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Nike Is Cutting Ties To The Livestrong Charity

A 9-year relationship is ending between athletic apparel giant Nike and Livestrong, the cancer charity founded by cyclist Lance Armstrong before his career imploded because of evidence that he had been doping for more than a decade.

The Livestrong foundation confirmed Tuesday that its "partnership with Nike" is being dissolved.

News reports say it was Nike that wanted to break things off.

According to The Associated Press, "the move by the sports shoe and clothing company ends a relationship that began in 2004 and helped the foundation raise more than $100 million, making the charity's bracelet an international symbol for cancer survivors."

Nike will stop manufacturing Livestrong apparel after the 2013 holiday season, the AP says.

Livestrong parted ways with Armstrong last October, as did Nike, after the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency released 200 pages worth of material about what it said was "the most sophisticated, professionalized and successful doping program that sport has ever seen." Armstrong was at the center of that operation, USADA alleged.

Armstrong, a cancer survivor, founded the charity in 1997. After years of denials, he admitted in January that he had used performance-enhancing drugs during a cycling career that included seven Tour de France titles (which he has since been stripped of).

In its statement confirming Tuesday's news, Livestrong said it is "deeply grateful to Nike not only for the time and resources it invested in helping us improve the lives of people affected by cancer today, but also the creative drive it brought to our nine-year partnership."

The foundation added that "this news will prompt some to jump to negative conclusions about the foundation's future. We see things quite differently. We expected and planned for changes like this and are therefore in a good position to adjust swiftly and move forward with our patient-focused work. Because of our sound fiscal health, the foundation is well-positioned to continue to grow our free services for cancer patients and survivors that improve quality of life and access to care."

The AP reports that "the foundation said it reduced its budget nearly 11 percent in 2013 to $38.4 million, but [also] said Tuesday that revenue is already 2.5 percent ahead of projections. The foundation also noted that last month, it received a four-star rating from Charity Navigator, which evaluates charities based on financial health, accountability and transparency."

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