According to The New York Times on Jan. 12, disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong is planning on confessing to Oprah Winfrey that he did, in fact, use performance-enhancing drugs during his cycling career. The interview will take place in Armstrong’s home on Monday, Jan. 14 and will be aired on the Oprah Winfrey Network on Thursday, Jan. 17.
Lance Armstrong has denied the doping charges for 15 years. So why is he coming forward now? Armstrong wants to persuade officials to lift his lifetime ban from Olympic sports. He would like to compete in triathlons and running events, this according to people who reportedly have knowledge of his plans.
The World Anti-Doping Code states that athletes can receive up to a 75 percent reduction of their ban for providing “substantial” assistance to anti-doping authorities in building cases against others. Armstrong would have to give up people who helped him in his doping but, according to insiders who did not want their names released, Armstrong is only planning to make a limited confession.
However, there is another side to this. A confession could open Lance Armstrong to a myriad of legal troubles. There is already a case that contends that Armstrong and others on the United States Postal Service Pro Cycling Team used taxpayer money to finance their doping program. The government could join in that case.
He may also have to repay $12 million received from SCA Promotions, money he received for winning several of the Tour de France races. The company’s attorney is waiting to see the Oprah Winfrey interview before filing suit. There is another lawsuit from The Sunday Times of London for more than $1.5 million.
The worst case scenario, though, could be criminal charges arising from the confession. An investigation into Lance Armstrong’s activities was closed last year. That investigation could be reopened by another U.S. attorney.
Lance Armstrong was stripped of his seven Tour de France titles after former teammates testified against him. Officials have said that that this was “the most sophisticated, organized and professional doping program in sports history.”