Armstrong admits doping in "toxic" tale

Fri Jan 18, 2013 10:17am EST
 

By Julian Linden

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Lance Armstrong ended years of vehement denial on Thursday by finally coming clean and admitting he had cheated his way to a record seven Tour de France titles with systematic use of banned, performance-enhancing drugs.

Confessing his "toxic" tale to chat show host Oprah Winfrey, the cyclist described himself as a "flawed character" while at last owning up to being at the center of one of the biggest drugs scandals in world sport.

In one word at the beginning of the interview broadcast worldwide, cancer survivor Armstrong confirmed his place in any gallery of fallen icons who have shamed their sport, the likes of drug-cheat sprinters Ben Johnson and Marion Jones.

"Yes," he replied when asked directly whether he had used performance-enhancing drugs.

Winfrey rapidly fired questions at him, offering the 41-year-old little respite, grilling him about every aspect of his tainted career.

Without hesitation, and showing no signs of emotion, Armstrong replied "yes" to questions about whether he used specific drugs, including erythropoietin, human growth hormone, and blood doping.

When asked why he had repeatedly lied about using banned substances until Thursday's startling admission, he told Winfrey: "I don't know I have a great answer.

"This is too late, probably for most people, and that's my fault. I view this situation as one big lie that I repeated a lot of times.   Continued...

 
Cyclist Lance Armstrong is interviewed by Oprah Winfrey in Austin, Texas, in this January 14, 2013 handout photo courtesy of Harpo Studios. REUTERS/Harpo Studios, Inc/George Burns/Handout