Lance Armstrong Admits Using EPO and Blood Doping to Oprah Winfrey
Lance Armstrong sat down with Oprah Winfrey and admitted using testosterone and EPO and to performing blood transfusions during the height of his career as a pro cyclist. Starting from the beginning and highlighting every important quote of the interview, here's our recap, with video.
Lance Armstrong sat down with Oprah Winfrey and admitted using testosterone and EPO and to performing blood transfusions during the height of his career as a professional cyclist. The wide-ranging, hour-and-a-half-long interview covered everything from Armstrong's time taking performance enhancers, to his brief and (supposedly) clean comeback, to whether or not his teammates were pressured to dope, to how he treated people who spoke out against him. Armstrong blamed his behavior on a fierce drive to compete, his cancer, and eventually getting wrapped up in his own lies. Below, from the beginning and highlighting every important quote of the interview, is our recap, with video. (Plus: what everyone's saying about Lance and Oprah.)
9:06 p.m. Oprah comes out guns blazing. "Did you take performance enhancing drugs?" she asks. "Yes, Armstrong answers. "I view this situation as one big lie... that I repeated many times," he said. "The truth isn't out there. The truth isn't what I said," he explains.
9:09 p.m. Was it the most sophisiticated doping ring sports have ever seen? "No," he says. "It was professional, sure. It was smart, if you can say that." Armstrong says he didn't have access to anything that any other cyclist had access to. Oprah tries to get him to give up other riders, but Armstrong refuses to snitch.
9:12 p.m. To wrap up the first Armstrong segment: he admitted to taking performance enhancing drugs, including EPO, and blood doping. He said he got lost in his lies and eventually he lost control. He also said it wouldn't be possible to win the Tour de France seven times without it.
9:13 p.m. Armstrong just said he doped between stages of the Tour de France, though he can't recall which ones specifically. It was in response to accusations from one of his former teammates.
9:14 p.m. "My cocktail, so to speak, was EPO, but not a lot — transfusions, and testosterone," he says.
9:17 p.m. Armstrong says he stopped doping and taking any performance enhancers for his 2009 and 2010 comeback Tour de France rides. Before that, Armstrong told Winfrey he wasn't afraid of being caught. He praised the UCI for enhancing their testing methods, directing praise towards the biological profile and out of race testing. First commercial break is happening now.
9:25 p.m. Armstrong explains there wasn't any sort of team directive to dope. "We were all grown men. We made our choices," Armstrong says. He says some members of the team didn't dope, but denies ever pressuring teammates to dope. Armstrong says it was a competitive time, and "there was a level of expectation," but he never pressured anyone. Armstrong does concede he was the team leader, and "leaders lead by example." They debate that Armstrong's spot as a leader could have led other riders to believe they were pressured into doping.
9:26 p.m. "Were you a bully," Winfrey asks. "Yeah, I was a bully," Armstrong says. "I tried to control the narrative."
9:28 p.m. "Winning 7 Tours... I knew, I knew I was going to win," Armstong says. (Sorry about the time stamp mix-ups. We're working an hour ahead of ET, locally.)
9:36 p.m. Armstrong and Oprah are now talking about his former trainer and doctor who set him up on the doping regimen, Michele Ferrari. Oprah tries to get him to explain Ferrari's role in the doping ring, though Armstrong refuses to talk about anyone else but himself. He's holding the line on not giving anyone else up.
9:40 p.m. "Was I a jerk and a humanitarian? I was both... I'm deeply flawed, we're all deeply flawed," Armstrong says. He acknowledges that he dug his own grave by being such an outspoken advocate against other cyclists who used performance enhancers. Armstrong also acknowledges that his charity work made the magnifying glass even bigger. Blames a ruthless desire to win. He also calls himself "an arrogant prick," when watching his own deposition testimony from 2005.
9:46 p.m. Oprah's playing a clip of Armstrong chiding cheaters on the podium after winning Tour de France. "What were you saying that for?" Oprah asks. "That just came out," he explains. "Listen, that was the last time I won the Tour de France. 'That's what you're going to leave with? That was lame, Lance.''"
9:49 p.m. "Did it feel wrong?" Winfrey asks. "No. Scary," Armstrong says. "Did you feel bad about it?" she asks. "No. Even Scarier," he says. "Did you feel you were cheating?" she asks. "No. Scariest," he says. "I looked up the definition of 'cheat,'" he says. "I didn't view it that way. I saw it as a level playing field."
9:52 p.m. "I'll spend the rest of my life trying to earn back trust and apologize to people."
9:57 p.m. "I never... I didn't fail a test," he says. "Some tests were retroactively tested, and yeah I failed those, but there was nothing in the system." Armstrong denies ever testing positive and ever making a test go away. There was a story about how he tested positive for EPO once and "made it go away," but he denies that ever happened.
10:00 p.m. Armstrong admits to dodging a drug test in 1999 by having a Cortisone prescription back-dated by his doctor so a positive test would be voided. Armstrong says, "to be honest Oprah, we sued so many people," when Winfrey asks about the masseuse who told the story about how Armstrong's team conspired to up the cortisone test. "When I hear that there are some people who will never forgive me, I understand that," he says.
10:09 p.m. Interview shifts towards Armstrong's denial of Betsy Andreu's story about hearing Armstrong tell a doctor about his PED use in 1996. Armstrong refuses to talk about it, for the most part. "I called you crazy, I called you a bitch, but I never said you were fat," Armstrong says he told her during a forty minute apology phone call. He says the wounds aren't totally healed yet, though. (There were reports he called her a crazy, fat bitch. So, you know, that's something.)
10:14 p.m. Oh, boy. Here comes the part about former teammate Floyd Landis, who implicated Armstrong for using PEDs in interviews. Armstrong agrees with Oprah that Landis' confession of his own PED use, and his accusations about Armstrong, were the tipping point. The point that started, eventually, the lead-up to this moment. That, and his comeback. "We wouldn't be sitting here if I didn't come back," he says.
10:17 p.m. "You would have gotten away with it [if you didn't come back]?" Winfrey asks. "It's impossible to say... much better chances... but I didn't!" Armstrong says.
10:19 p.m. Armstrong says he had no influence on the Department of Justice dropping their investigation into his alleged doping. "I thought I was out of the woods," once that happened, Armstrong says.
10:24 p.m. "I'd do anything to go back to that day," when the U.S.A.D.A announced their charges against him that he decided not to fight, which led to his sponsors bailing on him and his Tour wins getting stripped. Makes it sound like he would have admitted that day, if he could go back.
10:29 p.m. "Will you cooperate with the U.S.A.D.A. to help them clean up cycling?" Winfrey asks. Armstrong concedes that he's the worst person to say anything about cleaning up cycling now. "I stand on no moral platform," he says. "I'll be the first man in the door," he says, if the U.S.A.D.A. do try and make an effort. And, of course, if they'll have him.
10:31 p.m. And that's it for tonight. The rest of it airs tomorrow night. Adios.
Here's the full video:
Original: The long-awaited interview where Lance Armstrong admits some his experience with doping to Oprah Winfrey is about to air. What exactly will he admit? We don't know yet! That's why we have to watch.
Of course, Oprah is an old pro with these confessional interviews. Oprah says his confession isn't what she expected. Lance's people are reportedly a little worried with some things he said, which could mean his answers are juicier than we previously thought they might be. They rumor was Armstrong was going to be vague enough with his confession so as to not give away specific instances. We're only going to get half of our answers tonight, though. The second half of the interview still has to air tomorrow evening. Until then, follow along here for real-time updates. Interview broadcast starts at 9 p.m. ET on the (sometimes hard to find) OWN network. If you don't have cable, you can watch the interview live here.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.