A lot of people criticized Lance Armstrong's performance for being emotionless in the first half of his big confessional interview with Oprah Winfrey, but we knew from earlier reports he was going to at least tear up at some point. It came when he spoke of telling his kids the truth.
"I told Luke, I said, 'don't defend me anymore," Armstrong said, finally, after choking up while describing how he finally told his children that he had cheated during his cycling career. He has five kids: a 13-year-old boy, 11-year-old twin girls, and another boy and girl under five years old. Armstrong said Luke, his eldest son, was, or is, usually harassed on social media and the Internet over their father's steroid accusations. "I knew I had to tell him. He never said 'Dad, is this true?' He trusted me!" It was when his son told him he was defending him that he knew he had to finally come clean. But they didn't end up having the conversation until just over the holidays. "'Listen, there's been a lot of questions about your dad, about my career, whether I doped or did not dope,'" he told them. "'I've always denied that, and I've always been ruthless and defiant about that, you guys have seen that. It's probably why you trusted me on it,' which makes it even sicker..." he told Oprah.
Armstrong also said the "most humbling moment" was when he was asked to step aside from the LiveStrong Foundation. He received a call a few weeks after resigning as chairman, and was asked to "consider stepping aside" from the board of directors -- for his own sake, of course. "To make that decision, and to step aside, was... that was big," he said. "I was never forced out, or told to leave. I was aware of the pressure... It hurt like hell." He told Oprah that was the lowest moment of his whole fall from grace.
Armstrong said he "felt invincible," and that's why he always attacked critics. He then read out the laundry list of people he owes public apologies to, including David Walsh. Walsh has published multiple books on Armstrong's career and his steroid accusations. He's also written extensively about Armstrong for the Sunday Times, the British newspaper suing Armstrong to reclaim a libel settlement they paid him over one of Walsh's stories.
Amazingly, Armstong still thinks he deserves to compete in sanctioned athletic events. Oprah asked him if he was just doing the interview because he wants to return to "the sport." Initial reports implied Armstrong wants to return to running marathons. Armstrong more or less confirms this when he says he wants to run the Chicago Marathon when he's 50 years old. "Are you asking me if I want to compete again? Hell yes," Armstrong said. His argument as to why he deserves to compete again: everyone else came clean and in exchange for a six month suspension. In a different part of the interview, Armstrong acknowledges he "deserves to be punished," but he doesn't think he deserves "a death penalty."
So, there you have it. The goriest details and highlights from the second half of Armstrong's confession. The first night had all the blockbuster confessional business, though some of it is already coming under fire.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
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