Foursquare, the mobile social network that rewards users for “check-in’s” to local establishments, has stripped Lance Armstrong of the coveted “Mayor” title for his local 24 Hour Fitness in Austin, TX.
The news comes on the heels of incriminating evidence published by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency and subsequent penalties by both the Tour de France and several of Armstrong’s sponsors. Nike, Trek Bicycles and Anheuser-Busch all dropped Armstrong, and professional cycling’s governing body stripped him of his Tour de France medals.
Now the devastating news from Foursquare.
Dennis Crowley, CEO of Foursquare, said in a statement, “We cannot confirm that it was actually Armstrong who checked into the 24 Hour Fitness on E. 41st Street at the times he said he was there. These unconfirmed check-ins have been removed from his user profile, and as such, he no longer meets the requirements for the important Mayoral distinction.”
The statement went on to say that Armstrong will also lose his “Gym Rat” and “Crunked” badges, the latter of which he earned by checking into four different Austin bars in the same epic evening.
The new mayor of this 24 Hour Fitness location is “Winnie M.,” who has checked into the gym 43 times in the past 60 days, and is also the mayor of eight other establishments, including Dr. Brian Berger’s office and Judson Baptist Church.
“This isn’t the way anyone wants to be named Mayor.” said Winnie. “I’m happy to be recognized, but in my heart, Lance Armstrong is still a champion….even if his entire adult life is a complete and utter lie.”
Despite some pushback from users like Winnie, Foursquare remains resolute in enforcing their decision.
“Inauthentic behavior has no place on Foursquare. If Armstrong wants to pretend he’s someone he’s not, perhaps he should try Match.com,” said Foursquare’s Crowley, who is rumored to have had a bad experience on the dating site in his younger years.
Armstrong is reportedly taking this one hard.
“This one hurts,” he said today in a brief telephone interview. “Losing sponsorships doesn’t bother me. Do you really think I drink Michelob Ultra? Like I can’t burn off the calories of a beer that actually tastes good.”
“But I went to those spin classes,” said the 41-year old cancer survivor. “Their theory that I had someone take my phone over to the gym and check-in for me? Why would I do that? I mean that would just be pathetic.”
“More pathetic than lying to himself and the world about using PED’s for a couple of decades?” asked a Foursquare spokesperson rhetorically. “Trust me, we have reason to believe he’s never been to that piece-of-crap gym.”
Local Austinites know that Armstrong is a resident, but seemed surprised by his dedication to 24 Hour Fitness, which is far from being the most opulent gym in town.
“He really works out there – the one by Airport Blvd?” asked Austin resident Stephen Humphries. “Huh. I wouldn’t have expected that.”
Armstrong defended his supposed loyalty, “I know it’s not the nicest gym in the world, but I feel comfortable there. Plus, I really enjoy the towel service at the Super-Sport locations.” (at 24 Hour Fitness’ “Sport” locations, users must provide their own towels).
Armstrong’s claims may in fact be genuine, as other 24 Hour Fitness members confirm seeing him there.
“How could I forget?” asked Antonio Desandro, who says he was often in spinning classes with Armstrong. “He’d wear his yellow jersey and ask us to cheer for him in French. It was cool once, but he did it all the time.”
“He called me his ‘Little Domestique.'” Desandro continued, “He was kind of a dick.”