News24

Lance says sorry to staff

2013-01-14 21:33

Austin - Lance Armstrong apologized to the staff at his Livestrong cancer foundation before heading to an interview with Oprah Winfrey, a person with direct knowledge of the meeting told The Associated Press.

The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the discussion was private.

Stripped last year of his seven Tour de France titles because of doping charges, Armstrong addressed the staff on Monday and said, "I'm sorry." The person said the disgraced cyclist choked up and several employees cried during the session.

The person also said Armstrong apologised for letting the staff down and putting Livestrong at risk but he did not make a direct confession to the group about using banned drugs. He said he would try to restore the foundation's reputation, and urged the group to continue fighting for the charity's mission of helping cancer patients and their families.

After the meeting, Armstrong, his legal team and close advisers gathered at a downtown Austin hotel for the interview.

The cyclist will make a limited confession to Winfrey about his role as the head of a long-running scheme to dominate the Tour with the aid of performance-enhancing drugs, a person with knowledge of the situation has told the AP.

Winfrey and her crew had earlier said they would film the interview, to be broadcasted on Thursday, at his home but the location apparently changed to a hotel. Local and international news crews staked out positions in front of the cyclist's Spanish-style villa before dawn, hoping to catch a glimpse of Winfrey or Armstrong.

Armstrong still managed to slip away for a run on Monday morning despite the crowds gathering outside his house. He returned home by cutting through a neighbour's yard and hopping a fence.

During a jog on Sunday, Armstrong talked to the AP for a few minutes saying, "I'm calm, I'm at ease and ready to speak candidly." He declined to go into specifics.

Armstrong lost all seven Tour titles following a voluminous US Anti-Doping Agency report that portrayed him as a ruthless competitor, willing to go to any lengths to win the prestigious race. USADA chief executive Travis Tygart labeled the doping regimen allegedly carried out by the US Postal Service team that Armstrong once led, "The most sophisticated, professionalised and successful doping program that sport has ever seen."

Yet Armstrong looked like just another runner getting in his roadwork when he talked to the AP, wearing a red jersey and black shorts, sunglasses and a white baseball cap pulled down to his eyes. Leaning into a reporter's car on the shoulder of a busy Austin road, he seemed unfazed by the attention and the news crews that made stops at his home. He cracked a few jokes about all the reporters vying for his attention, then added, "but now I want to finish my run," and took off down the road.

The interview with Winfrey will be Armstrong's first public response to the USADA report. Armstrong is not expected to provide a detailed account about his involvement, nor address in depth many of the specific allegations in the more than 1 000-page USADA report.

In a text to the AP on Saturday, Armstrong said: "I told her (Winfrey) to go wherever she wants and I'll answer the questions directly, honestly and candidly. That's all I can say."
A
fter a federal investigation of the cyclist was dropped without charges being brought last year, USADA stepped in with an investigation of its own. The agency deposed 11 former team-mates and accused Armstrong of masterminding a complex and brazen drug program that included steroids, blood boosters and a range of other performance-enhancers.

Once all the information was out and his reputation shattered, Armstrong defiantly tweeted a picture of himself on a couch at home with all seven of the yellow leader's jerseys on display in frames behind him. But the preponderance of evidence in the USADA report and pending legal challenges on several fronts apparently forced him to change tactics after more a decade of denials.

He still faces legal problems.

Former team-mate Floyd Landis, who was stripped of the 2006 Tour de France title for doping, has filed a federal whistle-blower lawsuit that accused Armstrong of defrauding the US Postal Service. The Justice Department has yet to decide whether it will join the suit as a plaintiff.

The London-based Sunday Times also is suing Armstrong to recover about $500 000 it paid him to settle a libel lawsuit. On Sunday, the newspaper took out a full-page ad in the Chicago Tribune, offering Winfrey suggestions for what questions to ask Armstrong.

Dallas-based SCA Promotions, which tried to deny Armstrong a promised bonus for a Tour de France win, has threatened to bring yet another lawsuit seeking to recover more than $7.5 million an arbitration panel awarded the cyclist in that dispute.

The lawsuit most likely to be influenced by a confession might be the Sunday Times case. Potential perjury charges stemming from Armstrong's sworn testimony in the 2005 arbitration fight would not apply because of the statute of limitations. Armstrong was not deposed during the federal investigation that was closed last year.

Many of his sponsors dropped Armstrong after the damning USADA report - at the cost of tens of millions of dollars - and soon after, he left the board of Livestrong, which he founded in 1997. Armstrong is still said to be worth about $100m.

Livestrong might be one reason Armstrong has decided to come forward with an apology and limited confession. The charity supports cancer patients and still faces an image problem because of its association with Armstrong. He also may be hoping a confession would allow him to return to competition in the elite triathlon or running events he participated in after his cycling career.

World Anti-Doping Code rules state his lifetime ban cannot be reduced to less than eight years. WADA and US Anti-Doping officials could agree to reduce the ban further depending on what information Armstrong provides and his level of cooperation.

AP

Comments
  • tumisang.kolobe - 2013-01-14 21:43

    This man is digrace to the sporting world.....he lied and cheated

      renaldogouws - 2013-01-14 22:31

      yeah and you are such an angel.

      ian.frost.9047 - 2013-01-14 22:39

      And he without sin, cast the first stone. Me, me.......

      derek.francois.3 - 2013-01-15 06:37

      Such an arrogant scumbag, make an example of him to the next generation that cheating does not pay as it will catch up with you eventually. Strip him of every dishonest $ and jail him.............................hasn't even got the balls to come clean.............

      ReneMuller.XOXO - 2013-01-15 06:46

      The human race just loves to 'kick a dog when its down' - not nice! Lance should do the right thing and try to refund all the sponsors etc if not all the money but at least some of it. As for Livestrong, he should put in all his efforts to regain people's trust again, if possible. Livestrong is about cancer and not about Lance, the focus should be on that.

      david.banner.104418 - 2013-01-15 07:06

      This man did more for cycling and cancer than most other men. Yes he made millions, but companies made even more millions off him. He passed all doping tests, and all the accusations are hearsay by other cyclists, and after the fact. His training regime is quite brutal, either way you look at it, a lot of effort still had to come from the rider. Man I still have to have a coffee fix in the morning to get going, so ban me from work then. Lance, you are still "the man" in many peoples eyes. And all these Doom Sayers, you're jealous.

  • ian.robertreid - 2013-01-14 21:50

    When a man admit's wrong and is truelly sorry with remorse ~ then give him a break ~wev'e all been there??

      kabouter.kapot - 2013-01-14 22:20

      Askies? Speak for yourself.

      ReneMuller.XOXO - 2013-01-15 06:47

      Agreed @ian.

  • Dumblabrat - 2013-01-14 21:54

    What a prat and how sad that he disappointed so many people who looked up to him.

  • sicelo.brukwe.9 - 2013-01-14 21:59

    Oh voeitog Lance!!

      kabouter.kapot - 2013-01-14 22:25

      Exactly Sicelo. Why should we feel sorry for Lane? I'm with you S.

  • rockafella.funksatar - 2013-01-14 22:05

    Even if they say u lied or cheated Mr Lance it was for a good reason.......winning! which inturn contributed to ur cancer foundation. Nothing wrong, no 1died......... ........ .Now free ma man Berry Bonds

  • Xolani Jse Made - 2013-01-14 22:08

    Nothing more than wht he said can better the situation. The man is sorry....... an i forgive him!

      kabouter.kapot - 2013-01-14 22:24

      He cheated year, after year, after year. Many murderers apologise. Can we forgive them? Sies man.

  • rudi.debeer.5 - 2013-01-14 22:15

    I dislike cycling. More dangerous than rugby more doping than any other sport.

  • kabouter.kapot - 2013-01-14 22:19

    This is a bit too much for me. I was a really big Armstrong fan. Taints the sport of road cycling, doesn't it. Deceit is the name of the cycling game.

  • croets - 2013-01-14 22:33

    I guess not to many of you know anything about cycling. Fact is that all Le Tour riders use "stuff". The issue is not whether to use something or not. The decision is "what to use and how not to get caught". It does not make it right, but that is how it is. "You can not finish the Le Tour on bread and milk alone". For Lance to win the Le Tour, meant that he won against other riders who also used illegal substances...a fact. So, that mean that Lance still had to be the best rider of them all to have won. And that is how I will also see him, and remember him....The BEST cyclist ever!

      she.is.here.777 - 2013-01-14 22:54

      Not many know this Lance had an incredible ability to get rid of lactic acid nothing to do with Epo or GH or blood doping. That was part of his success not to mention huge lung capacity, power to weight ratio and VO2 max (volume of oxygen you can consume while exercising at your maximum capacity) He is / was freak talent no one on this earth can dispute that but the fact that he had to resort to drugs et all is sad and a disgrace.

      jaysonpaul.beckwith - 2013-01-15 09:13

      I agree with you Croets. Its not like jumping and a dik weil and going down to the corner store. Its a very technical sport. As in F1 racing. Anything to inhance the performance of the car. It might be -100g. But it can win a race.

  • Waseem Carrim - 2013-01-14 23:16

    The road to redemption is a long and draining one - I think that lance has taken the first few steps on that road and may he have the strength to find forgiveness. For many years he was such an inspiration to people who were suffering with cancer - maybe someday he can be a hero to those who are trying to find redemption. Best of luck lance :)

  • lala.kunene - 2013-01-15 00:00

    Nc.....nc....cn ....still...a long road to go here ( Armstrong apologised for letting the staff down and putting Livestrong at risk but he did not make a direct confession to the group about using banned drugs. He said he would try to restore the foundation's reputation, and urged the group to continue fighting for the charity's mission of helping cancer patients and their families.

  • jaysonpaul.beckwith - 2013-01-15 03:21

    Although I'm very disipointed with Lance,, I still can't stop to think, no matter what drug you take, if you can climb on a bike for the duration of the tour and do ± 150km a day. You got to have some talent. Yes he did do wrong and yes he will pay for what he did. But do give him some credit. It takes a very special person to complete the tour de France.

  • Robert Moohart - 2013-01-15 04:40

    that takes ball

  • bernard.mackenzie.5 - 2013-01-15 05:23

    What is a limited confession? Sounds like he is still trying to hide things.

  • jaap.kotze - 2013-01-15 05:56

    Now just wait for the anticlimax of the decade. Oprah and Lance will have an extra million or ten and nobody will be any wiser!!

  • Spha - 2013-01-15 06:15

    from all the bad he's done,who are we to judge him,im just proud of him that there is some sort of goodwill he did to cancer suffers n their families through livestrong foundation.as we count other people's downfall let us not forget that is part of nature to sin n hope he's god will forgive him.

  • Sibusiso - 2013-01-15 06:43

    Lance ,u cheated!If white SA's opinion mattered in yo case ,u would be let off the hook. They want u forgiven because u are white .A black guy here in SA won the Comrades marathon and tests show that he used illegal substances.Interestingly they are not demanding that he be forgiven ,instead they are calling for his head.

      Juan Van Der Merwe - 2013-01-15 07:14

      Sibusiso, That is really a Dumbsh*t comment, maybe you should stop being racist and use the google on your internet machine, Barry Bonds is black, he got caught as well, there are more steroids being used by professional athletes then TIK in Cape Town, only difference is when they get caught it goes viral. Look at the history of any sport and see for yourself how many people used steroids or EPO, Black and White.

      jaysonpaul.beckwith - 2013-01-15 08:12

      Sibusiso, what the hell has race got to do with this??? Jeez are you soooo bored with yourself that you need to stir the pot to get somebody to pay attention to you. I feel sorry for you. Rather get a hobby, like knitting or something.

      ganjabobby - 2013-01-15 19:04

      what about in swimming.. 16 year old Chinese athlete, Yi Shiwen wins olympic gold in individual medley. media suggests.. "impossible, she must be doping, she's just too fast" 15 year old Lithuanian, Ruta Meilutyte wins gold in 100m breaststroke. "what an amazing talent, the next big thing"

  • andre.krige - 2013-01-15 07:12

    Big lessons to be learnt ... Hopefully out of bad comes some good...

  • jaysonpaul.beckwith - 2013-01-15 08:53

    Can I throw a spanner in the works here? What if,, the tour was a free for all, meaning any competitor could use what they wanted? After all its not a induvidual race its a team race.. My point is, its mostly about the riders stamina and guts. The drugs only inhance the performance slightly. You still need to have b@lls of steel to complete the tour de France. And anybody that's done long distance on a bike might see my point. Like I said, its just a spanner.

  • mhla.mdlalose - 2013-01-15 13:41

    its good to tell the truth

  • christo.espach - 2013-01-15 14:34

    Question: If Lance has to pay back ever cent he got from Nike, Okley, Trek, etc. are they going to give back every cent they made off of his career?

  • sicelo.brukwe.9 - 2013-01-15 18:05

    Did he expose all of them!!

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