Lance Armstrong interview with Oprah Winfrey

American cyclist Lance Armstrong admits to doping in all of his seven Tour de France victories in his first interview since being stripped of the titles.

18 January 2013 Last updated at 13:29 GMT

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As it happened

  1. 0430: 

    That's it for today/tonight. Many thanks for the #BBCLance tweets from around the world. I'm not sure if some of you have been left saddened, furious, bemused or all three by what you heard from Armstrong. Whatever the emotion, you will all agree it was a memorable day in the world of sport.


  2. 0430: 

    US Anti-Doping Agency (Usada) chief Travis Tygart also released a statement on the agency's website. Usada brought the charges against Armstrong.

    "Tonight, Lance Armstrong finally acknowledged that his cycling career was built on a powerful combination of doping and deceit," he said.

    "His admission that he doped throughout his career is a small step in the right direction. But if he is sincere in his desire to correct his past mistakes, he will testify under oath about the full extent of his doping activities."

  3. 0427: 

    Wada chief Fahey added that if Armstrong "was looking for redemption, he didn't succeed in getting that".

  4. 0426: 

    Thanks for your tweets. There has also been reaction from some relevant sporting figures, such as this from World Anti-Doping Agency president John Fahey.

    He told Associated Press that Armstrong's assertion in the Oprah Winfrey television program that he wasn't cheating when he took part in doping during his seven Tour de France wins "gives him no credibility". He added: "He was wrong, he cheated and there was no excuse for what he did."


    Alex Veeneman on Twitter: "@BBCSport Hello from Chicago. A lot of people will see Armstrong as tainted. Many of his fans here will no longer respect him. #bbclance"

    Alex Wyatt on Twitter: "@BBCSport if LA wasn't around would Cycling be as big? Would testicular cancer be as known? Surely the good outweighs the bad? #BBCLance"

    Martin Quinn on Twitter: "@BBCSport he's not gone down well over here. I'm British & I was mesmerised by his "7" wins, but like a lot of Americans totally let down"

    Keep across Twitter and @BBCSport for all your reaction to Lance Armstrong's interview with Oprah Winfrey.

  6. 0416: 

    Which Armstrong lines stood out for you? There were quite a few that I'm sure will be going through your minds over the coming days.

    This one stood out for me:

    "I looked up the definition of a cheat: to gain an advantage. I didn't view it that way. I viewed it as a level playing field."

    Chilling eh?


    S Wilde on Twitter: "@BBCSport #BBCLance He should never be allowed to compete again. He's risked destroying cycling as well as the careers of many clean riders."

    Jonathon Solomons on Twitter: "@bbcsport no way back into competitive sport for Armstrong. He only confessed under IMMENSE pressure so that he can compete. #bbclance"

    Sanjay Mistry on Twitter: "@BBCSport Fall of a former hero. Interview seemed to show more regret in his comeback/getting caught than doping in the first place #BBCLance"

    Got an opinion on tonight's interview then tweet us with the hashtag #BBCLance

  8. 0409: 

    I earlier asked whether Armstrong should be allowed to compete in sport again, here's what you guys thought... it's not pretty... #BBCLance

  9. 0407: 

    Armstrong admitted he hurt people, ESPN sportswriter Rick Reilly was one of them. Reilly wrote an emotional piece of how he felt he was betrayed by a man he spent "14 years defending".

  10. 0402: 

    One thing that pleasantly surprised me, was that Oprah Winfrey persisted with specifics about his doping past instead of veering away and moving on to his family, the effects on the Livestrong foundation etc (although they'll cover those topics tomorrow).

  11. 0357: 

    When Armstrong admitted that he continued to dope because he knew he wouldn't get caught, does that mean there were other athletes at the time who did the same?

    Do we now have fool-proof drug tests in place? Surely, Armstrong is the last sporting superstar to be outed?


    Fred Stark on Twitter: "@BBCSport he's a cheat and should be ashamed. He's (indirectly and directly) made a LOT of cash from Livestrong and his TDF wins #BBCLance"

    Wagathuku on Twitter: "@BBCSport Clearly, he still doesn't get it. His regret is not in cheating, but in the come back. #BBCLance"

    Tim Bilbrough on Twitter: "@BBCSport no one wants to admit they are wrong, he's starting the process, we have to have some faith that everything will follow #BBCLance"

    Get involved via the hashtag #BBCLance

  13. 0351: 

    Betsy Andreu on CNN regarding Armstrong saying he was not the kingpin of the team: "He was co-owner of the team, decided who was hired, fired, who got paid what. He was cosying up to politicians, the governing bodies. It's completely disingenuous and a way of distancing himself of being the leader."

  14. 0347: 

    Wife of a former Armstrong team-mate, Betsy Andreu, speaking on CNN, said (re Armstrong's refusal to admit he told a doctor while in hospital of all the banned substances he had taken): "The hospital is where it all started. He's going to infuriate people who know the truth. He's still protecting people who are close to him."

  15. 0346: 

    Did anybody think he was contradictory when he spoke about team-mates allowed to opt out of the doping programme then spoke about being a bully and that he "tried to control the narrative"?

  16. 0340: 

    So before Armstrong answers questions about his future, what do you think he should and can do now?

    The American mentioned that he was willing to co-operate with Usada. Should he have his lifetime ban lifted if he does help with investigations?

    Would you like to see Armstrong back in sport? Apparently he wants to compete in ironman events.

    Have your views about him changed?

    Tweet us at #BBCLance


    Valo_darling on Twitter: "@BBCSport He seems forthright for the most part. I just feel that he is used as a scapegoat. #BBCLance."

    Nick Ward on Twitter: "@BBCSport The doping matters far less than him lying so vehemently for so long, dragging people into his lie. That's deplorable. #BBCLance"

    Thomas Roberts on Twitter: "@BBCSport its been suspected for ages he's a cheat but I carried the hope he wasn't today is officially the end of a great legend #BBCLance"

    Give us your thoughts and reaction via the hashtag #BBCLance

  18. 0332: 

    If only I could publish a recording of the voice-over man who previewed tomorrow's Armstrong on Oprah show - imagine the guy who does the voice-overs for film trailers.

    Anyway, apparently they will talk about: His children, sponsors, devoted mother and what's next for Lance Armstrong?

    There have been no tears shed yet. I thought Winfrey asked some good questions, but were there any questions that you guys felt were left unanswered? Use the hashtag #BBCLance

  19. 0326: 

    As the credits roll on part one of the two-part interview, Armstrong talks about George Hincapie, his former team-mate, who was one of the riders who confessed to Usada about Armstrong's doping.

    Armstrong: My fate was sealed by [George]. If George didn't say it then people would say 'I'm sticking with Lance'. George is the most credible voice in all of this. We're still great friends. I don't fault George. George knows this story better than anybody."

  20. 0324: 

    Oprah: Will you co-operate with Usada?

    Armstrong: I love cycling and I say that knowing that people see me as someone who disrespected the sport, the colour yellow. If we can, and I stand on no moral platform here, if there was a truth and reconciliation commission, and I can't call for that, if they have it and I'm invited I'll be first man through the door.

  21. 0321: 

    Armstrong: I was treated differently (by Usada). I wasn't approached at the same time as the other riders. They were brought in and asked about the culture of cycling. They gathered all the subpoenas.

  22. 0318: 

    Now we're going on to the subject of the US Anti-Doping Agency picking up the case. Great drama eh?

  23. 0317: 

    Oprah: When they dropped the case (criminal investigation), did you think 'victory'?

    Armstrong: I thought I was out of the woods.

  24. 0315: 

    Oprah: Did you not think this day would be coming?

    Armstrong: I just assumed the stories would continue for a long time. We're sitting here because there was a two-year federal criminal investigation.

  25. 0313: 

    Armstrong: My comeback didn't sit well with Floyd. I was in a hotel room (upon hearing Landis would reveal details of Armstrong's doping). Floyd was sending text messages about his interview. I finally said "do what you have to do". He went to the Wall Street Journal with the story. Up to that point I supported him.

  26. 0311: 

    We're about to move on to former Tour de France winner Floyd Landis, who was stripped of his title for using banned substances. Landis then admitted to doping and alleged that Armstrong doped.


    Stephen Wall on Twitter: "@BBCSport Alright saying he raised money for charity but how about the money he made for himself #BBCLance"

    Mayank Kale on Twitter: "@BBCSport #BBCLance I started cycling because of him. After this, I feel a huge void."

    Yipski on Twitter: "Lance Armstrong's charitable work doesn't make up for the years of doping & cheating. #BBCLance @bbcsport"

    Get involved via the hashtag #BBCLance

  28. 0305: 

    Asked about using the "whore" word to describe Emma O'Reilly.

    Armstrong: I don't feel good. I was just on the attack. The territory was being threatened. The team was being threatened. I was on the attack.

  29. 0302: 

    Asked about failing a test during Tour de Suisse in 2001

    Armstrong: That story isn't true. There was no positive test. No paying off of the lab. The UCI did not make that go away. I'm no fan of the UCI.

  30. 0301: 

    Armstrong: Emma O'Reilly was one of the people we run over. I have reached out to her and tried to make those amends on my own.

    O'Reilly was a former aide of Armstrong and alleged she was used as a "drug runner" during her time working for the US Postal team. She tried to expose Armstrong's doping in 2003, but was sued for libel.

  31. 0258: 

    Armstrong: I donated money to the UCI (world cycling's governing body) - I did not pay it for a cover-up."

    UCI admitted it accepted a donation from Armstrong in 2002, but strongly denies it was connected to any cover-up of a positive test.

  32. 0256: 

    Armstrong is asked if he ever failed a test after the programme shows Usada chief Travis Tygart's interview on 60 Minutes.

    Armstrong: I never failed a test. Stuff was retroactively (retrospectively) tested - I failed those. But the hundreds I took, I passed them because there was nothing in the system.


    Matt Stebbings on Twitter: @BBCSport Very disappointing, Whole career was a lie @lancearmstrong admitted to using Perf Enhancing Drugs, Such a shame for Sport! #BBCLance

    Shel... on Twitter: "@BBCSport Sorry but everyone makes mistakes, his good deeds out do his bad. Think of the money he's raised for charity #BBCLance"

    Matthew Richardson on Twitter: "@BBCSport trying to restore some pride by admitting but using cancer as an excuse to 'win at all costs' shameful! #BBCLance"

    Tweet us with your thoughts and reaction to the interview with the hashtag #BBCLance

  34. 0253: 

    We're on another break. I'm just wondering, what on earth are they going to talk about tomorrow? Sheryl Crow?

  35. 0252: 

    Armstrong: "There are people in this story, they are good people, we've all made mistakes, they are not toxic and evil. I viewed Dr Michele Ferrari as a good man and I still do."

    Ferrari was understood to have been involved in the doping programme. He has been given a lifetime ban by the United States Anti-Doping Agency. He denies the allegations.

  36. 0248: 

    Armstrong: I'll spend the rest of my life trying to earn back trust and trying to apologise to people. For the rest of my life.

  37. 0246: 

    Oprah: Did you feel bad about it?

    Armstrong: No. Even scarier.

    Oprah: Did you feel you were cheating?

    Armstrong: No. The scariest.

  38. 0242: 

    Oprah: Did it feel wrong at the time?

    Armstrong: No. Scary.


    David Newsome on Twitter: "@BBCSport Oprah has started out very fast and why not, we all wanted these answers. Fascinated by Armstrong's honesty here #BBCLance"

    Mark Stewart on Twitter: "@BBCSport Oprah certainly not holding back but is he answering all of the questions fully? Seems to be turning some around #BBCLance"

    Rudy Jansen on Twitter: "@BBCSport What amazes me most is that this guy can live with himself #bbclance"

    Get involved with the hashtag #BBCLance

  40. 0233: 

    In summary

    • Armstrong has admitted to doping
    • Has admitted to being a bully
    • Was adamant that he hasn't doped since 2005
  41. 0229: 

    So the cancer turned him into a bully? Or have I misinterpreted that? What do you guys make of what he's said? React at #bbclance

  42. 0229: 

    Armstrong: It was win at all costs. When I was diagnosed (with cancer) I would do anything to survive. I took that attitude - win at all costs - to cycling. That's bad. I was taking drugs before that but I wasn't a bully.

  43. 0227: 

    Oprah: Were you a bully?

    Armstrong: Yes. I was a bully. I tried to control the narrative. If I didn't like what somebody said, I tried to control that. I've been like that my entire life.

  44. 0225: 

    Remember you can react to Armstrong's revelations using Twitter and the hashtag #bbclance - I'm still stunned by the burst of opening questions.

  45. 0224: 

    Oprah: Could you have got someone fired (for not joining in the doping programme)?

    Armstrong: No.

  46. 0222: 

    It sounds like Armstrong continued doping because he could get away with it. Oprah is not holding back - fair play to her.

  47. 0221: 

    On doping

    Armstrong: I viewed it as very simple. There were things that were oxygen-supplying drugs that were beneficial for cycling. My cocktail was EPO, but not a lot, transfusions and testosterone. There's no true justification.

    Oprah: Where you afraid of getting caught?

    Armstrong: No. Testing has evolved. Back then they didn't come to your house and there was no testing out of competition and for most of my career there wasn't that much out-of-competition testing so you're not going to get caught because you clean up for the races. It's a question of scheduling. That sounds weird. I'm no fan of the UCI but the biological passport worked.

  48. 0219: 

    Oprah: What did you think of those guys who were riding clean? Were they suckers?

    Armstrong: No. That is not true.


    Glen Holland on Twitter: "@BBCSport Lance was such an inspirational sporting figure. But with the likes of SIR Wiggins, the sport will have a new hero!"

  50. 0211: 

    Oprah: You brazenly denied everything so why now?

    Armstrong: That's the best question. I don't know I have a great answer. This is too late, probably for most people and that's my fault. I view this situation as one big lie that I repeated a lot of times. It's not as if I said no and moved off it. While I've lived through this process, I know the truth. The truth isn't what I said and now it's gone.

  51. 0210: 

    Armstrong: "To say that the (doping) programme was bigger than the East German programme of 1970s and 1980s...

    "It's hard to talk about the culture. I don't want to accuse anyone else. I'm here to acknowledge my mistakes. The culture was what it was. I can't say (everybody was doping)."

  52. 0207: 

    Wow What a showstopping start.

    Oprah: Was it possible to win without doping?

    Armstrong: Not in that generation. I didn't invent the culture, but I didn't try to stop the culture.

  53. 0204: 

    Oprah goes over how she set up the interview. Lance looks tense. Here are the first questions:

    Q. Did you ever take banned substances to enhance cycling performance?

    A. Yes

    Q. Was one of those substances EPO?

    A. Yes.

    Q. Did you use any other banned substances?

    A. Yes

  54. 0201: 

    The show starts with a montage and atmospheric piano/violin music. Our American friends sure know how to build the tension.


    Emma on Twitter: @"BBCSport if there's good to come out of this then it's the Livestrong charity which has helped so many and continues to do so #BBCLance"

    Dave Brown on Twitter: "@BBCSport cycling is doing its best to move on, the likes of Wiggo and co will restore the integrity of the sport. #BBCLance"

    Peter Fuller on Twitter: "Whatever happens lets remember Lance Armstrong's biggest victory had no element of cheating anyone who beats cancer is remarkable. #BBCLance"

    Remember keep your tweets coming to us via the hashtag #BBCLance

  56. 0200: 

    Excited? Tentative? Impatient? I'm all three. Oprah's got her 112 questions ready....

  57. 0155:  
    BBC Radio 5 live, BBC Radio 5 live

    Jeremy Whittle, cycling correspondent for the Times, was on BBC Radio 5 live earlier on Thursday:

    "There are rumours of tears but I think it will be an exercise in self-justification. I don't think anybody who was involved in the whole deceit fully comprehends the scale of what they've done. There's a sense of disbelief or self-delusion that's seems to characterise an awful lot of what's going on with the people who were involved."

  58. 0152: 

    By the way, did you guys read that our host for the night, Oprah Winfrey, carried the Armstrong interview tapes in her bag with dog food? Has anybody else done that? Sounds revolutionary.

  59. 0148: 

    I mentioned fallout earlier. International Olympic Committee member Dick Pound said that cycling could be dropped if Lance Armstrong accuses the sport's governing body, the UCI, of a cover-up. That reaction surprised a few people.

    But IOC board member Sir Craig Reedie said cycling's place in the Olympics is "not currently on the agenda".

    Let's see what Lance does say about others who might have been involved. It could be incendiary... or not. Apparently, he has a big team of lawyers.

  60. 0146: 

    Mixed opinions about Armstrong judging by the tweets coming in. There will be those who will support him no matter what, because he did beat cancer and has raised a lot of money.

    Will you views of him change during the broadcast - 15 minutes until we're ON AIR. I think that's the parlance.


    Jeff Jones on Twitter: "@BBCSport today Lance Armstrong will be stripped of any remaining public affection. #BBCLance"

    Alison Mowat on Twitter: "So @lancearmstrong has been stripped of his medal and I cannot WAIT to hear what he has to say to @oprah- @BBCSport I'll be following you!"

    Mase. on Twitter: "@BBCSport #BBCLance anyone who beats cancer is always gonna be a hero, no matter what."

    What are you thoughts on Lance Armstrong? Tweet us your thoughts throughout the night with the hashtag #BBCLance

  62. 0140: 

    BBC News' David Willis is in Austin, Texas, Armstrong's home city. He told BBC News Channel: "Armstrong has said 'I have laid it on the table, it's now up to people to decide for themselves'."

    Willis added: "People living in in Austin are sharply divided on Armstrong. There are those who believe he has done a lot of good for charity, especially cancer charities, for which he has raised hundreds of millions of dollars. Others see him as a disgrace to the sport and are even calling for the Lance Armstrong Bikeway to be renamed."

  63. 0139: 

    If you live in the United States, let the BBC know what you guys think of Armstrong since he was found guilty of being involved in doping. He has raised a lot of money for his Livestrong charity - does that lessen the negative impact caused by the revelations?

    Use the hashtag #bbclance and let us know.

  64. 0134: 

    If Armstrong confesses to doping then what would be the fallout? BBC Sport's Frank Keogh looked at the potential consequences, which you can read on the BBC Cycling page.

    It is worth remembering that Winfrey's primary audience are not sport aficionados, so the questions that The Sunday Times wanted the host to ask, printed in an advert in the Chicago Tribune, might not be asked.

    Then again, this is a well-respected interviewer, who wrote out (OK, maybe with a little help from her researchers) 112 questions.

  65. 0127: 

    The show begins at 0200 GMT and we will report on the key points right here. We would love your reaction before, during and after the programme.

    So, get in touch via Twitter using the hashtag #bbclance

  66. 0125: 

    So why Oprah Winfrey? The decision for Armstrong to give his first interview since he was found guilty to arguably the world's most famous talk-show host has irked some, including British cyclist David Millar.

    Millar, 36, who served a two-year ban after admitting to doping in 2004, is now a member of the athletes' commission for the World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada).

    He said: "Only Lance would get to have his moment of truth, if that's what it will be, with Oprah Winfrey.

    "It is not sitting in front of a judge or a disciplinary hearing being properly questioned about the things he has done wrong. I doubt very much it will be a proper interrogation."

    Winfrey has interviewed the likes of Elizabeth Taylor, Michael Jackson and Tom Cruise, who famously jumped on the sofa and professed his love to actress Katie Holmes during the show.

    Winfrey said she took 112 questions to the Armstrong interview and said: "I think the most important questions and the answers that people around the world have been waiting to hear were answered."

    Let's see if they were.

  67. 0119: 

    The moment of truth has arrived. American cyclist Lance Armstrong's eagerly-awaited interview with talk show host Oprah Winfrey is about to be broadcast.

    The 41-year-old has rarely been off the back-pages, and front-pages, since he was banned for life and stripped of his seven Tour de France titles in October last year after being found guilty of being involved in doping by United States Anti-Doping Agency (Usada).

    Up until now, the Texan, who returned to cycling in 1998 after battling testicular cancer, has denied the allegations. But it has been reported that he confessed to doping on the programme, which was recorded on Monday.

    Little else is known about what he has revealed to Winfrey, but the interview, to be shown today and tomorrow, promises to be fascinating and revelatory.

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