Lance Armstrong point by point: what he told Oprah Winfrey

 

That’s it, he’s done it. After more than 15 years of lying or “defending his territory” Lance Armstrong has admitted to having doped throughout his record run of seven Tour de France victories. That fact alone, the “yes” he offered in response to Oprah Winfrey’s questions at the top of first, 90-minute instalment of the Armstrong interview, is huge. But how well it go down?

I was never a huge Armstrong fan. I never bought the bracelet but I bought the myth. As a teenager with what would become a deep love of cycling, this guy was awe-inspiring in his dominance of such a tough sport. Over the past couple of years, since it has been clear to all but his staunchest defenders that Armstrong was not only a cheat but also the worst kind of liar - a bullying liar - awe has turned to anger. The guy’s a bastard.

And now? First, the stuff he said this morning:

* He doped. He didn’t invent the culture but he didn’t try to stop the culture.

* The doping program was not the most sophisticated ever (he singles out East Germany).

* He justified taking testosterone because of his history of testicular cancer.

* He wasn’t afraid of getting caught because testing was limited.

* He never ordered a teammate to dope. “We were all grown men”.

* He was a bully and a fighter who defended his territory.

* Doping was akin to putting air in the tyres or water in the bottles.

* Michele Ferarri, doping doctor, is still a good and smart man.

* He was reckless and “a jerk” and “deeply flawed” and “an arrogant prick.”

* There was more happiness in preparation than winning. “The winning was almost phoned in.”

* Doping didn’t feel wrong, he didn’t feel bad about it, he didn’t feel it was cheating.

* People have every right to feel betrayed. “I will spend the rest of my life earning back trust and apologising.”

* Emma O’Reilly, a whistleblower, is “one of those people who got run over, who got bullied.”

* He has apologised to Betsy Andreu, another whistleblower he bullied. “I was just on the attack.”

* He regrets his comeback in 2009. “I wouldn’t be sitting here if I didn’t come back.”

* When the Justice Department dropped its investigation, he thought he was “out of the woods.”

* He wishes he had chosen not to fight Usada when it took up the investigation.

* His “fate was sealed” when teammate George Hincapie talked. They are “still great friends”.

* He “loves cycling” and “if there were a truth and reconciliation commission... I’ll be the first man in the door.”

Beyond that initial admission of doping, the above summary looks like a bit like a series of excuses and justifications. He was more “deeply flawed” than he was “sorry”. A survivor from a broken home defending his territory. And all of it delivered with slightly chilling clam. Armstrong was composed throughout, his eyes dry (a first for Oprah?). He was slightly less of a jerk than the man we’ve seen before, but seemed less contrite than some of the words coming out of his mouth.

And then there were the things he didn’t say, the holds he barred despite Oprah’s promise. He refused to be drawn when asked about Betsy Andreu’s accusation that he admitted doping while being treated for cancer in hospital in 1996. “I’m gonna put that one down,” he said. He refused to implicate anyone else, and was unforthcoming about the role of the UCI, which he denied attempting to bribe (he said he had given the governing body a donation because it “asked him to.”)

The trail for tonight’s concluding part of the interview promised the fallout of his lies and its effect on his mother, foundation, sponsors and “the people wearing the bracelets.” There was a possible preview of some actual tears when Oprah raises the question of his 13-year-old son. She’ll also ask him, what next?

I’ll wait for part two but I feel oddly unmoved by Armstrong’s admissions, however stark and momentous that first “yes” was. He has a lot more to do to demonstrate his guilt and to explain where he’s going to take it. More than that, how are we supposed to believe anything he says anyway. As Armstrong himself told Oprah, “I’m not the most believable guy in the world right now.”

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Account Manager

£20000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This full service social media ...

Recruitment Genius: Data Analyst - Online Marketing

£24000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We are 'Changemakers in retail'...

Austen Lloyd: Senior Residential Conveyancer

Very Competitive: Austen Lloyd: Senior Conveyancer - South West We are see...

Austen Lloyd: Residential / Commercial Property Solicitor

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: DORSET MARKET TOWN - SENIOR PROPERTY SOLICITOR...

Day In a Page

Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there