Armstrong's foe says finding truth the No. 1 goal
TribLIVE Sports Videos
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Even those who don't recognize his name will almost certainly know what Travis Tygart has been up to lately.
To put it simply, he's the man who's been making life difficult for Lance Armstrong.
Part teacher and part preacher for his cause, Tygart's official title is chief executive officer of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency. His mission: Make sports a sanctuary for finding out which athlete is most talented and has worked the hardest, not who's the best cheater.
Most recently, that mission has led Tygart to spearhead the case that's ended Armstrong's cycling and triathlon careers.
As it turns out, the man who became Armstrong's greatest adversary is like him in some ways.
“I saw at an early age that working hard is how you become successful,” said Tygart, who grew up in Florida. “Playing sports as a kid, I learned all the valuable lessons that I think sports should teach.”
To his critics, he is a hatchet man who ran a witch hunt to settle an old score against Armstrong — a foe who eluded sanctions for more than a decade.
“This isn't about Tygart wanting to clean up cycling,” Armstrong wrote in a letter to The Associated Press, before USADA ordered his seven Tour de France titles stripped. “Rather it's just a plain ol' selective prosecution that reeks of vendetta.”
USADA was formed in 2000 as a way of taking drug cases that were decided by the U.S. Olympic Committee and placing them in the hands of a group that would be run independently. The agency is partially funded by the USOC and partially by the government. It runs on an annual budget of about $14 million.
Tygart has worked on every major doping case of the past decade, including the investigation into the Bay Area Laboratory Co-operative, which resulted in the prosecution of Barry Bonds.
Among those caught in USADA's net over the years: 2006 Tour de France winner Floyd Landis; Olympic gold medalists Marion Jones and Justin Gatlin; cyclist Tyler Hamilton; all the players listed in the Mitchell Report, which documented doping in baseball and which was put together with Tygart's input. All have had their accomplishments stripped or brought into question.
Those who have known Tygart for years say the message doesn't change once the necktie comes off.
“Travis is passionate about sport,” said Rich Young, a partner at Bryan Cave LLP, who represents USADA as outside counsel and hired Tygart for that work in 2000. “He really gets the difference between true sport and circus.”
A native of Jacksonville, Fla., Tygart comes from a family well-respected in the Florida law community. After graduating with a philosophy degree from North Carolina, Tygart returned to Florida and taught high school government classes for three years, while also coaching baseball and basketball. From there, he went to Southern Methodist to get his law degree and begin the path toward becoming the single most powerful man in the U.S. anti-doping game.
Much has been made of death threats he received during the Armstrong investigation. Why does he keep on going?
“Because I've heard the stories from the athletes,” Tygart said. “I've heard them from the clean athletes who left their sport and felt personally robbed.”
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Prime time not kind to Heinz Field
- Woman’s body found in Mars home
- Penguins veteran defenseman Scuderi’s game looking up
- Starkey: Hockey hypocrites, unite
- Steelers offense puts up gaudy numbers in season’s 1st half
- Police: 2 anti-violence organizers beat ex-roomie in Washington
- State police trooper seriously hurt when hit by vehicle in East Huntingdon
- Clairton police rounding up street-level drug dealers
- Movie studio owner building in McKees Rocks is $540K in red
- Steelers notebook: Roethlisberger, offense must adjust with CB Smith out
- Profit falls at vitamin retailer GNC Holdings in third quarter