Armstrong to Oprah: Yes, I was a bully to teammates

by FP Sports  Jan 18, 2013 09:52 IST

#Lance Armstrong   #NewsTracker   #Oprah Winfrey  

- Armstrong confesses to doping during all 7 Tour wins
- Cycling star admits he was 'a bully' to teammates
- Denies that he ever ordered other cyclists to dope
- Says he was motivated by 'ruthless desire to win'
- Was adamant that he hasn't doped since 2005
- Armstrong did not consider himself a "cheat"

That's it for the first part. The second part and some more ads can be seen tomorrow. There will be stuff about his sponsors, his mother and Livestrong.

The trailer for the second half of the interview showed him saying his mother "is a wreck."

Summary

Armstrong showed almost no emotion during the interview. He even laughed a few times. This isn't going to win him friends. But he hasn't named anyone explicitly yet. Oprah's questions were direct and to the point. But surely we expected a few tears and a break down.

0903 IST: In hindsight

With hindsight, Armstrong said he wished he had complied with the USADA investigation.

"I'd do anything to go back to that day," he said.

"I wouldn't fight, I wouldn't sue them, I'd listen. I'd do a couple of things first."

He would have called his family, mother, sponsors and the Lance Armstrong Foundation (Livestrong).

"I wish I could do that, but I can't," he added.

0858 IST: I don't fault George

Armstrong: My fate was sealed by [George]. If George didn't say it then people would say 'I'm sticking with Lance'. George is the most credible voice in all of this. We're still great friends. We still talk once a week. I don't fault George. George knows this story better than anybody."

George Hincapie was by Armstrong's side for all of his seven Tour de France victories.

So many ads

Another break. This is a big payday for OWN. Take out the ads and they could have done this in one day. And the ad breaks are so long.

0846 IST: Move on to USADA now

Armstrong: I was treated differently (by USADA). I wasn't approached at the same time as the other riders. They were brought in and asked about the culture of cycling. They gathered all the subpoenas.

Oprah: Will you co-operate with Usada?

Armstrong: I love cycling... I really do... and I say that knowing that people see me as someone who disrespected the sport, the colour yellow.. the jersey. If we can, and I stand on no moral platform here. If there was truth and reconciliation commission, and I can't call for that, if they have it and I'm invited I'll be first man through the door.

Oprah: You abused your power?

Armstrong: (without any hesitation) Yeah.

0845 IST: More Q & A

Oprah: Did you not think this day would be coming?

Armstrong: I just assumed the stories would continue for a long time. We're sitting here because there was a two-year federal criminal investigation.

Oprah: When they dropped the case (criminal investigation), did you think 'victory'?

Armstrong: I thought I was out of the woods.

Now for Landis

Now, the conversation seems to be moving towards Landis. The former Tour de France winner was stripped of his title for using banned substances. Landis then admitted to doping and alleged that Armstrong doped.

"My comeback didn't sit well with Floyd. I was in a hotel room (upon hearing Landis would reveal details of Armstrong's doping). Floyd was sending text messages about his interview. I finally said 'do what you have to do.' He went to the Wall Street Journal with the story. Up to that point I supported him." says Lance Armstrong.

"We wouldn't be sitting hear if I didn't come back."

0837 IST: Asked about using the "wh**e" word to describe Emma O'Reilly

Armstrong: I don't feel good. I was just on the attack. The territory was being threatened. The team was being threatened. I was on the attack.

O'Reilly was a former aide of Armstrong and alleged she was used as a "drug runner" during her time working for the US Postal team.

0831 IST: No forgiveness

Lance: "For people who hear this and will never forgive me, I understand that."

You tell them.

0829 IST: I like charity

"I donated money to the UCI (world cycling's governing body) - I did not pay it for a cover-up."

There has been talk of UCI being paid to cover-up a positive test. UCI admitted accepting the donation in 2002 but did not link it to any cover-up.

0826 IST: Not very convincing

His confession is clearly not working in the online world. Not a single tweet from his fans. It's all negative and sarcastic.

0823 IST: Never failed...

Lance is still proud of "never failing a drug test." Wow and he's letting Oprah and the world know. Just how arrogant is he.

"I never failed a test. Stuff was retroactively tested - I failed those. But the hundreds I took, I passed them because there was nothing in the system," says Lance.

0821 IST: So what does it mean to cheat?

Armstrong says he looked up the definition of 'cheater' and satisfied himself that he didn't qualify because he wasn't giving himself an unfair advantage (presumably because everyone else was doping).

After his last Tour 'win', on the podium by the Champs-Elysees, Armstrong chose the moment to criticise those who did not believe in "miracles".

The speech is one he now regrets.

He said: "I've made some mistakes in my life. For sure that's one.

"That was lame."

He did not believe what he was doing was cheating.

"At the time, no," he said.

"I looked up the definition of cheat. The definition of cheat is to gain an advantage over a rival or foe.

"I didn't do that. I viewed it as a level playing field."

0818 IST: Scary stuff

Oprah: Did it feel wrong at the time?

Armstrong: No. Scary.

Oprah: Did you feel bad about it?

Armstrong: No. Even scarier.

Oprah: Did you feel you were cheating?

Armstrong: No. The scariest.

0813 IST: Some emotion...

"I'm flawed, deeply flawed," Armstrong says. And adds as he describes himself as both a "a jerk" and "a humanitarian." He also says he is "an arrogant prick."

Wow. Confessions are rolling in now. But what to believe!

0810 IST: Ferrari was a good man

The Oprah interview with Armstrong is being aired now. Getty Images

The Oprah interview with Armstrong is being aired now. Getty Images

"There are people in this story and we've all made mistakes there are people in this story who are not monsters, they are not monsters. I viewed Michele Ferrari as a good man, and a smart man, and I still do," says Armstrong.

If you haven't heard of Ferrari before: On 10 July 2012, the USADA issued Ferrari a lifetime sports ban for numerous anti-doping violations including possession, trafficking, administration and assisting doping. But he's a good man, says Armstrong.

0807 IST: Strong beginning but Armstrong has his guard up now

It started off well. Oprah's questions were good and to the point. But now Armstrong is giving nothing away. Not a good way to come clean. But probably the best way to not get sued.

0806 IST: So how common was doping?

Armstrong: Doping was "like saying we have to have air in our tyres, we have to have water in our bottles."

0759 IST: Trying hard to look genuine?

Armstrong seems remorseful, but of course, it looks like he is putting on such an act.

"This is too late. Too late for probably most people.... I view this as one big lie that I repeated," he says.

0757 IST: Win at all costs?

"It was win at all costs," says Lance. "When I was diagnosed (with cancer) I would do anything to survive. I took that attitude - win at all costs - to cycling. That's bad. I was taking drugs before that but I wasn't a bully."

Armstrong says there are "five guys" who were riding clean during his cycling days. They are "heroes." Lance is pretty clearly not a hero.

Please decide. Were you a bully or not?

0755 IST: Bully... who... me? Yes, me!

Oprah: "Were you a bully?"

Lance: "Yeah, I was a bully."

Thanks for letting us know and lying to us all these years.

0753 IST: Believe me...

'I'm not the most believable guy in the world right now,' says Armstrong.

0751 IST: And an ad break...

And in the middle of all this... an ad break. Somethings don't change.

0748 IST: Listen to the lawyer

Oprah asks a pointed question about whether Tyler Hamilton's claim that he and Armstrong injected each other at a hotel and dumped syringes into Coke cans is true. Armstrong laughed, cleared his throat and dodged the question. The lawyers must have briefed him well.

0747 IST: Not naming the others

Armstrong denies the USADA statement that it was the "most sophisticated doping program sport has ever seen", making reference to former East Germany as being worse.

0746 IST: Blaming cancer

Armstrong blames his cancer for his illegal use of testosterone. He insinuates that he took it because he was running low on the natural hormone.

0745 IST: You lied... so why now?

Oprah: You brazenly denied everything so why now?

Armstrong:That's the best question. I don't know I have a great answer. This is too late, probably for most people and that's my fault. I view this situation as one big lie that I repeated a lot of times. It's not as if I said no and moved off it. While I've lived through this process, I know the truth. The truth isn't what I said and now its gone.

0743 IST: Armstrong: The doping culture...

"To say that the (doping) programme was bigger than the East German programme of 1970s and 1980s," says Armstrong.

"It's hard to talk about the culture. I don't want to accuse anyone else. I'm here to acknowledge my mistakes. The culture was what it was. I can't say (everybody was doping)."

0741 IST: Win without doping?

Oprah: Was it possible to win without doping?

Armstrong: Not in that generation. I didn't invent the culture, but I didn't try to stop the culture.

0730 IST: The first questions

Q. Did you ever take banned substances to enhance cycling performance?

A. Yes

Q. Was one of those substances EPO?

A. Yes.

Q. Did you use any other banned substances?

A. Yes

Can Armstrong come clean? Will he get our forgiveness? Is he doing this just for himself? Or will he lie again?

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