News24

Armstrong admits to doping

2013-01-18 06:29

Los Angeles - Disgraced cycling legend Lance Armstrong's fierce defence of his record finally collapsed on Thursday as he admitted that his seven Tour de France titles were fueled by an array of drugs.

"I made my decisions. They're my mistake," Armstrong told US talk show host Oprah Winfrey, in his first interview since he was stripped of his record yellow jersey haul and banned from sport for life.

VIDEO: Lance Armstrong confesses to doping

"And I'm sitting here today to acknowledge that and to say I'm sorry for that," Armstrong admitted. "I view this situation as one big lie that I repeated a lot of times."

"Certainly, I'm a flawed character," said Armstrong, who was once revered as a cancer survivor who beat the odds to succeed on cycling's greatest stage, then used his fame to help others fighting the disease.

"It's just this mythic, perfect story," he said. "And it wasn't true."

Winfrey's much-anticipated interview opened with a rapid-fire series of "yes" or "no" questions that saw Armstrong admit to using the blood-booster EPO, blood-doping transfusions, testosterone and human growth hormone.

All were listed by the US Anti-Doping Agency in the damning report on which it based the 41-year-old American's life ban.

Armstrong confirmed details contained in the report such as the existence of the shadowy courier known as "Motoman" who delivered EPO to riders.

At the time he told himself his cancer history justified his reliance on a "cocktail" of EPO, blood transfusions and testosterone.

"All the fault and all the blame here falls on me, but behind that picture and behind that story there's momentum, momentum," Armstrong said.

"And whether it's fans or whether it's the media ... it just gets going and I lost myself in all that."

In those years he won the tour from 1999 to 2005, Armstrong said, he didn't even think of himself as cheating. He didn't feel he was doing something wrong.

"Scary," Armstrong said.

He admitted he bullied people who didn't go along with the "narrative" he constructed, but categorically denied forcing team-mates to dope.

He declined to characterize Italian doctor Michele Ferrari as the mastermind of the doping program on the US Postal Service cycling team and took issue with other points in the USADA report.

Armstrong said he didn't believe the doping program on the US Postal Service team was the biggest in the history of sport, and that it couldn't compare to the state-sponsored doping program in the former East Germany, for example.

He denied that the International Cycling Union (UCI) covered up a positive drug test from the 2001 Tour of Switzerland, and he denied that he used banned drugs when he returned from retirement in 2009.

Had he not come out of retirement, Armstrong said, he doubted anti-doping officials would have ever caught up with him, although the allegations would have followed him forever.

When a federal criminal investigation into his possible role in doping in the sport ended with no charges in early 2012 he thought he was "out of the woods".

Now that USADA have made their case stick, however, Armstrong said he'd be happy to play a role in a "truth and reconciliation" period in cycling.

"If they have it and I'm invited, I'll be the first man in the door," Armstrong said, while acknowledging that he had "no moral platform" from which to pursue a clean-up of the sport.

Since the interview was taped, speculation has swirled as to whether he would implicate others -- such as members of the UCI.

Armstrong said he didn't want to accuse others.

"I didn't invent the culture, but I didn't try to stop the culture, and that's my mistake and that's what I have to be sorry for, and the sport is now paying the price because of that, and so I am sorry for that."

AFP

Comments
  • petrus.ngwenya.3 - 2013-01-18 06:34

    LOL, told you so!!!!

      foodfor.thought.73 - 2013-01-18 06:41

      Legacy is only as strong as the last move made, and you made a great move by coming forward. Well done Lance...

      FoodforThought - 2013-01-18 07:29

      On another note, we should not look away from other sport too; cycling is not the only one.There is much to be said about doping in rugby, athletics, etc...

      Joker1ZA - 2013-01-18 07:54

      cheats remains cheats full stop

      zane.blignaut - 2013-01-18 08:28

      Honestly who cares... there is too much money involved in sport, most of these top sportsmen are as dumb as pig sh*t, but earn millions, so its no surprise why these guys end up making the wrong move, or even forced into doping as their franchise bosses aren't making money.... proffesional sport will always have such drawbacks--- the price you pay for not playing for the love of it.

  • Ezio Auditore - 2013-01-18 06:39

    Still a champion in my book...

      Slowrider - 2013-01-18 06:42

      Still a cheat/druggie in mine...

      Ezio Auditore - 2013-01-18 07:07

      Live Strong Lance...

      lorain.maseko - 2013-01-18 07:13

      @ SLowrider I assume then that you are a perfect being? Why cant people let this go already all we heard the whole of last year is what a terrible person he is and how he got stripped of everything and he will be getting sued. He was big enough of a man to admit his mistakes,let it go.

      johan.mostert.967 - 2013-01-18 07:27

      @lorain, there is a big difference between making mistakes and cheat. A mistake is when you miss a ball or bump you toe, cheating is a calculated, plan to deceit. The only mistake in cheating is getting caught. Hell, according to your mentality all murderer, rapists and robbers must be set free because they made mistakes.

      justin.aguy.33 - 2013-01-18 07:32

      @lorain.maseko - woah woah woah, no-one is perfect, but to call him a "champion" is very wrong. He however IS a cheat and a druggie (or ex druggie). Spade a spade! He was only "big enough" to admit some 16 years later?! And it's only day 1 after that admittance. We're allowed to have a go at him, he lied to the world, he lied to children who looked up to him and he lied to many people who parted with their money to support him, including me!

      johan.mostert.967 - 2013-01-18 08:11

      The question is, would he still came clean if you was never pointed out? No, he said so himself: Had he not come out of retirement, Armstrong said, he doubted anti-doping officials would have ever caught up with him.

  • Johann.du.Preez - 2013-01-18 06:44

    I still can't see why everyone is out with the pitch forks and torches. Read the books by any number of pro cyclists and they all said the same, everyone did it. Yes doping is wrong but armstrong was/is still the best of that era. Cycling is fun but it's also hard on your body and mind and i know that no human can compete at that level riding those distances at those speeds day in and day out, it is impossible. So call lance what you would like but then call them all by the same name

      Slowrider - 2013-01-18 06:52

      I am sure not all cyclists are druggies/cheats....

      chez.kri - 2013-01-18 07:10

      @Johann. You defend this man like he is the one who walked on water. Do some more reading! There are cyclists who gave up the sport because of this man. Because they refused to drug the way he did, refused to tow his part line. Get over yourself. He wasw one of the main instigators; get you head out of the sand and accept it.

      Ze Don - 2013-01-18 07:13

      @Johann: Absolutely spot on! I think they should go do the same tests on ALL the participants in the races Lance won. You'll probably end up having to give the winners medals to the reserve tyre packer as he's the only one not dopped up to the eyeballs.

      johan.mostert.967 - 2013-01-18 07:29

      @Johann, and that is why Cycling is now probably going to be banned from the Olympics, screwing up plenty of youngsters chances and dreams to compete.

      Fishlus - 2013-01-18 10:32

      @Slowrider, agree 100%. Not all cyclists are druggies, but I will bet my bottom dollar that 99% of the guys(Pros) who ride the Tour, Giro and possibly even the Cape Epic either are or have been using. Creatine for example is one of the drugs/products that a lot of novices and and mid level riders use - guess what? It's banned because of some of its ingredients. Most of the USN products carry warnings about this and yet far to many people buy into this culture of "Supplementing" and then compete and get caught out wittingly and unwittingly

      graham.dutoit.12 - 2013-01-18 10:55

      Spot on - all the riders of that era cheated - whats the most important aspect is that they did so with implied consent from the authorities. Why could they not ever catch Lance - were they that dumb or were they covering up for him because he pushed the sport to new heights and the administrators could thus obtain larger sponsorships , tv coverages fees etc and line their own pockets accodingly.

      Johann.du.Preez - 2013-01-18 21:29

      @ Slowrider, i agree not all cyclists are dopers i mean, i don't dope and i'm sure you don't but that is us. @chez.kri if i defend this man they way you see, imagine what i would do for Jesus Christ my saviour. @ The rest of the comments that want to crucify Lance - Doping in cycling has been around since 1886 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_doping_cases_in_cycling#1886) so i doubt you can blame the most famous cyclist/doper for instigating/starting it and forcing others out of the sport. If a cyclist left the sport due to the fact that he refused to dope he should be commended but unfortunately he would be an unknown soldier. Closer to home David George is currently better know for doping than he is for cycling. So yes I did and will continue to defend armstorng cause in my point of view he was the best in an era gone wrong and that is the facts since only 1 runner up was not connected to doping in some way and of those connected only 1 was cleared This is what i breaks down to: Alex Zuelle, EPO 1998 Fernando Escartin, Not connected to doping Jan Ullrich, Banned for 2 years then retired Joseba Beloki, Implicated but later cleared Raimondas Rumsas, EPO 2003 Alexandre Vinokourov, EPO 2007 Andreas Kloeden, 2006 (transfusion) 2007 busted Ivan Basso, 2007 Attempted doping So pick then, scorn them, call them what you want fact is even Fernando Escartin said in his mind Lance was still the 1999 winner where Fernando finished 3rd

  • linda.songore - 2013-01-18 06:46

    he's not the 1st nor the last to cheat, lets move on

  • faizieishlah.shabalala - 2013-01-18 06:46

    I would pay to see a human run 100 metres in 5 seconds. Bring on the Freak Olympics. At least Lance didnt play rugby in SA.

      Dinos.Kaparos - 2013-01-18 08:55

      Agree. A legit "Dope Olympics". How cool would that be? If people are stupis enough to dope, let them do it full speed and let us see ridiculous records.

  • pierre.daneels - 2013-01-18 06:47

    At least he's finally had the ball to come clean.

      francois.smith.7 - 2013-01-18 06:52

      No he does not have the balls, they were removed as part of his cancer treatment?

      JohncarlosBiza - 2013-01-18 07:19

      Shwoosh the comment flies past you

      johan.mostert.967 - 2013-01-18 07:31

      If the anti dope agency didn't made it public he would've never come clean, he didn't had a choice. He is just more clever than our ANC politicians that don't know when they are cornered and must come clean.

  • dolphindunes.guesthouse - 2013-01-18 06:48

    It's just this mythic, perfect story," he said. "And it wasn't true." Been saying all along the cancer was a myth to allow him to dope heavily for a few years.

      Doorboot - 2013-01-18 07:21

      ? He did not say the cancer was a lie. So what are you on about? If anything he says he felt justified because of the cancer to use drugs.

  • reon.dereuck - 2013-01-18 06:50

    This is my body, and I can do whatever I want to it. I can push it; Study it; Tweak it; Listen to it. Everybody wants to know what I am on. What am I on? I am on my bike busting my ass six hours a day; What are YOU on?” ? Lance Armstrong

      Slowrider - 2013-01-18 07:30

      And by bike he meant custom drugs...

  • scheepers - 2013-01-18 06:51

    I can forgive him for doping and lying to us for 15 years, but making me watch Oprah, unacceptable!

      lorain.maseko - 2013-01-18 07:14

      Then dont watch it.

      toofaan.monsoon - 2013-01-18 07:25

      Thank you for my morning laugh. Ditto.

  • njabulo.njbl - 2013-01-18 06:51

    Imagine if bafana bafana actually won afcon! The stories after would be similar.

      Dinos.Kaparos - 2013-01-18 08:56

      Hahahahaha. True dat. Go Bafana!!

  • jeremy002 - 2013-01-18 06:55

    He might as well expose the full extent of doping as a whole in the sport. He ought to know. All the other dope users, dope suppliers, medal holders, coaches, managers, doctors etc must be squirming in their seats at the moment. There must be hundreds and hundreds if not thousands of them, and so far I have not heard of one other who has the courage to come clean. Certainly not before they are caught, neh?

      johan.mostert.967 - 2013-01-18 07:33

      Then he will follow a similar path as Hansie, I can guarantee you, this is going to be a multi million, if not Billion Dollar network. The Motoman didn't supply the cyclists for free and he didn't got his dope for free either.

      john.loveland.9 - 2013-01-18 11:22

      There have been plenty of others involved in cycling who have spoken out... Why do you think he was exposed... there were hundreds who testified during the inquiry and in a book written by one of his competitors (I forget who off hand) they exposed a lot of what was going on.

  • tommy.rinrin - 2013-01-18 06:55

    everything this behind is now all for nooothing! I feel sorry for his cancer campain and everyone that believed in him.

  • Theuns Jacobs - 2013-01-18 06:56

    hansie cronje was crucified, and this bloke thinks he can just say sorri and all is forgotten , his arrogance is something!! lying cheating bastard!!

      neil.j.weedon - 2013-01-18 07:28

      Agree 100% He should stand trial and get punished for gain under false pretenses and influencing the outcome of the results. No different at all to match fixing, insider trading, fraud.....the list goes on!

  • motleleng - 2013-01-18 06:57

    Was he high on EPO to admit all the doping or what? I salute u for coming clean, that's dope ....

  • matthew.ferrey - 2013-01-18 06:58

    Lying cheat. How many more lies within that interview?

  • jawell - 2013-01-18 07:11

    moral indignation is such an ugly side of the human psyche. We sit in judment of others yet overlook our own weaknesses. and this propensity to tell others I told You so is so self-aggrandizement. The fact that cycling does not fill the top 5 spots in the world of doping abuse is totally overlooked

      Slowrider - 2013-01-18 07:42

      LOL, perhaps stating my accusations were truthfull, when in fact in they were proved to be truthfull, is rather narcissistic. But he is still a loser...

  • hanno.vanhelsdingen - 2013-01-18 07:12

    Well done for telling the truth. Forgiveness is difficult for some people. Its not about the past anymore but the future and what you do from now on. Lance is paying for his actions. Still an amazing sportsman for me.

  • Piet Pieter - 2013-01-18 07:17

    Can you see it? This is the making of a new book and movie. This guy is clever!

  • sicelo.brukwe.9 - 2013-01-18 07:18

    Ja nhee!

  • Doorboot - 2013-01-18 07:19

    Well done Lance for finally owning up. I just hope your fans can forgive you. Btw I am no fan of the man as I did not like what he did to Floyd Landers but we all make mistakes...

  • phil.graham.3762 - 2013-01-18 07:20

    What a great shame and what a let-down to those who depended on him and those cyclists who used him as a role-model.

  • gary.doyle.520 - 2013-01-18 07:22

    No details, just yes and no answers, evasive and arrogant.

  • robby.setzer - 2013-01-18 07:29

    Lance Armstrong has disgraced Cycling and himself, but at least he confessed in my books that takes guts. Not many people can own up when they've done wrong, be it after pressure was mounted on him.

  • jorge.d.santos.9678 - 2013-01-18 07:31

    And why should this make such a big story? please look at most of the athletes from Eastern and other countrys. Woman are flat breasted and abound with muscles, while men are just solid muscles. Our own Zola Budd was an example of what women look like when they just train and train and don't take these performance enhancing drugs, small and frail looking but with a LOT of go in them. I am almost willing to bet that most of the records that have been broken by these type of muscle beasts were done with perfromance enhancing drugs. I say that the doctors and researchers should be the ones that should be fined so heavily that their hair falls off and never work in the industry again. god bless Jorge

  • arthur.salvado - 2013-01-18 07:32

    Thanks for coming clean Lance and thanks for the many mountain battles I witnessed when you beat the other "druggies". It was/is part of the sport and all Lance did was participate. No excuses though.

  • Glen.E.Huysamer - 2013-01-18 07:40

    He is a bike rider......freaky....freak so, he is not so fast anymore.... question is.... is he liable now to pay back all those sponsors and so on, and will his assets be seized by the feds, as it all seems that he obtained everything he has through ill gotten illegal means? Interesting.

  • jerry.mot - 2013-01-18 07:42

    A lot of people will get over the cheating and the lying. What many will not be able to forgive though is the ruthless manner in which he set his pack of lawyers after anyone who accused him of doping and almost ruined their lives. These people deserve more than a simple apology.

  • patrick.m.ellis.7 - 2013-01-18 07:42

    I admittedly know little about the sport, but based on countless incidents, cycling per se seems farcical as it is riddled with doping. I struggle to understand the enthusiasm for a sport, which, more than any other, is so tarnished. It is difficult to freely accept that any Tour de France winner has never doped. Very cynical of me, but with justification I believe. I'm amazed at the votes of support in this comment thead for Armstrong. He was a dishonest money and attention craving cheat. Simple as that.

      jawell - 2013-01-18 08:33

      cycling is riddled with doping?? As a sport cycling does not feature in the top 5 of drug abusing sports.

  • trevor.bush.9655 - 2013-01-18 07:43

    LMAO..find it sooooo funny that these spandex tiffies have to DOPE hardcore drugs to ride bicycles...LMAO....Bodybuilders yes...power athletes for sure but skinny little men peddling bicycles....no man!

  • rhamiid - 2013-01-18 07:49

    This is sad but true, he's not the only one thats taken drugs but he's the only one that's had the greatest impact on people in the sport and outside. I think he has to face the music and rebuild his leagacy by attempting to help clean the sport - I think and believe that he can make a difference by genuinely helping the younger generation of sports people with choices.I am truely disappointed in the guy but I think there can be some very good positives that can come from this! I just hope this phase of his life humbles him, because he was "the boss" afterall and bosses dont necessarily say sorry.

  • patrick.m.ellis.7 - 2013-01-18 07:49

    Many readers are expressing their admiration for Armstrong having the guts to own up & come clean. Hellooooo. He had no choice, the proof of his guilt was already in the public domain and he was no longer in a position where further denial would have served any purpose.

  • roy.wadhams.1 - 2013-01-18 07:53

    Now that he has admitted to this all the money plus the interest he made from the sport MUST be returned including his house etc. ,then put him in jail for doping.

  • mura.yllil - 2013-01-18 07:56

    So what ! Let's face the facts : Its a known fact most professional athletes dope. Rugby players , cyclist , marathon athletes any endurance sport even school kids. The list just goes on and on.

      roy.wadhams.1 - 2013-01-18 08:25

      And all those sports people who make money illegally should be punished and no excuses should be accepted.

  • michael.tetley.35 - 2013-01-18 07:59

    While I'm glad he has come clean, he didn't do it willingly, only when he was caught out and with his back to the wall. Therefore a little less praise singing all round please! I also agree he is not the only one but for many years he was the face and image of cycling around the world.

  • sean.tearnan - 2013-01-18 08:04

    Most of us with a brain new he was doping but while he was not caught we where happy to acknowledge him as a hero , now he is caught you are the first to attack. ( He put cycling on the map as he was its Superstar, without him cycling would just be another sport) He lead many people astray and must pay for his sins, however his legacy will be known in years to come. Every person falls and makes mistakes we will see if he is doing this for himself or for the bigger picture. I hope he will make right decisions

  • msika.bopha.9 - 2013-01-18 08:10

    I think they should make doping official in cycling, I am not a fan of the sport but during the Armstrong era I used to follow cycling and use to watch the "Tour de France" because of this name of Lance Armstrong. Let's face it, the man did so much in promoting cycling as a sport.

  • pollen.teffo - 2013-01-18 09:14

    Good thing Lance Amstrong is not a black ANC member.this news 24 comment section would have gone mad with racial animus by the minority.

  • pollen.teffo - 2013-01-18 09:29

    Hahahaha the editor removed my comment!!!its the truth if lance was a black men,this site was going to be full of racial insults posted by the minorities,haha,go on report this comment for editorial review.truth hurts

  • leonard.w.gray - 2013-01-18 11:50

    Armstrong is a cheat! I can't understand why people still support and glorify this lying disgrace of a sportsman!

  • sicelo.brukwe.9 - 2013-01-19 11:26

    He must tell us who is this Nigerian that killed him befor we lose more good children through drugs!!

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