 million today.
His story was featured in an ESPN documentary, which was released during the coronavirus pandemic in 2020.
Lance Armstrong was an American hero and success story after winning the Tour de France following becoming cancer-free. He lost it all when his professional cycling career was tarnished forever. At least he still has some money in the bank, however.
This post was originally published on May 31, 2020.
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