In a highly anticipated "Oprah's Next Chapter" interview, fallen champion cyclist Lance Armstrong tried to come clean to the talk show queen about his past use of performance-enhancing drugs. But the interview infuriated many people in Armstrong's past. Forgive and forget? Not so fast.
Here's what we know, thanks to Oprah's opening yes-or-no interrogation, which felt like it was straight out of a court room:
Armstrong admitted that, yes, he used the hormone EPO; yes, he engaged in blood doping; yes to using testosterone and human growth hormone; and yes, he used these banned substances to win all seven of his now-stripped-away Tour de France titles. He maintained that he stopped doping in 2005 and that he was clean for his races in 2009 and 2010.
Armstrong prefaced his confession to the world by saying, "I will start my answer by saying this is too late…" and revealed that, in his opinion, it would have been impossible to win the Tour de France without doping in that generation of the cycling culture.
He became uncomfortable when Oprah started digging around for the details on the alleged systematic doping ring, secret blood transfusions, code words (which weren't too sneaky -- Edgar Allan Poe as a code for EPO?), and his former teammate Tyler Hamilton's accusation that they injected EPO in a hotel room and disposed of needles in soda cans.
"I didn't read Tyler's book," he admitted.
He also admitted that he was a bully. "I tried to control the narrative," he said, but stopped short of admitting that he pressured his teammates to dope.
But some of Armstrong's answers were shocking. He didn't feel that the banned substance use was "cheating" (he looked the word up in the dictionary, so he should know), saying he "viewed it as a level playing field," and even justified his use of testosterone following his battle with testicular cancer.
"My cocktail, so to speak, was EPO, but not a lot, transfusions and testosterone," Armstrong told Winfrey. "Which in a weird way I justified because of my history of testicular cancer.... Surely I'm running low."
But while trying to repair his image with this way-too-late confession, Armstrong angered a lot of people who were left in his wake.
He brushed over Oprah's questions about his former massage therapist, Emma O'Reilly, who blew the whistle on his doping. Oprah tried to verify if he had bullied her, labeled her a whore, and slapped her with a libel lawsuit.
"To be honest Oprah," he said, "we sued so many people, I'm sure we did… She's one of those people I have to apologize to."
In an interview on an Irish morning show following Armstrong's "Oprah's Next Chapter" interview, O'Reilly said she had missed a recent call from the cyclist, but received a text message from him. O'Reilly said Armstrong's apology was "not at all" enough after what he put her through, and called him a "little runt." When asked if she thought Armstrong has paid enough for his wrongdoing, O'Reilly said, "I don't think he's even started paying."
Armstrong also told Oprah that he made an apologetic phone call days earlier to Betsy Andreau, the wife of his former teammate Frankie Andreu, who had testified that she heard Armstrong tell a hospital doctor that he had taken banned substances.
"I think she'd be OK with me saying this," he told Oprah of the phone call. "I said, 'Listen, I called you crazy. I called you a bitch. I called you all these things, but I never called you fat.'"
In an interview with CNN's Anderson Cooper, Betsy Andreau said that watching Armstrong's exchange with Oprah made her "furious," and she slammed him for not coming completely clean.
"He owed it to me; he owed it to the sport that he destroyed," she said. "Lance can redeem himself, but only if he comes clean to the USADA and WADA, because there is no way he conducted the biggest fraud in sports history on his own."
She also accused Armstrong of "cherry picking the truth," and said, "If he's willing to go out on a limb and speak so publicly, and say he cheated and lied and defrauded the U.S. government, then why not tell the truth about the hospital room. I wonder why he did the interview at all."
Oprah's handling of the interview was widely praised. CNN host Piers Morgan tweeted: "This interview reaffirms @Oprah as the greatest TV interviewer in the world. She's doing a brilliant job." But Morgan had nothing nice to say about Armstrong, whom he referred to as "a sniveling, lying, cheating little wretch." Morgan added, "I hope he now just disappears."
Part two of Oprah's interview with Lance Armstrong airs on Jan. 18 on OWN.
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