Welcome to the second, and final, night of Oprah Winfrey’s interview with Lance Armstrong. He admitted to doping and bullying innocent people Thursday night and we’ll see what else he could possibly have to say in tonight’s program. Join Caitlin Dewey and me here for real-time coverage; here’s how to find the program, which starts at 9 p.m. ESTM on TV and radio. It’s on Oprah.com as well.
Now you’ve heard what Lance Armstrong has had to say to Oprah Winfrey.
He admitted to doping, he would like to compete again and he’s troubled, deeply, about the consequences of his choice to cheat on his children. Despite the emotional territory Part 2 crossed, it’s difficult to imagine Armstrong has changed perceptions about him.
Oprah Winfrey went right for the throat at the start of the second half of her interview with Lance Armstrong, reminding him that most media outlets have taken to calling him “disgraced” and asking him to recount his most humbling moment in the aftermath of his doping scandal.
Armstrong first remembered when his sponsors, including Nike, pulling back from their contracts; but his worst moment, he said, was when the cancer charity he founded, Livestrong, asked him to step down from the board and disassociate himself from the foundation.
Livestrong has faced a number of hard questions, and an uncertain future, in light of its founder’s — to quote Oprah — disgrace.
If Oprah Winfrey was hammering Lance Armstrong last night on the details of when and where and how he cheated, tonight she’s wrapping it up with the other Oprah, the one you’d tell your secrets to and makes you sniffle.
Yep, we’ve seen this before.
Last night, @oprah was a prosecutor with a target in her crosshairs. Not tonight. This is Oprah’s Forgiveness Hour of Power.
— Don Van Natta Jr. (@DVNJr) January 19, 2013
After 60 minutes, Part 2 is over.
I look at Lance Armstrong & see Navin Johnson writing checks in his office after he loses the lawsuit in The Jerk.
— Doug Ramey (@fatpickled) January 19, 2013
Lance/Oprah II was a complete waste. Ball was not moved.
— Dennis Dodd (@dennisdoddcbs) January 19, 2013
Now that The Confession is over, here’s Q: was OWN smart to air it in 2 parts? Or should it have aired all at once?
— Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) January 19, 2013
Changes from Lance to Bill Maher.
— mike freeman (@realfreemancbs) January 19, 2013
Lance Armstrong says that neither his ex-wife Kristin and Anna Hansen, his long-time girlfriend, knew the full truth about his doping.
Armstrong did apparently ask his ex-wife if she thought he could make a comeback after he stopped doping. Her answer — yes — prompted him to relaunch his career.
She also apparently told him that “the truth will set you free.”
Armstrong said his mother has been a “wreck” since the scandal broke, prompting Oprah to ask if he’s moved past the “sociopathic” and “narcissistic” impulses that once convinced him his doping allegations would not impact others.
Armstrong insisted he had. While his mother tried to disguise her hurt from him, he realized she was devastated after speaking to her on Facetime.
Has this experience made you a better person? Oprah asked.
“Without a doubt,” he said, twice.
Armstrong places a monetary figure on what he lost when sponsors like Nike dropped him immediately after he was banned and stripped of his Tour de France titles and it’s staggering.
“I’ve certainly lost all future income….I’m going to give you a number. You could look at the two days or the day and a half when people left and I’m going to give you a number. … I don’t like thinking about it, but that was a $75 million day.”
Out of your life?
“Gone. Gone. And probably never coming back.”
Armstrong is generating reactions across the spectrum.
Someone stop me. I am now feeling sorry for Lance. I laughed, almost cried and I think Oprah made a mistake by not using this footage Thurs.
— Mike Wise (@MikeWiseguy) January 19, 2013
Oprah: “Are you in a space where you realize how you shattered people’s lives?” Lance: “Yes. Yes. … Yes.” Uh, no.
— Jason Wilde (@jasonjwilde) January 19, 2013
“I lost $75-million once, but I found it when we had someone come in to steam-clean the couches.” — Oprah
— Bruce Arthur (@bruce_arthur) January 19, 2013
Armstrong may be down, but he’s not down and out. When asked if he “lost everything” in the wake of the scandal, Armstrong hesitated before saying only that he lost his future income and sponsorships to the tune of $75 million.
Armstrong also denied rumors that he had attempted to bribe fellow cyclists.
“They know a lot. They hear it in the hallways,” Armstrong said of his five children and their knowledge of his fall from grace.
Armstrong seemed to choke up when talking about his son Luke, 13, who defended his father vehemently on social media, apparently without ever asking him if the doping allegations were true.
That conflict helped Armstrong decide to come forward now, he said.
“There have been a lot of questions about your Dad’s career,” Armstrong said he told his children, “and I’ve always been ruthless and defiant, which is why you trusted me — and which makes it even sicker. I want you to know that it’s true.”
The children said very little in response.
“Don’t defend me anymore,” he told them.
If there’s one thing that’s a lightning rod so far, it’s Armstrong’s comment that he got the “death penalty” when he was banned from competition for life. The ban means that he can’t compete in sanctioned triathlons and marathons, which is what he wants to do. He isn’t happy that other dopers have gotten suspensions of months and years.
While I understand his point, he says he began doping in the mid-1990s. Doesn’t that seem to merit a lifetime ban?
“Realistically,” he said that he understands the ban isn’t likely to be lifted.
— Alice Corrine (@alice_corrine) January 19, 2013
@cindyboren Did he just say he DESERVES to be able to compete again?
— ibeetb (@ibeetb) January 19, 2013
This will come as no surprise given his talk of “the process,” but Armstrong says he is in therapy and admits he has been for years, on and off.
“This is heavy and this is messy and it’s not something that I can sit with you and leave and say, ‘we’re all good.’ Over the course of my life, I’ve done it sporadically and I’m the type person who needs to not to do it sporadically. It needs to be consistently. I’ve had a messy life. It’s no excuse.”
Armstrong, he insists, isn’t merely sorry he got caught. He insists he has remorse, another word that he might look up.
“Everybody that gets caught is bummed they got caught. … I’m paying the price, but I deserved it.”
Lance Armstrong beats himself up and says “it’s sick” as he watches video of himself talking about the “faith that people have put in him over the years” and knows he has let hundreds of millions of people down.
Who is that guy?
“That is a guy who felt invinceable, was told he was invinceable and truly believed he was invinceable. That guy’s still there. I’m not going to lie to you and tell you ‘Oh, I’m in therapy. I feel better.’ He’s still there. Does he need to be exiting through this process? Yes.”
Armstrong, 41, would love to run in a marathon but cannot because he can’t be in anything that is officially sanctioned. He says, “I think I deserve it” so clearly that process ain’t finished because he says he got a “death penalty” while others got only months or years.
“I’m not saying it’s unfair, but it’s different.”
Lance Armstrong tells Oprah that “of course” he feels disgraced. And humbled and ashamed. “This is ugly stuff.”
Last night, he said he looked up the work “cheating” in the dictionary. Perhaps he should check out “disgrace,” too. Saying that Nike dropping his sponsorship was his first big humbling moment probably isn’t going to get back his enormous likeability. (Note that Nike has not dropped Livestrong.) Stepping down from Livestrong was the worst. Earlier this week, he apologized to staffers for damage he’d done to the cancer charity which he says “is like my sixth child.”
Now, to see if Lance Armstrong managed to magically become likable and forthright in the middle of a three-hour interview.
— Bruce Arthur (@bruce_arthur) January 19, 2013
Energetic tweeter Jose Canseco offered a good word for Lance Armstrong, probably one of the few he’s heard today. Submitted without further comment:
Lance Armstrong did more good for the sport than bad. He brought that sport out of obscurity. He also made people greatly aware of cancer
— Jose Canseco (@JoseCanseco) January 19, 2013
Tyler Hamilton was one of America’s great cyclists, a teammate who rode with Armstrong on three of his Tour de France victories.
Unlike Armstrong, he happened, though, to get caught for using performance-enhancing drugs after winning an Olympic gold medal and during a race in Spain and his relationship with Armstrong was ripped apart after he called Armstrong out on “60 Minutes” and in a book. Armstrong famously confronted him in a Colorado restaurant two years ago and threatened “to make [his] life a living hell both in the courtroom and out of the courtroom.”
If anyone might be venting today, you’d think it would be Hamilton. But, after Armstrong’s interview with Oprah Winfrey, Hamilton said he was no longer angry and perhaps Armstrong feels today the way Hamilton did in 2011 when he admitted doping.
“Once I told the truth, it was like, I felt so good I didn’t care what people thought of me,” he told Yahoo. “I knew that people disliked me, and there always will be, but that’s the price you pay for being in the limelight, so to speak.
“Do I deserve to be disliked? Yeah, I deserve it. If they come around and maybe respect me, that’s great, but if they don’t I completely understand. I’ll live with my wrongdoings the rest of my life.”
Hamilton, author of “The Secret Race,” wasn’t feeling the same disgust with Armstrong that most people were.
“I understand the general reaction, the general public reaction. He is a fighter, one of the toughest dudes I’ve ever met. I’d ask the public to give him a little bit of freedom going through this. They don’t need to write the guy love letters, but show a little support and encourage him to do the right things.
“There are only two people in this world that I’ve personally hated. I no longer hate him. In a roundabout way I feel fortunate I met him. Together, we went through some of the best of times and some of the worst of times.”
Just what will Lance Armstrong say to Oprah Winfrey tonight? Perhaps he’ll explain how and why he made such a swift transition from tweeting a defiant photo of himself admiring his seven Tour de France jerseys on Nov. 10 to the intense session — #Doprah on Twitter — in a little over two months.
Perhaps tonight he’ll say he was just kidding about everything last night.
Back in Austin and just layin’ around… mob.li/_r4zAz
— Lance Armstrong (@lancearmstrong) November 10, 2012
The world’s No. 1 tennis player is furious with Lance Armstrong, who admitted Thursday night that he was using banned drugs as he won seven Tours de France.
Novak Djokovic, who won a third-round Australian Open match Friday, took a sizzling shot at Armstrong:
“It would be ridiculous for him to decline and refuse all the charges because it has been proven. They have like a thousand proofs that he’s positive. I think it’s a disgrace for the sport to have an athlete like this. He cheated the sport. He cheated many people around the world with his career, with his life story. I think they should take all his titles away because it’s not fair toward any sportsman, any athlete. It’s just not the way to be successful. So I think he should suffer for his lies all these years.”
Djokovic said the grueling schedule was partly to blame for doping that used to be rampant on the international cycling tour.
“I lost a lot of faith in cycling. I used to watch it. All the big champions that were there, Marco Pantani, now Lance Armstrong. Yeah, I don’t want to say all. I really don’t know. There has been so much controversy about that sport. I’m sure that there are many cyclists in the world who are training very hard and trying to not use any enhancing drugs for their competition.
“But I think it’s not acceptable that they have physically so much races in short period of the time. I think basically every single day, day and a half, they have to go through 200 miles. Uphill, downhill in Giro D’Italia, Tour de France, that’s inhuman effort. As you can see, Lance Armstrong, many other big champions, had to use something to succeed.”
The first part of Oprah Winfrey’s interview with Lance Armstrong drew an audience of 4.3 million viewers Thursday night to OWN, her struggling network that more typically averages 330,000 a night. Clearly, those overnight Nielsen ratings would indicate she is back.
The overnight result on whether Armstrong is back, after admitting he used performance-enhancing drugs and bullied and sued those who had the temerity to suggest he was doping — was far, far less positive.