Lance Armstrong Admits Doping to Oprah Winfrey
On Sunday night, Lance Armstrong made a rare phone call. An apology phone call. To his former teammate and friend, the man who became his longtime nemesis after the doping accusations upon doping accusations that eventually led to a lawsuit, Floyd Landis.
On Monday morning, Lance Armstrong made a stop at the Livestrong headquarters in Austin, Texas. There, to his former staff members, he issued an apology—for “letting the staff down and putting Livestrong at risk.” He vowed to continue working to restore the charity’s image and urged the group to keep fighting for those battling cancer.
And on Monday afternoon, Lance Armstrong made a confession. Sitting down with the former queen of daytime TV, the former king of cycling—for the first time—answered honestly the question that the world has been asking for years: Yes, he used banned performance-enhancing drugs during his career.
While Armstrong and Oprah’s “no holds barred” interview, which has morphed into a two-day, two-hour special, won’t air until Thursday and Friday, while appearing on "CBS This Morning" on Tuesday, Oprah verified the 41-year-old’s admissions, noting that the news was out before she even made it on camera. “I'm sitting here now because it's already been confirmed," she said.
According to reports from the New York Times, Armstrong didn’t stop at a confession—in an effort to have his lifetime ban on Olympic sports reduced and potentially return to triathlon competition, the “kingpin” of “the most sophisticated, professionalized and successful doping program that sport has ever seen” plans to testify against UCI officials who were involved in—and had knowledge of—drug use in the sport. While Armstrong will not testify against other riders, according to the Times, the Texan is also in discussions with the U.S. Department of Justice regarding testifying in the federal whistle-blower case filed by Floyd Landis. If Armstrong follows through, he’s expected to speak out against several United Stated Postal Service team owners.
Both the UCI and the World Anti-Doping Association (WADA) have responded to reports of Lance’s come-clean moment, asking the cyclist to take cycling-sanctioned steps toward having his ban reduced.
Only when Mr. Armstrong makes a full confession under oath—and tells the anti-doping authorities all he knows about doping activities—can any legal and proper process for him to seek any reopening or reconsideration of his lifetime ban commence.
The UCI will not be making any further comments on matters concerning Lance Armstrong until it has had the opportunity to view his much-publicized interview with Oprah Winfrey.
The UCI notes the media speculation surrounding the interview and reports that he has finally come clean and admitted doping during his cycling career.
If these reports are true, we would strongly urge Lance Armstrong to testify to the Independent Commission established to investigate the allegations made against the UCI in the recent USADA reasoned decision on Lance Armstrong and the United States Postal Service (USPS) team.
Acknowledging his doping past has cleared the way for Armstrong to take the next step in trying to mitigate his lifetime ban from Olympic sports. He is planning to testify against several powerful people in the sport of cycling who knew about his doping and possibly facilitated it, said several people with knowledge of the situation.
To "look him in the eye" while he backpedals on a decade-plus of lies, watch Armstrong’s interview on Thursday and Friday at 9pm EST, airing on the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) and streaming live online on Oprah.com.