Armstrong, 41, who was stripped of his seven Tour de France wins and banned for life before later confessing to drug-taking throughout his career, had hoped to compete in a US Masters Swimming event in Austin this weekend.
However, Armstrong’s participation in the event was swiftly opposed by swimming’s governing body FINA, who said in a statement the cyclist should be barred from competing under anti-doping regulations.
Rob Butcher, the executive director of US Masters Swimming, told The New York Times that he had informed Armstrong’s agent he would not be allowed to participate in the race. Armstrong then withdrew, The Times reported.
“They said, listen, we don’t want to create a PR nightmare for you guys, Lance just thought it would be fun to swim with the teammates he has been training with down there in Austin, in his own backyard,” Butcher was quoted as saying.
The Times reported that the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) had contacted USA Swimming on Wednesday as soon as it became aware of Armstrong’s entry to the event, the Masters South Central Zone Swimming Championships, to ensure his lifetime ban was upheld.
In October 2012, Armstrong was stripped of his Tour titles as well as all other results starting in August 1998, and was banned for life after the USADA determined he was the key figure in a sophisticated doping program on his US Postal Service cycling team.
Armstrong finally made a belated admission of doping, after many denials, in a televised interview with Oprah Winfrey in January, in which he said he used a combination of blood-doping transfusions, blood-boosting EPO and testosterone throughout his career.