In just a matter of hours we'll all be able to sit down, turn on the OWN network for the first time, and watch Lance Armstrong admit that he doped and cheated to win seven Tour de France titles — or something like that. (It's only Part One.) And on this special day, loaded with legal ramifications along with ratings and tell-alls, the International Olympic Committee has finally decided to strip the disgraced cyclist of his Olympic bronze medal. "The timing of the IOC move, however, was not related to the TV interview," reports the Associated Press. Which makes you wonder why it took so long to strip him of his medals — Armstrong took the bronze at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney. As the AP notes, the committee was discussing his medal back in December:
The IOC executive board discussed revoking the medal last month, but delayed a decision until cycling body UCI formally notified Armstrong he had been stripped of his seven Tour de France titles and all results since 1998. He then had 21 days to appeal.
That may seem like a strange timeline since Armstrong was stripped of his cycling titles in October, but it turns out that he was "formally notified" on December 6, and did not file an appeal on December 27. Which brings us to today's curious timing, some three weeks later.
Nevertheless, it's just one more wrinkle heading into Oprah Winfrey's already recorded two-night interview, which will also be broadcast online right here starting at 9 p.m. Winfrey claims Armstrong was "forthcoming," although the big reveal might end up being more about how Armstrong says things than what, exactly, Armstrong says. For what it's worth, or if you don't buy Oprah's hype, Armstrong just texted this to the AP:
I left it all on the table with her and when it airs the people can decide ... I have no idea what the future holds other than me holding my kids
Of course now that we know we've been lied to, Armstrong's word is worth about the cost of that text message. But the Oprah confession is just the first step to building back public trust, and the interview, which will continue Friday, also has legal ramifications. Armstrong is currently the defendant in at least two pending lawsuits, and a confession could cost him tens of millions of dollars. The AP notes that there's a possibility of a third suit on the way. "The Justice Department faces a Thursday deadline on whether to join a whistle-blower lawsuit filed by former teammate Floyd Landis, who was stripped of the 2006 Tour de France title for doping," reports the AP.
On Tuesday night, CBS reported that the Justice Department rejected Lance's offers of cooperation in a federal investigation:
JUST IN: @cbsnews has learned that Lance Armstrong has offered to pay more than $5 million to the fed. gov't to compensate for alleged fraud— CBS News (@CBSNews) January 15, 2013
MORE: Lance Armstrong also offered to be a cooperating witness in a federal investigation, but the DOJ turned down both offers as inadequate— CBS News (@CBSNews) January 15, 2013
Sources tell the AP that the Justice Department is likely to join the lawsuit.