Lance Armstrong on doping: Yes

Added by on January 18, 2013

Lance Armstrong in 2005 / Photo: Getty Images

Lance Armstrong in 2005 / Photo: Getty Images

Lance Armstrong admitted to taking performance enhancing drugs in an interview with Oprah Winfrey, aired worldwide on Thursday.

Winfrey asked Armstrong, “Did you ever take banned substances to enhance your cycling performance”.

Armstrong replied, “Yes” ending years of speculation and accusations that he used banned substances to win seven consecutive Tour de France cycling races.

Winfrey asked Armstrong about whether he used banned performance enhancing substances like blood transfusions (known as blood doping), testosterone, cortisone, or human growth hormone, to which Armstrong replied “Yes” in all cases.

When asked whether it was “humanly possible” to win the Tour de France seven times in a row, Armstrong answered, ”No, in my opinion.”

Armstrong expressed regret saying, “I view this situation as one big lie that I repeated a lot of times…I will spend the rest of my life trying to win back trust and apologizing to people.”

Armstrong was accused of doping after he retired in 2011 when the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency released a long report that, among other things, accused Armstrong of leading the largest and longest doping program the sport of cycling had ever seen. The USADA began their investigation after a two year federal investigation was dropped.

Reaction to Armstrong’s admission and overall interview was swift and polarized.

A lawyer for a company that could try to recover US$12m it paid to Armstrong’s team said, “It seemed to us that he was more sorry that he had been caught than for what he had done.”

The International Cycling Union’s (UCI) president, Pat McQuaid, said “Lance Armstrong’s decision finally to confront his past is an important step forward on the long road to repairing the damage that has been caused to cycling and to restoring confidence in the sport.” The UCI was thought to have been influenced by Armstrong to cover up a positive drug test.

Armstrong was banned for life from cycling, lost all of his sponsors, and stripped of all of his race wins including a bronze medal he won at the 2000 Olympic games.

The interview ends years of speculation where Armstrong maintained he did not use performance enhancing substances. In a statement on Armstrong’s website made on June 13 2012 in response to the USADA report, Armstrong said, “I have never doped… passed more than 500 drug tests and never failed one”

Lance Armstrong, 41, won seven consecutive Tour de France bicycle races between 1999 and 2005, won a bronze medal in the 2000 Olympics, and won a broad range of other awards throughout his professional career between 1987 and 2011.

The US Anti Doping Agency, created in 1999, controls US anti-doping programs and performs testing for the use of banned substances and is a signatory of the World Anti-doping code – widely considered the strictest sports anti-doping programs.

Doping, or taking performance enhancing drugs and treatments, includes things like painkillers, blood boosters, drugs that stimulate muscle growth, stimulants, diuretics, and masking drugs. Performance enhancing drugs’ long-term side effects include liver abnormalities and tumors, high blood pressure, diabetes, risk of stroke and heart attacks.