By Dion Caputi
Oprah Winfrey on Tuesday confirmed media reports that world-renowned cyclist Lance Armstrong has come clean about his use of performance-enhancing drugs in a candid interview lasting more than two and a half hours to be aired later this week.
The media mogul said Armstrong was both forthcoming and prepared in the taped interview, which took place in the cyclist’s hometown of Austin, Texas.
“I would say he met the moment,” Winfrey said on CBS This Morning. “For myself, my team, all of us in the room, we were mesmerized and riveted by some of his answers.”
“I think the most important questions and the answers that people around the world have been waiting to hear were answered,” she said.
The interview with Armstrong was taped on Monday and will air Thursday on the Oprah Winfrey Network, a cable specialty channel.
From 1999-2005, few dominated a sport like Armstrong. Over that period, Armstrong claimed seven Tour De France titles, an unprecedented achievement which launched the American to global stardom.
On Oct. 2, 1996, Armstrong, who was 25 at the time, was diagnosed with stage three testicular cancer. The situation reached a frightening plateau, as the cancer quickly spread to his abdomen, brain, and lungs.
Following a battery of treatments he was declared cancer-free in Feb. 1997, a mere six-months after being given a 40 per cent chance of survival.
And so began the inspiring and incredibly successful comeback to cycling, in addition to the also successful, non-profit Lance Armstrong Foundation (now Livestrong Foundation) which provides support for cancer patients. The rest is history.
we were mesmerized and riveted by some of his answers. — Oprah Winfrey
Despite facing doping allegations for much of his career, the Plano, Texas-born cyclist had previously been a firm opponent to any and all claims, citing he had not tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs in approximately 600 tests over the course of his career.
However, on Oct. 10, 2012, the United States Anti-Doping Agency published a 200-page report, including supporting evidence, followed with a recommendation that Armstrong be stripped of all titles since Aug. 1, 1998 and receive a lifetime ban from the Union Cycliste Internationale.
On Monday, prior to speaking with Winfrey, a choked up Armstrong appeared at the Livestrong Foundation in Austin, apologizing to tearful staff members, according to the Associated Press.
The foundation’s director of communications, Rae Bazzarre, said Armstrong offered a “sincere and heartfelt apology for the stress they’ve endured because of him.”
The magnitude of the situation appeared to carry with the shamed rider, as he was reportedly “emotional at times” during Monday’s interview, a source told CNN on Monday.
Although the report broke suddenly about the bombshell interview with Winfrey, CNN sports anchor Patrick Snell suggested no aspect of the confession was made without care.
“He would have taken strong legal advice, of course,” he said. “When you look at the kind of stuff Oprah’s done over the years, it’s a chance to get heartfelt emotions across.”
Armstrong’s revelations seem to be a well-planned public relations exercise, Snell said.
“It’s very hard for anyone to imagine him going into this without having been fully briefed, made aware of absolutely every scenario,” Snell said.