Armstrong apologises to Livestrong charity staff ahead of Oprah Winfrey interview
Disgraced cyclist chokes back tears before his expected confession of doping
Nikhil Kumar is The Independent's New York correspondent. He was formerly assistant editor on the foreign desk and has also done a variety of jobs on the city desk, where he wrote about markets, commodities and other business and economics topics.
Monday 14 January 2013
Hours before taping an interview in which he is expected to confess to allegations of doping, Lance Armstrong was said to have apologised to staff at his Livestrong cancer foundation today.
As news camera crews massed near his villa in Austin, Texas, for the interview with Oprah Winfrey, Armstrong said “I’m sorry” to the men and women who work at the charity. The cyclist, who was stripped of his seven Tour de France titles last year, choked up as he addressed staff, many of whom cried, according to the Associated Press (AP), which quoted an unidentified person with knowledge of the situation.
But Armstrong, who only hours later was expected to put a decade of denials behind him and reportedly admit to doping during his professional cycling career, did not make a direct confession about drugs to the Livestrong team. Instead, he is said to have apologised for letting them down, and for putting the foundation, which he chaired until last year, at risk.
Oprah Winfrey, meanwhile, was preparing to sit down with the cyclist in his first interview since he was stripped of his Tour de France honours in the wake of a damning report by the US anti-doping agency, USADA. A confession would mark a major reversal by Armstrong, who in the past has repeatedly denied the allegations.
The USADA claimed Armstrong’s involvement in what is said was the “most sophisticated, professionalised and successful doping programme that sport has ever seen.”
At the weekend, on the eve of the Oprah interview, the cyclist – once an unlikely American hero in sport associated in the public mind with Europeans – was reported to have phoned up a series of figures in the cycling community to tender a direct apology.
Earlier, in a text message to the AP, Armstrong, while not revealing whether he would make a confession, said: “I told her [Winfrey] to go wherever she wants and I’ll answer the questions directly, honestly and candidly. That’s all I can say.” The prospect has already shaken the world of cycling – and those who keep tabs on it. Last summer, before the USADA report, the Pulitzer-prizewinning journalist and author Buzz Bissinger wrote a cover story for Newsweek magazine which was headlined: “I still believe in Lance Armstrong.”
Yesterday, he published a mea culpa on the Daily Beast website, with the new piece carrying the headline: “I was deluded to believe Lance Armstrong when he denied doping”.
“My cover story about Lance Armstrong, my affirmation of faith, was the worst piece of opinion I have ever written. I did a disservice to myself. More important, I did a disservice to readers,” he wrote.
Regular cast member Ste Hay, played by Kieron Richardson, is about to test TV boundaries
Latest in Sport
Fernando Alonso leaves Ferrari: Sebastian Vettel confirmed as Alonso's replacement for 2015 season
Sami Khedira: Arsenal and Chelsea target signs pre-contract with Bayern Munich - reports
Daniel Sturridge injury latest: Brendan Rodgers ready to buy a striker as setback rocks Liverpool
Amir Khan exclusive: 'Manny Pacquiao has been beaten in his last few fights, beating Floyd Mayweather would be massive'
Louis van Gaal: the liberal, the enemy and... err, the poet
- 1 Lee Evans announces retirement from comedy on The Jonathan Ross Show
- 2 Pirelli calendar 2015: The problem with 'plus-size' models like Candice Huffine
- 3 These grandmas smoking weed for the first time are wonderful
- 4 Woman opens professional cuddling shop – gets 10,000 customers in first week
- 5 Angelina Jolie confuses everyone with 'ay up me duck' East Midland's greeting to Derby actor Jack O'Connell at awards show
G20 summit: Enter Putin. Accompanied by four warships. To the sound of mockery
'Muslims pre-date Columbus in discovering America,' says Turkish president Erdogan
David Cameron 'compares Vladimir Putin’s Russia to Nazi Germany' ahead of tense meeting
Former Tory PM Sir John Major says 'we would not have an NHS without migrants'
France 'blocks' Russian sailors from boarding a warship
G20 summit: David Cameron warns Vladimir Putin that Russia's relationship with the West is at a 'fork in the road' over Ukraine
Benefits: Argyll Scott International: Argyll Scott is recruiting for a Permane...
£30000 - £50000 per annum + EXCELLENT: Austen Lloyd: COMMERCIAL PROPERTY SOLI...
Benefits: Argyll Scott International: Due to further expansion, a leading inte...
£27000 - £32000 per annum + training: Langley James : Senior Technician; Promo...