Ian Thorpe 'happy' at demise of Lance Armstrong
Australian swimming legend backs US drugs agency during Doha Goals sports conference
Agence France-Presse in Doha
Former Olympic swimming champion Ian Thorpe said he was "happy" at cycling star Lance Armstrong's downfall and congratulated the United States doping authorities who exposed the seven-time Tour de France winner as a drug cheat.
"I was happy. It shows that no matter who you are and whatever you do, you can fall," Thorpe said on the closing day of the Doha Goals sporting forum. The Australian legend paid tribute to the US Anti-Doping Agency (Usada) and its president Travis Tygart who was at the heart of revealing Armstrong's systematic doping that helped him become the biggest name in the sport.
Armstrong was stripped of his seven Tour de France titles and banned from the sport for life in October after Usada produced evidence of widespread doping by him and his former teammates.
Tygart, also attending the conference in Doha, said: "The culture that reigns in the United States and elsewhere is one of the reasons that led to doping.
"We have also uncovered doping in roller skating, a non-Olympic discipline. The sport has been carrying out very sophisticated doping programmes we have never seen before. They were carried out by the fathers and coaches. The fight against doping is at the centre of our debates here in Doha."
Thorpe, once suspected of taking banned substances before being cleared, added: "It's right that we talk about the possibility of seeing changes introduced to our society across the world of sport.
"To see doping means that we have not yet managed to protect our people."
The 2000 Olympic triple jump champion and world record holder, Jonathan Edwards, offered his viewpoints on the subject at the event.
"When people watch a competition, we do not know if it is fair and there is a great question over the credibility of the event," he said. "People need to believe in the athletes."