Lance Armstrong is probably hoping the second part of his two-part interview with Oprah Winfrey goes a little better than the first one did. The former Tour de France champion admitted he used performance-enhancing drugs in each of his seven title-winning races, but did little to woo the public he was trying to win back.
The second part of the interview will be telecast on Winfrey’s OWN television network and live-streamed simultaneously on Oprah.com Friday at 9 p.m. EST.
Armstrong has long been a target of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, whose investigation led to the cyclist being stripped of all seven of his Tour de France titles. The USADA also banned Armstrong for life from any competition over which it has jurisdiction.
Armstrong’s former teammates on the U.S. Postal Service riding team accused him of acting as a ringleader in their complicit doping scheme.
“For 13 years, you didn’t just deny it, you brazenly and defiantly denied everything you admitted just now,” Winfrey said on Thursday night. “So why now admit it?”
“That’s the best question, the most logical question,” Armstrong replied. “I don’t know that I have an answer. I’ll start my answer by saying that this is too late. It’s too late for probably most people, and that’s my fault. I view this situation as one big lie that I repeated a lot of times. ... I know the truth, the truth isn’t what’s out there, the truth isn’t what I said.”
Armstrong added: “This story was so perfect for so long. And I mean that, as I try to take myself out of the situation, and look at it as you overcome the disease, you win the Tour de France seven times, you have a happy marriage, happy children. It’s just this mythic, perfect story -- and it wasn’t true.”
Armstrong has been criticized for his aloofness during Thursday’s interview and, perhaps more tellingly, that he has retaliated against so many people for speaking out against him that he couldn’t even remember them all.
Among them was Betsy Andreu, the wife of a former teammate who testified that Armstrong had doped. When she spoke out, Armstrong and others made phone calls questioning her sanity, among other things.
“I did call her crazy,” Armstrong told Oprah. “I did. I did. ... I think she’d be OK with me saying this, I said, ‘Listen, I called you crazy, I called you a bitch, I called you all of those things, but I never called you fat.’” Armstrong then smirked. Evidence of his idea of a joke, perhaps?
After the interview aired, Andreu sat in with CNN’s Anderson Cooper and looked visibly upset.
“I guess we know why I was [a bitch] all these years, putting up with that,” she said. “You owed it to me, Lance, and you dropped the ball. After what you’ve done to me and what you’ve done to my family, and you couldn’t own up to it? ... How was I supposed to act? Sweet as apple pie? ... That exchange right there, it has me furious.”