Lance Armstrong. Photo Getty
His fall nearly complete, disgraced cyclist Lance
Armstrong finally confessed to using performance-enhancing
drugs in an interview today with Oprah Winfrey, USA Today
Although American media had widely speculated that Armstrong
would admit to cheating in the interview, neither Winfrey nor
Armstrong would confirm the report, in which the newspaper
cited an anonymous source.
"We are not confirming any specific details regarding the
interview at this time," a spokesman for Oprah's network OWN
The report did not say which drugs Armstrong admitted to
using, and the American's attorney and his spokesman did not
immediately respond to requests for comment.
Armstrong, 41, has always vehemently denied using
performance-enhancing drugs and had never tested positive to
a doping test. But the evidence against him has been
Oprah, on Twitter, offered little more herself other than to
say Armstrong came prepared for the interview, which will be
broadcast on Thursday.
"Just wrapped with @lancearmstrong More than 2 1/2 hours. He
came READY," Winfrey tweeted.
But the television host hinted she would provide some more
snippets, confirming she would appear on CBS television on
Tuesday morning to talk about the interview.
CBS reported Armstrong had indicated he may be willing to
testify against others involved in illegal doping and was in
talks about repaying part of the taxpayer money he earned
during his career.
The unconfirmed reports about his admissions followed
Armstrong's apology to the staff of the cancer foundation he
had started over difficulties they may have experienced
because of the doping controversy.
"He had a private conversation with the staff, who have done
the important work of the foundation for many years," said
Livestrong Foundation spokeswoman Katherine McLane.
"It was a very sincere and heartfelt expression of regret
over any stress that they've suffered over the course of the
last few years as a result of the media attention," she said.
Shortly after, Armstrong joined his legal team to meet with
Winfrey for an interview described as "no-holds-barred."
The interview was supposed to take place at Armstrong's Texas
home but was switched to a hotel in downtown Austin after
news crews camped outside his house before dawn.
SWIFT FALL FROM GRACE
A former cancer survivor who went on to become the greatest
cyclist the world has seen, Armstrong's fall from grace has
been as swift and spectacular as his rise through the French
Long dogged by accusations he cheated his way to the top, an
October report from the U.S. anti-doping body USADA
ultimately triggered his rapid slide.
USADA exposed Armstrong as a liar and a cheat, describing him
as the ringmaster of the "most sophisticated,
professionalized and successful doping program that sport has
ever seen," involving anabolic steroids, human growth
hormone, blood transfusions and other doping.
Former Armstrong teammates at his U.S. Postal and Discovery
Channel outfits, where he won his seven successive Tour
titles from 1999 to 2005, testified against him as well as
admitting to their own wrongdoing.
The mountain of evidence was overwhelming, and when Armstrong
decided not to fight the charges against him, his Tour de
France victories were quickly nullified. He was banned from
cycling for life.
His sponsors, which had remained loyal to him, began
deserting him and he stood down as chairman of Livestrong.
Legal issues began to mount.
His former teammate Floyd Landis, a self-confessed cheat,
filed a lawsuit against him for defrauding the U.S.
government, while the London-based Sunday Times is suing
Armstrong to recover about $500,000 it paid him to settle a
Armstrong could also be forced to pay back amounts including
$7.5 million to SCA Promotions, a Dallas-based company that
paid him a bonus for his Tour de France wins.
Throughout it all, Armstrong remained silent, unrepentant and
seemingly unconcerned as the cycling world was left reeling
by the revelations.
That was until last week, when he announced he had agreed to
an interview with Winfrey, prompting speculation he was ready
to confess he cheated.