Lance Armstrong Admits To Oprah Winfrey That He Used Performance Enhancing Drugs

Finally Coming Clean

Back in October we learned that 7-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong was stripped of his 7 title wins after it was determined by the United States Anti-Doping Agency that he was guilty of cheating by using performance enhancement drugs/techniques. Today we learn that Lance has finally confessed to the allegations in a new interview with Oprah Winfrey that is scheduled to air this Thursday. At this point, we don’t yet know for sure exactly what Lance said in the interview and to what extent he “comes clean” but according to sources present when the interview took place, he does admit wrongdoing.

Lance Armstrong confessed to Oprah Winfrey that he started using performance-enhancing drugs to gain an edge in cycling in the mid-1990s, before he was diagnosed with cancer, a person familiar with the interview told USA TODAY Sports. Armstrong and his representatives also have had discussions with the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency about meeting soon over several days for a “full debrief,” when Armstrong would be expected to “answer every question, give over records, telephone calls, test results, everything,” the source said. It is not certain if Armstrong will agree to the full debriefing, but he is aware it would be a prerequisite to any potential reduction of his lifetime ban from sanctioned competitions, the source told USA TODAY Sports … Armstrong had intended to make a general confession to Winfrey but avoid getting into great detail during the interview, which was held Monday in Armstrong’s hometown of Austin. Winfrey went on Twitter to say the interview lasted more than 21/2 hours and Armstrong “came READY!” She will appear today on CBS This Morning to promote the interview, which will be shown on the Oprah Winfrey Network … Armstrong’s admission that he started doping in the mid-1990s is consistent with USADA’s evidence. In one statement, former Armstrong teammate George Hincapie said he and Armstrong started using the blood booster EPO around 1995 or ’96 because they felt they otherwise could not compete. Another cyclist, Stephen Swart, said in his statement that he knew his teammates on the 1995 Tour de France team were using EPO, including Armstrong. The source told USA TODAY Sports that the Armstrong camp also has had discussions with federal authorities about naming others who were involved in doping, a step that could qualify as the substantial assistance that cycling’s governing bodies would require before considering a reduction of Armstrong’s penalties. According to the source, one stumbling block for Armstrong could be the International Cycling Union, which the source says remains opposed to “truth and reconciliation,” meaning the possibility of reducing Armstrong’s ban to anything less than eight years. Before talking to the iconic talk-show host Winfrey on Monday, Armstrong issued an emotional apology to the staff at Livestrong, the charity he founded to support cancer survivors.

Well, they say confession is good for the soul and after so many years of bold-faced lying to everyone, I guess it was time for Lance Armstrong to finally admit wrongdoing. While I, personally, am glad he is finally coming clean, I can’t say that I really respect him very much for doing so. It’s far too late. He is a very wealthy man, he will remain a very wealthy man. In the end, I suppose the ends do justify the means because his cheating did allow him to start the Livestrong Foundation, an organization that does such great work for cancer patients. In the end, tho, I don’t think he should be allowed to participate in any professional sporting event ever again. Yes, he confessed … but far too late for me to really believe repentance. It’s a shame that someone that so many people look up to has turned out by his own admission to be a dirty lying cheater.

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  1. Eve

    Great quote from British Olympic gold medallist Nicole Cooke:

    “When Lance cries on Oprah later this week and she passes him a tissue, spare a thought for all of those genuine people who walked away with nothing.”

  2. We all know he wasn’t the only cyclist to dope the sport is riddled with cheating. What annoys me more is how angry he got when he lied. He has spent so long defending himself with a “how dare you” attitude. It is time for him to fade into obscurity and be forgotten, too little too late.

    • My feeling exactly. He spewed lies and hatred toward people who had next to nothing and likely ruined some of their livelihoods, if not their lives. I am very curious to see if he shows any true remorse and contrition.

  3. SittingPat

    He was doping since before he developed cancer. And then thought it was a good idea afterwards? What a dope. (no pun intended) Sure sports are full of people who use drugs, but this guy has disappointed so many people. How can he look his kids in the eye? What can he say to all of his heretofore supportive friends? And all those people who have devoted themselves to Live Strong? What an egotistical idiot.

  4. Joanna

    This whole doping thing is becoming an epidemic in the sports world, but it seems to be particularly prevalent in cycling. I read somewhere recently that in the 2005 Tour de France the first 22 people who crossed the finish line had been linked at some point in time to doping. The whole thing is just so sad, but for Lance Armstrong to become visibly angry when it was even suggested he doped at any point in his career prior to this interview is beyond me. How could he live with himself knowing he was constantly lying to everybody? This is the first time I’m actually glad that Sheryl Crow is no longer romantically involved with him. She deserves better than a lying cheating doper. I hope a criminal investigation comes out of this interview because he deserves everything he has coming to him. At first I was disappointed that his name and titles were going to be removed from the professional cycling record books , but with this official admission I’m not only disgusted with him but in a way relieved that he will be a mostly forgotten athlete generations from now. He is not a person who young people should want to emulate.

    • KJ

      I actually really like Lance Armstrong, still, for exactly the reason that you mentioned above: the *vast majority of his peers were doing the same thing.
      By no means is “everyone else is doing it!” a justifiable reason to cheat. I’m just saying, this was a guy under pressure in a community that *tolerated doping among its best athletes… I don’t know what to say, he wanted to compete at the level of the best. And all the rest of the best were doping.
      So, after he and every other great cyclist cheated, he started an absolutely wonder charity organization and works to promote healthy living. After this, he’ll have a long career as a motivational speaker. I like the guy.

    • Joanna

      I do agree with everything you’re saying in terms of the work he his done with his Livestrong charity. It is really sad that this scandal has forced him to apologize to the board of the charity he started as well as have to step down from the board. His doping is all about his performance as an athlete and not as a charitable person. When I said that future generations of children should not emulate him, I meant as an athlete, not as a charitable person. He is not such a great example of a successful athlete who got to where he was in his career by hard work and dedication alone. He got there with the help of performance enhancing drugs in addition to talent and effort. This message is saying to his fans (especially his young fans) that what he did is acceptable, because it’s not. This is not to say that these things don’t go unnoticed or unpunished since clearly it was noticed and he was punished. The whole sad scandal just teaches people to think about the long term consequences of their actions and not about how those actions will effect the here and now.

    • KJ

      For sure! It’s certainly going to be a tough one to explain to the kids as to why the legendary Lance Armstrong has his good points and his bad. Usually when we see a busted athlete, we see a guy or girl who has made millions from their cheating and doesn’t have a great charity to show for it.
      Lance, on the other hand, is a charitable man in a sport with incredible amounts of doping across the board. It’s an interesting dynamic.

  5. fmx

    I’m not personally offended much by this scandal but I think it’s good he came forward with honesty. Everyone else is doping, and he’s the only one who got caught. Some people dope just to qualify, and he ended up winning. I’m more interested to see Oprah’s take on this than anything.

    • That’s not true, though, others have admitted to doping. Yes, some did so in a way that implicated Lance as well, but he is certainly not at the forefront of the doping exposure movement. And until we see the interview, I think we won’t know if he “came forward in honesty” or if he came forward to try and save his a$$. (Dollar signs indeed.)

    • fmx

      Oprah confirmed he told the truth after taping.

  6. I don’t think what he did was nobel at all…but at the same time I don’t really understand the outrage that much. All of the other people on his team were doping too, they just admitted their lies sooner. It seems anymore that most professionals in most sports are doing “enhancements”, and our society tends to ridicule those that got the farthest the most. However, IMO, the people who doped and come in far behind Lance were just as guilty (same applies to baseball, etc.). Yes, he denied it for a long time…but so did everyone else on his team and other teams.

    Maybe if I had more interest in cycling i would be more passionate and angry about Lance.

    • fmx

      You’re right, there is such a fine line between enhancements and doping. Most top 10 athletes are off on supplements portioned for horses compared to average people, and pure muscle is just not enough next to talent which is being replaced by who has the best cocktails and can afford the best coaches for pro sports.

  7. emily

    I heard an NPR piece that said he is banned from all sports … ALL. This includes marathons, which is the next step in Lance’s sports career. The piece implied he is admitting to doping now so that he can compete in marathons and other types of sports. Ugh, so disappointing.

  8. This may be the first time I’ve ever opened the Sports section of any paper with a personal investment. I followed Lance because I am a small-time amateur cyclist and he had such panache and pride for what wasn’t a well-publicized sport. That being said, I am both disappointed and compassionate about him now. Devil’s advocate: who’s to say what any of us would have done in his situation? Of course, we don’t want children thinking it’s okay to cheat, but when you are starkly realistic, who gets the advantage in life: the person who always follows the rules or the person who takes chances and has squirrelly ethics? I’ve seen many people who don’t deserve what they get succeed and never look back, taking the place of better, more honest candidates for jobs, prizes, etc. We’re lying to ourselves if we think the sports world is any different.

  9. Desdemona

    I think it’s too little, too late. The only reason he came forward is because of his own selfish interest and the fact that he was called out by the committee. It’s one thing to do something bad once, but to do it for years and years, make tons of money off it, sue people who told the truth about it and malign them in the press, and prevent honest bikers from winning….nope, sorry, you can’t just cry on Oprah and be all good. I never liked him based on the way he seemed to dump women….I wonder what Sheryl Crow thinks about this :-).

  10. JCZ

    Uh, no problem being paid to admit it, yet he goes around denying it for so long and criticising the decisions made last year when he was stripped of his medals etc., although they were accurate.

    Just disgraceful.

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