“I am flawed. Deeply flawed,” Armstrong said. “We all have our flaws.”
To Armstrong biographer Daniel Coyle, the overall effect was regrettable.
“It felt like a painful and mostly unnecessary therapy session that took place on stage in front of tens of millions of people,” Coyle said.
“There were many moments, maybe 75 or 80 percent of it, when it was the old Lance: defiant, pushing back, not displaying any emotional connection. And there were flashes of insight. But by and large, this is a guy who doesn’t yet get the big picture.”
Richard Pound, former president of the World Anti-Doping Agency, said he sensed Armstrong was more chagrined by his fall from grace than contrite over the doping that led to it. That said, Pound likened his confession to the necessary first step of a recovering alcoholic.
“Unless you get them to acknowledge there is a problem, there’s no possibility of a cure,” Pound said. “He has now come forward and acknowledged what everybody knew.”
But that won’t be enough to persuade WADA to revisit its lifetime ban. If Armstrong wants to compete again, he’ll have to testify under oath — a point Travis Tygart, CEO of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, made clear Thursday night.
“We want to know how you did it? Who was involved? How was it protected? How was it that you had so many drug tests — he says 600; it was half that, at most — throughout a period you were using, and none of the tests were positive? Who helped? Who was involved? How did the money flow?” Pound said.
“For him to say, ‘I’m taking personal responsibility,’ be our guest. But, by the way, don’t show up anywhere in the future.”