Part one of Oprah Winfrey’s exclusive interview with disgraced cyclistĀ Lance Armstrong aired onlineĀ and on Oprah’s cable channel OWN Thursday night ā and Armstrong’s performance appeared to win over few critics on Twitter or Facebook.
Formerly one of the most beloved and respected athletes in the country for his unprecedented cycling success, personal battle with cancer and charitable work withĀ Livestrong, Armstrong arrived for this interview without titles, estranged from his famous foundation and with a tarnished reputation.
Armstrong began the much-anticipated 90 minute interview by immediately admitting that he has used performance enhancing drugs since the mid 1990s and that he was under the influence of them during all seven of his Tour wins.
After years of saying “no” whenever asked about doping, Lance Armstrong began his confessional interview with Oprah Winfrey by repeating the word “yes” in response to a series of direct questions addressing his use of performance-enhancing drugs during his cycling career.
Despite admitting he was part of āone big lieā, the 41-year-old said he did not feel he was cheating at the time because he not believe he was gaining an advantage over anyone because doping was so common among his rivals, reports the Telegraph.
When asked why he had repeatedly lied about using banned substances until Thursday’s startling admission, he told Winfrey:
“I don’t know I have a great answer. This is too late, probably for most people, and that’s my fault. I view this situation as one big lie that I repeated a lot of times.ā
He described himself as āa guy who expected to get whatever he wanted and to control every outcomeā and added: āIām a flawed character.ā
Armstrong has already been banned for life, stripped of his all race wins and dumped by his sponsors but his problems are far from over.
Actually, earlier on Thursday, hours before the interview began, Armstrong was alsoĀ stripped of his bronze medalĀ from the 2000 Sydney Olympics.
The Huff Post writes that during the months between the publication of the USADA report and this interview with Winfrey, ArmstrongĀ lost sponsors like Nike and Anheuser-BuschĀ while the list of those looking to recoup money from him grew.
The Sunday Times is attempting to recover more than $1.5 millionĀ from Armstrong relating to the settlement of a 2006 libel lawsuit.
However, he claimed that he never pressured anyone to take banned substances and denied being under the influence of performance-enhancing drugs during his final two Tour de France attempts in 2009 and 2010, saying the last time he doped was in 2005.
As the Reuters says, he rejected suggestions he failed a doping test at the 2001 Tour of Switzerland then paid off the International Cycling Union (UCI) and doping officials to cover up the result.
āThat story isn’t true. There was no positive test. No paying off of the lab. The UCI did not make that go away. I’m no fan of the UCI,ā he said.
Looking uncomfortable, shifting in his seat repeatedly and laughing nervously, Armstrong appeared to be having a hard time explaining the details, says the Mashable.
His apology to Emma O’Reilly, his former masseuse and a whistleblower whom Armstrong sued and admitted to calling a variety of epithets, was particularly tortured. (The cyclist chose to focus on denying that he had called O’Reilly “fat.”)
Armstrong also accepted that, despite his admissions, he knows he will not be forgiven for his cheating.
The athlete said: āI’ll spend the rest of my life trying to earn back trust and apologise to people for the rest of my life.ā