Looking for the full transcript of the Lance Armstrong interview confession with Oprah Winfrey? We’ve got what he said below, a text replay of much of Part 1 of the Oprah Winfrey interview. Lance Armstrong confessed to doping and using drugs while racing on the USPS and Discovery teams, and last night on Oprah Winfrey’s “Oprah’s Next Chapter” show on the OWN network, Part 1 of 2-part Lance Armstrong interview aired.
The popular former hero that told us he would never be one of the has-been athletes to come back past his prime, and would walk away at the top of the sport, would indeed regret his decision not to live up to that pledge. But does he regret what he did, or regret getting caught?
When asked if Floyd Landis coming clean was the tipping point:
“I’d agree with that. I might back it up a little and talk about the comeback. I think the comeback didn’t sit well with Floyd,” Armstrong recalled.
“Do you regret now coming back?”
“I do. We wouldn’t be sitting here if I didn’t come back,” he said.
The retired Tour de France cyclist and Livestrong founder confessed to using performance enhancing drugs (PEDs). Due to the USADA judgment in the fall of 2012, Lance Armstrong was stripped of his seven Tour de France titles and banned for life from competitive cycling and triathlons (basically any sport overseen by the World Anti-Doping Association, or WADA).
Armstrong was forthcoming in his admission with Oprah, if not contrite in his responses and did not reveal names or get into great details of his doping program. He claimed the doping was just part of the job, describing deciding doping was, “ ”like saying we have to have air in our tires or water in our bottles.” Excerpts of the Oprah Winfrey Lance Armstrong interview transcript are below.
Did you take banned substances? “Yes.”
Did that include the blood-booster EPO? “Yes.”
Did you do blood doping and use transfusions? “Yes.”
Did you use testosterone, cortisone and human growth hormone? “Yes.”
Did you take banned substances or blood dope in all his Tour wins? “Yes.”
“I’m a flawed character,” he said.
Did it feel wrong?
“No,” Armstrong replied. “Scary.”
“Did you feel bad about it?” Winfrey pressed him.
“No,” he said. “Even scarier.”
“Did you feel in any way that you were cheating?”
“No,” Armstrong paused. “Scariest.”
“I went and looked up the definition of cheat,” he added a moment later. “And the definition is to gain an advantage on a rival or foe. I didn’t view it that way. I viewed it as a level playing field.”
“This is too late, it’s too late for probably most people. And that’s my fault,” he said in an interview with Oprah Winfrey that aired Thursday night. “(This was) one big lie, that I repeated a lot of times.”
“I lost myself in all of that,” he said, describing himself as both a “humanitarian” and a “jerk” who’d been “arrogant” for years. “I was used to controlling everything in my life.”
“They have every right to feel betrayed, and it’s my fault,” he said. “I will spend the rest of my life … trying to earn back trust and apologize to people.”
“We wouldn’t be sitting here if I didn’t come back,” he told Winfrey.
Armstrong claims the last time he doped was in 2005, and his return to the sport in 2008 and his subsequent third place in the Tour de France was clean, a surprising claim for many cycling fans.
“I deserve this,” he said twice.
“It’s a major flaw, and it’s a guy who expected to get whatever he wanted and to control every outcome. And it’s inexcusable. And when I say there are people who will hear this and never forgive me, I understand that. I do. …
“That defiance, that attitude, that arrogance, you cannot deny it.”
Oprah pressed Armstrong to name people but evaded the request. “”It’s hard to talk about some of these things and not mention names,” he said. “There are people in this story, they’re good people and we’ve all made mistakes … they’re not monsters, not toxic and not evil, and I viewed Michele Ferrari as a good man and smart man and still do.”
Perhaps most surprising was that some of the accusations regarding his past drug use, positive tests and subsequent cover-up were still denied. Regarding his positive test at the Tour of Switzerland and donation to the UCI to cover it up, as claimed by Tyler Hamilton, Armstrong said the test didn’t happen and the donation wasn’t a cover-up.
“Why make [the donation]?” Oprah asked.
“Because they asked me to,” Armstrong said.
“This is impossible for me to answer and have anybody believe it,” he said. “It was not in exchange for any cover-up. … I have every incentive here to tell you yes. I was retired. … They needed money.”
Stay tuned for the full transcript.
See a snippet of the video interview with Oprah below:
Lance Armstrong has competed in almost every cycling discipline that exists, including road cycling (of course), but also mountain biking and cyclocross. Shown in the photo below, Lance Armstrong raced cyclocross at CrossVegas 2008 before his Oprah Winfrey confession, and was just starting his comeback from his first retirement, racing under the nonprofit Livestrong colors, and looking to return to form for another Tour de France title run.
The most polarizing aspect of Armstrong’s behavior has been his relentless pursuit to tarnish the reputations of former teammates and team workers who accused him of doping. Teammates such as Tyler Hamilton, Floyd Landis and Frankie Andreau were vilified, sued or pushed out of the sport because of Armstrong’s aggression towards his accusers. It was always more than just a denial.
With this confession and Oprah Winfrey tv show, the cycling world is abuzz with Lance Armstrong yet again, but all for the wrong reasons. This post will hopefully be the only Lance Armstrong post we’ll ever do again, as we’d rather focus on cyclocross and the excitement of the World Championships coming to Louisville in February.
The beauty of cyclocross is that with its shorter events, and smaller salaries for its stars, it hasn’t quite had the rampant doping problems at the level of road cycling. Let’s hope it stays that way. And despite not getting the TV time and dollars that a race like the Tour de France or the Tour of California receives, it’s a sport that you and the whole family can participate with just a few hours of riding a week, and not have it become a second job. At the professional level, the racers often have other jobs, and are extremely approachable at the races.