Friday, January 18, 2013
''YES I CHEATED! SEE DETAILED CONFESSION OF DOPING BY LANCE ARMSRTONG IN AN INTERVIEW WITH OPRAH WINFREY
Disgraced cyclist icon, Lance Armstrong made a career out of manipulation and it was a version of the same dark arts he displayed even as he admitted for the first time that he doped his way to all seven of his Tour de France victories.
Oprah Winfrey started more assertively than her treacly talk-show queen reputation led us to expect. Straight up, she asked the 41-year-old Texan a series of yes or no questions. Did he ever take banned substances? Was one of those EPO, the blood-booster? Did he take cortisone, human-growth hormones, testosterone. Was he on drugs for all seven of his Tour victories?
Yes, he answered, to them all.
Did he think is was humanly possible to win that record-breaking seven Tours free from illicit stimulants? ‘Not in my opinion,’ came the reply.
There was a glint in his eye and a cocky smirk occasionally played across his lips. Some answers were, as we of course expected, delivered with a polish that told of long hours of rehearsal with slick lawyers.
Winfrey opened with six 'yes' or 'no' questions and he said:
YES to using banned substances
YES to having used EPO
YES to having blood transfusions
YES to using testosterone
YES to cheating in all seven Tour de France wins
Then said that 'not in my opinion' could you win the Tour in that era without performance enhancing substances.
The first 'sorry' came after seven minutes - and there were only three more in 90 minutes - but Armstrong, who looked controlled and cocky, was nothing if not candid, agreeing to answer any question Winfrey threw at him. Later in the interview, it became apparent this was not the case.
He described his career as a 'mythic perfect story' and admitted his confession was probably 'too late' for most people adding that it was 'his fault'. It was 'one big lie I repeated a lot of times,' he said.
Armstrong said his career was built on a cocktail of EPO, testosterone and blood transfusions: 'This story is so bad, so toxic.'
He admitted to being a 'bully' but denied ever issuing a 'directive' to team-mates ordering them to join him in breaking the rules. He did, however, accept that as the leader of the team he made it difficult for those team-mates on the US Postal and Discovery teams not to dope.
In the second part of the extraordinary programme he insisted he did not put unfair pressure on his team-mates to join him in doping.
However, he did admit: 'I was a bully. I tried to control the narrative. And if someone challenged that I would simply say “that's a lie, they are the liars”. I had a win-at-all-costs mentality. The scary thing was, though, that in those seven Tours I knew I was going to win.'
But Armstrong added: 'I didn't invent the culture but I didn't stop it either.'
Armstrong also challenged US Anti-Doping Agency's verdict that the US Postal team operated the most sophisticated drug programme in sporting history. He said it was 'no bigger than the East German programme. It's simply not true.'
There he was laying some of the groundwork for his wider argument, namely that the sport was so riddled with doping offenders that by the standards of the time he was not cheating.
Armstrong later told us that he looked up the meaning of the word ‘cheat’ in the dictionary and found it to mean having an unfair advantage over a rival, and reassured himself that he did not fit the description. ‘It was a level-playing field,’ he told Oprah.
She asked him why he was owning up now.
‘I don’t know that I have a great answer,’ he said. We could answer for him: because he had been rumbled by 202 pages of damning evidence in the US Anti-Doping Agency’s recent report, compiled with the help of 26 witnesses including 11 former team-mates.
He admitted he 'lost' himself and added: 'I couldn't handle it and I controlled every outcome in my life.'
Armstrong confirmed a number of claims that were made in the book written by former team-mate Tyler Hamilton. One of these claims was the use of his personal gardener, nicknamed 'Motorman', to deliver drugs on a motorcycle to the team in the 1999 tour.
He said it was 'easy' to cheat because in his time there was not much out-of-competition testing, it was just a question of scheduling.
However Armstrong insisted that when he came out of retirement in 2009 and finished third in that Tour – one place ahead of Great Britain’s Bradley Wiggins – he was not cheating. He argued: 'The last time I crossed THAT line was in 2005.'