After over a decade of blatantly lying and suing anyone who dared tell the truth, Lance Armstrong finally came clean about the doping allegations that plagued his career in a lengthy interview with Oprah Winfrey on Thursday night.
Seemingly feigning remorse, the drugs cheat admitted that his “mythic, perfect story” was “one big lie” and said that he had been doping pretty much his whole career, including using banned drugs or blood transfusions during all seven of his victories in the Tour de France.
As to why he continued to lie, even swearing under oath that he never doped, Armstrong said that he kept covering it up because he got swept up in the “momentum” of his own legend of a cancer survivor turned superhero.
“This story was so perfect for so long- and I mean that as I try to take myself out of this situation it’s this mythic, perfect story and that wasn’t true, on a lot of levels,” he said.
“I view this situation as one big lie that I repeated a lot of times,” he said. ”It just gets going, and I lost myself in all that,” he added.
Possibly the most distasteful part of the interview (and there were a lot of stomach-turning moments) was when Armstrong confessed he didn’t feel bad about doping, nor viewed it as cheating.
“I didn’t feel bad, I didn’t think it was wrong and I didn’t feel like I was cheating,” he said.
“The definition of cheat is to gain an advantage on a rival or foe that they didn’t have. I didn’t view it that way. I viewed it as a level playing field,” he added.
As to why he went after people who dared reveal his dirty secrets with a vengeance, he acknowledged that he ”was a bully in a sense that I tried to control the narrative’” and described himself as “a guy who expected to get whatever he wanted and to control every outcome.”
Describing his former self as an ”arrogant prick”, the 41-year-old said that had it not been for his comeback in 2009, he may have got away with his decade of betrayal. The comeback, he said, gave anti-doping officials a chance to build the case against him and he revealed that it “didn’t sit well” with teammate Floyd Landis, who accused Armstrong of doping in 2010.
“We wouldn’t be sitting here if I didn’t come back,” he said.
And he tried justifying his decisions to dope because of his history with overcoming cancer.
“My cocktail was only EPO- not a lot- transfusions, and testosterone which in a weird way, I justified in my history with testicular cancer. Surely I’m running low,” he said.
Livestrong, the cancer-fighting charity Armstrong founded 15 years ago, said in a statement it was “disappointed by the news that Lance Armstrong misled people during and after his cycling career, including us.”
Despite the lies, Armstrong said during the 90-minute interview that he hopes to one day win back the trust of everyone he deceived.
“I will spend the rest of my life trying to earn back trust and apologize to people,” he said.
But he admitted that after years and years of lying, his confession may be a little too late for most.
“This is too late,” Armstrong said of his confession. “It’s too late for probably most people, and that’s my fault.
In a preview of Friday’s part two of the interview, Armstrong described the day in October when all of his sponsors dropped him after USADA’s evidence was released to the public. Referring to his loss in income, he called it a “$75 million day.”