Lance Armstrong admitted to being a drug cheat in an interview with Oprah Winfrey, after years of denying the accusations. To many fans and admirers of Armstrong, this was indeed sad and shocking news.
Perhaps being best known for his remarkable recovery from advanced cancer and then going on to inspirationally win the Tour De France a record of seven consecutive times, Armstrong had numerous doping allegations made against him but had always denied them. In the interview with Oprah, he stated that it simply wasn’t possible to win the Tour De France that many times without doping, and that he wasn’t a cheat.
“I looked up the definition of cheat. The definition of cheat is to gain an advantage over a rival or foe,” Armstrong said. “I didn’t do that. I viewed it as a level playing field.”
Armstrong confessed to doping in all seven of his Tour wins, using a cocktail of EPO (Erythropoietin), blood doping, testosterone, cortisone or HGH (Human Growth Hormone).
Having seen only a few snippets of the interview with Oprah, my initial reaction was that although he was apologising he didn’t seem to be genuinely sorry for his actions, and in fact perhaps felt justified in what he did because he believed that “everyone” was doping. It seemed to be more a case of “sorry he was caught” than “sorry for what he did”. Of course I could be completely wrong and that is just my opinion from the short amount of footage that I saw. However the cycling commission seem to have taken a very dim view on the situation, and although they believe this to be a step in the right direction, they want a great deal more from him. He will be asked to go under oath to give full details and disclosure of all his actions, and may face some financially challenging situations from his many sponsors.
More to follow as the details arise.