Lance Armstrong last night finally came clean about his years of using performance-enhancing drugs in his first lengthy public interview since the governing committees accused him of running the 'sophisticated' doping ring to secure his world record titles.
‘I view this situation as one big lie that I repeated a lot of times,’ he said in an televised interview with Oprah Winfrey screened Thursday night.
He admitted that he doped in some form for each of his seven Tour de France victories, though he maintained that the last time that he 'crossed that line' was in 2005.
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Telling all: Lance Armstrong said that he doped until 2005, meaning that he was competing illegally during each of the seven Tour de France wins that made him a world record-holder
Looking back: Armstrong said that he was a bully but denied forcing any of his fellow teammates take performance enhancing drugs
The distinction of before and after 2005 is important as that was the last year that capped off his incredible seven-year winning streak at the Tour de France.
On top of the outright confession, he said that part of the reason why it carried on for as long as it did was because he 'didn't feel like' he was cheating.
'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 said.
He described the elaborate doping ring that he and his teammates developed was not quite as legendary as the investigatory commissions described it.
'It was definitely professional and it was definitely smart if you can call it that but it was very conservative, very risk averse, and very aware of what mattered,' he said.
‘While I've lived through this process ... I know the truth the truth isn’t what is out there, the truth isn’t what I said.’
Lighthearted moment: Aside from a brief laugh, Armstrong appeared extremely tense throughout the grilling that he received from the 'Queen of Talk'
‘I didn't invent the culture but I didn't try to stop the culture and that's my mistake. The sport is now paying the price for that, and I am sorry for that.
‘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 even tried justifying his decisions 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.
Winfrey faced Armstrong with his own words, showing him a tape of one of his own interviews under oath with sport authorities, and he denied the claims that he made in support of the controversial Italian doctor Michele Ferrari who helped him dope.
'I'm not comfortable talking about other people. It's all out there,' Armstrong said after watching the tape, though he did say that he had lied in the interview.
'I look at this clip and say "Look at this arrogant prick,"' he said of his former self.
Though he remained vigilant throughout the interview about not naming-names, he was also very forceful in denying claims that he pressured his fellow riders into taking performance enhancing drugs.
'I made my decisions, and I made my mistakes and I am here,' he said.
'The idea that anybody was forced or pressured or encouraged are not true,' he said specifically responding to the claims made by some of his former teammates, most notably Tyler Hamilton who wrote a book about the doping plot that they perpetrated for years.
'I'm out of the business of calling somebody a liar, but if you ask me if that is true or not, that is not true.
'We're all grown men, we all made our choices.
'I was a bully in a sense that I tried to control the narrative.'
He said that only now is he starting to truly understand the breadth of the betrayal, disappointment, and anger that his fans feel towards him over the scandal.
'I will spend the rest of my life trying to earn back trust and apologize to people for the rest of my life,' he said.
The interview was taped on Monday in Armstrong's hometown of Austin, Texas, but Winfrey waited to air the interview until Thursday night.
'Mythic, perfect life': Armstrong, seen here in 2005 with then-girlfriend Sheryl Crow and his three children from his first marriage, said he felt pressure to maintain his image
Tarnishing history: Armstrong finally admitted that he doped throughout his career at the Tour de France but stopped when he stopped competing in the race in 2005
Armstrong made only two public statements between the time of the taping and the on-air reveal, texting a message to the Associated Press.
'I left it all on the table with her and when it airs the people can decide,' he said.
To another news outlet, he said: 'I have no idea what the future holds other than me holding my kids.'
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2264297/Lance-Armstrong-Shamed-cyclist-tells-Oprah-landmark-confession-interview.html#ixzz2IKipC12X
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