After more than a decade of denials, Lance Armstrong has admitted to using performance-enhancing drugs during his cycling career.
In an interview with Oprah Winfrey at the Four Season’s Hotel in Austin, Tx., the once-celebrated cycling champion confessed to doping during the time he raced to seven consecutive Tour de France titles, according to multiple sources.
“‘Emotional’ doesn’t begin to describe the intensity or difficulty [for Armstrong] in talking about these things,” Winfrey told CBS This Morning during a segment promoting her interview, which will be aired over two nights on the OWN Network’s Oprah’s Next Chapter. “All these people wondering if he goes there and answers things … I think you will come away, too, that he brought it. He really did.”
“I felt he was thorough. He was serious. He certainly prepared himself for this moment,” she continued, adding that she covered all “112” of her questions. “I would say he met the moment. At the end of it, we both were pretty exhausted.”
While Winfrey said she was “satisfied” by Armstrong’s admission, “I would say he did not come clean in the manner I expected,” she explained. “It was surprising to me … for myself, my team, all of us in the room. We were mesmerized and riveted by some of his answers.”
Just hours before sitting down with Winfrey, Armstrong, 41, delivered an apology to the staff at the Livestrong Foundation, reportedly a heartfelt moment that left many in tears. Now Armstrong is in talks with U.S. Justice Department authorities about paying back some of sponsorship dollars the U.S. Postal Service gave his team, according to CBS. Moreover, he has expressed a willingness to testify against others allegedly involved in the doping activity on the pro cycling tour.
Back in October, the International Cycling Union, the worldwide governing body of cycling, stripped Armstrong of the seven Tour titles that made him a household name. “Lance Armstrong has no place in cycling,” said the union’s president, Pat McQuaid, announcing that the once celebrated athlete is banned from the sport at a press conference, according to CNN. But “cycling has a future,” he emphasized.
The decision came after the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency released a damning 200-page report revealing Armstrong’s deep involvement in the “most sophisticated, professionalized and successful doping program that sport has ever seen,” USADA chief executive Travis Tygart said in a statement. A week later, Armstrong stepped down as chairman of his cancer charity, Livestrong, to “spare the foundation any negative effects as a result of controversy surrounding my cycling career,” he said in a statement on the group’s website on Oct. 18.
Though Winfrey wasn’t entirely sure why Armstrong agreed to finally come clean, she suspected it was the result of all that’s come crashing down on the once-worship cyclist in recent months. “I think he was just ready,” Winfrey said. “The velocity of everything that has come at him in the past several months — particularly the past several weeks — he was ready.”
Oprah and Lance Armstrong: The Worldwide Exclusive will air as a two-night event: the first episode on Thursday, Jan. 17 from 9-10:30 PM ET/PT and the second on and Friday, Jan. 18 at 9 PM ET/PT. The interview will be simultaneously streamed LIVE worldwide both nights on Oprah.com.
What do you think of Lance’ revelation? Should he be forgiven, or banished into the Hall of Shame? Sound off in the comments.
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