Lance Armstrong Confesses to Oprah

January 25, 2013 in Sports, Top News, U.S. News

Lance Armstrong Pictured CyclingLong-time Tour de France hero Lance Armstrong confessed limited guilt in response to key questions about his widely-reported use of banned substances Dec. 13. Armstrong met with Oprah Winfrey for a two-part interview in what proved to be a blockbuster media event garnering 4.3 million viewers. Armstrong had fended off doping allegations ever since his first Tour de France victory in 1999. Such rumors persisted well beyond his 2005 retirement. Public doubts about the veracity of charges against him seemed to disappear with his appearance with Oprah.

Armstrong responded with a simple “Yes” replies to five key questions that Oprah put to him:

Oprah – “Yes or no, did you ever take banned substances to enhance your cycling performance?”

Armstrong – “Yes.”

Oprah – “Yes or no, was one of those banned substances EPO?”

Armstrong – “Yes.”

Oprah – “Did you ever blood dope or use blood transfusions to enhance your cycling performance?”

Armstrong – “Yes.”

Oprah – “Did you ever use other banned substances like testosterone or human growth hormone?”

Armstrong – “Yes.”

Oprah – “Yes or no, in all seven of your Tour de France victories did you ever take banned substances or blood dope?”

Armstrong – “Yes.”

Armstrong avoided acknowledging any culpability as ringleader in the doping scandal that has thrown Tour de France into chaotic disrepute. His interview with Oprah was the first time Armstrong spoke publicly on doping charges since being banned for life from all competitions falling under the World Anti-Doping Agency’s oversight. Major media commentators have been almost unanimous in questioning the sincerity of the one-time sports hero’s confession, citing his statements as calculated and passionless. Many have commented that Armstrong’s only regret seems to be that he had gotten caught.

According to the United States Anti-Doping Agency, Armstrong’s USPS/Discovery Channel pro-cycling team successes were won through a sophisticated, professional and successful doping program. Usada has concluded that Armstrong was “engaged in serial cheating” and his career at the team was fuelled from start to finish by doping. Numerous former team-mates, friends and former team employees confirmed a fraudulent course of conduct. Armstrong allegedly acted with a “small army of enablers, including doping doctors, drug smugglers and others within and outside the sport and his team” and seemed to rely successfully on inside information about when testers would turn up.

Media speculation over Armstrong’s legal vulnerability to civil and possible criminal charges ramped up to fervent levels almost immediately following release of the OWN video. Many questions about Armstrong’s guilt on other aspects of the doping scandal remain unanswered but are sure to come up in future inquiries. Apparently the Lance Armstrong saga is destined to be one of those endless news stories that keeps on giving ─ a ratings bonanza right up in the same league as the O.J. trials.