The highly-anticipated Lance Armstrong Oprah interview part one aired on OWN's Oprah's Next Chapter Thurs. night (Jan. 17), and it didn't disappoint. Oprah delivered everything she promised and then some, producing results that years of US Anti-Doping Agency inquiries and major federal criminal investigation couldn't.
Lance Armstrong confessed to doping; boy, did he confess. Blood transfusions, secret code words for drug drop-offs and years of using oxygen-increasing and hormone-boosting performance enhancers he swore up and down never to have touched. He did it all, and then he sued everyone who told the truth for interfering with, as he now puts it, his need to "get whatever I wanted and control every outcome." The Lance Armstrong confession is one of the most brazen things we've seen in quite some time because it came after such brazen denials.
In short, Lance Armstrong is a liar. A big, fat liar.
Lance Armstrong Oprah Interview Part One: Doping Confessions (Jan. 17, 2013)
Oprah Winfrey began the explosive 90-minute first half of her no-holds-barred interview with the former cycling champion by asking a series of "yes or no" questions. Let's begin there.
Oprah: "Did you ever take banned substances to enhance your cycling performance?"
Lance Armstrong: "Yes."
Oprah: "Was one of those substances EPO?"
Oprah: "Did you ever blood dope, or get prohibited transfusions?"
O: "Did you ever use testosterone, cortizone, Human Growth Hormone?"
O: "Regarding your seven Tour de France titles, did you take banned substances or blood dope?"
O: "In your opinion, was it humanly poss to win seven time in a row without doping?"
L.A.: "Not in my opinion."
Lance Armstrong Confession: Oprah Interview Part One Cont'd (Jan. 17, 2013)
From here, the conversation opened up, with Armstrong providing more lengthy answers. Though at times the Lance Armstrong confession had to almost pulled out of him, at others it flowed surprisingly freely. The man known for his arrogance and win-at-all-costs mentality admits that very attitude is one of his biggest flaws. It served him well growing up and when he battled cancer, but, he claims, led him to doping when he carried that theme over into cycling.
"I've always been a fighter. Before my diagnosis I was a competitor but not a fierce competitor, but [after the diagnosis], I said I will do anything I have to do to survive. And that's good. And I took that attitude, that ruthless, win-at-all-costs attitude and took it right into cycling. And that's bad."
The Lance Armstrong confession confirmed Armstrong had been doping beginning in the 1990's through 2005, though Armstrong claimed he was clean when he competed in the 2009 and 2010 Tour de France races. (We're inclined to believe him; the once seven-time champ came in 23rd in the 2012 race.) He has since been stripped of all the Tour de France titles he illegally won.
Armstrong told Oprah that at the time he was doping, not only did he not feel like he would ever get caught (testing has improved and expanded considerably in the years since Armstrong was most active in pro cycling), but he didn't even feel like he was cheating. Armstrong said he felt doping was as natural as "putting air in your tires, water in your bottle" for many professional cyclists at the time.
Armstrong went on to say he will apologize for what he did for the rest of his life, though he understand his credibility is shot. His confession and apologies certainly won't ever be enough to earn him back his Tour de France titles or his sponsors. More of the fallout from Armstrong's now-admitted doping will be explored in the Lance Armstrong Oprah interview part two, which airs Friday, Jan. 18, on OWN. Check listings for local times and channels.