Armstrong to confess to doping on Oprah
CYCLING:After nearly 15 years of vehement denials, Lance Armstrong will confess that he used performance-enhancing drugs during his cycling career when he is interviewed by Oprah Winfrey, two people with knowledge of the situation said.
Armstrong (41) will give a limited confession to Winfrey and will not provide much detail of the doping that anti-doping officials have said occurred throughout his cycling career, said the two, who did not want to be named for fear of jeopardising their access to him.
He is scheduled to sit down with Winfrey today in his home in Austin, Texas, for the interview, which will be shown on Thursday on the Oprah Winfrey Network.
USA Today first reported the news on Friday. “I think Oprah understands the pressure of this interview,” Armstrong said on Saturday in a telephone interview.
“She’s clever. She’s seen people questioning whether she will go deep. I’ve assured her that I want her to go deep with her questions, and I’m going to answer those questions openly, honestly and with full transparency. And, quite frankly, I’m looking forward to it.”
The New York Times reported on January 4th Armstrong was considering admitting publicly he had used banned drugs and blood transfusions. Last autumn, after 11 former tea-mates had testified against him, he was stripped of his seven Tour de France titles for doping and for involvement in what officials called the most sophisticated, organised and professional doping programme in sports history.
Armstrong is coming forward to discuss his past doping because he wants to persuade officials to lift his life ban from Olympic sports so he can return to competing in triathlons and running events, according to sources.
Last month, Armstrong met with Travis Tygart, the chief executive of the US Anti-Doping Agency, to begin discussing a way in which an admission from Armstrong could mitigate his punishment.
Under the World Anti-Doping Code, athletes can receive up to a 75 per cent reduction of a ban if they provide substantial assistance to anti-doping authorities in building cases against other cheats. For his ban to be reduced, though, Armstrong will have to give information about the people who helped him in his doping.
If Armstrong confesses, he is opening himself to more legal troubles than he already has.
He has been named as a defendant in a federal whistle-blower case that contends Armstrong and associates on the US Postal Service team used taxpayer dollars to finance a doping programme. The government is considering joining that case as a plaintiff.
Armstrong may also have to repay $12 million he received from SCA Promotions, based in Dallas, who paid him millions for winning several Tours de France.
– The New York Times