At Last, Lance Admits Doping
Lance Armstrong's belated and widely-expected confession will cost him a fortune.
After a decade of fierce denials, disgraced cycling superstar Lance Armstrong has admitted to doping in an interview with Oprah Winfrey that will air Thursday. The interview was recorded yesterday at a hotel room in Armstong's hometown of Austin, TX, and Oprah Winfrey has confirmed that the confession—which will surprise almost no one—was made. Both parties originally agreed to not speak publicly until it aired, but leaks meant that "by the time I left Austin and landed in Chicago you all had already confirmed it," said Winfrey today on CBS This Morning. She describes Armstrong as "forthcoming" and says that she's "satisfied by the answers." They're apparently lengthy: Winfrey has decided to air the interview over two nights instead of one on her OWN network, to avoid having to cut excess footage. Last October, Armstrong was banned for life from cycling by the World Anti-Doping Agency and stripped of his seven Tour de France titles. Even if his confession allows his lift ban to be lifted, it cannot be reduced to under eight years.
Armstrong's belated admission could cost him a fortune; he's currently in talks with US Justice Department officials about returning a portion of the roughly $35 million that the US Postal Service paid his cycling team in sponsorship dollars. Justice Department officials are also weighing whether to join a whistleblower lawsuit filed by former cyclist Floyd Landis, alleging that Armstrong defrauded the government by doping—a violation of the Postal Service’s contract with the team. And The Sunday Times in Britain is suing Armstrong to recover about $500,000 that it paid him to settle a libel lawsuit over doping accusations. Any hopes that the interview will improve his reputation seem slim; his choice of outlet for his confession has already met with wide criticism.