Lance Armstrong rocked the cycling world when he sat down in 2013 with Oprah and admitted that he used performance-enhancing drugs to increase his speed skills. In 2012, the cyclist was cited, and thus banned from the sport, after the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency called Armstrong the man behind “the most sophisticated, professionalized, and successful doping program that sport has ever seen,” the Today Show reported.
Armstrong sat down with the morning program and told CNBC’s Andrew Ross Sorkin that the last six years of his life have been “terrible.”
“I don’t know if it’s fraud – you can call it whatever you wanna call it. It doesn’t matter, right? I mean, it’s fraud, betrayal, feeling complicit, all of these things that we know people felt. That’s on me. I’ll spend the rest of my life trying to make that right,” Armstrong said.
Disgraced and banned for life from competing professionally, the Tour De France legend admitted to Winfrey in that 2013 interview that he, indeed, used the blood doping drugs — but denied that he was any sort of ringleader in a sport-wide scandal. He went on to say that cheating runs rampant in the cycling community, and he was only doing what he needed to do to stay competitive. Armstrong was dropped — and ultimately sued — by several sponsors and faced lawsuits by teammates who felt Armstrong “ruined their livelihood” by being a part of a team lead by a cheater.
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Well, we made it! @laruta_conquistadores in the books for @wedu.team. For all of you who have heard the (war) stories – believe them. This event will kick your ass more than you could ever imagine. Otherworldly. These 3 days woke something up in me – I’ve been traveling non stop, neglecting my health (diet, sleep, stress) and that’s gonna stop. So thanks La Ruta for the kick start and thanks to the amazing people of Costa Rica for their hospitality!! Pura Vida!! And thanks @lizkreutz for the amazing pics!
Armstrong was stripped of his Tour De France titles but told Today that if he could go back and compete he would, and he would be successful without the use of performance-enhancing drugs.
“What I would rather do is go back and win seven in a row against everybody else that’s drinking water and eating bread. That’s what I would want. And I believe that that would happen,” the cyclist admitted.
These days, Armstrong, 47, is trying to rebuild a life after the highly publicized scandal. He’s built a digital media business that hosts two podcasts, “The Move,” and “The Forward.” He’s also started a venture capital firm called Next Ventures. The father of five proposed to his longtime girlfriend, Anna Hensen, last year.
Sorkin asked Armstrong during the Today sit down if Armstrong felt humbled by the scandal, and his subsequent public shunning from the sport he loves so much.
“It’s funny. I get both sides of it. I get people that say, ‘He hasn’t apologized enough,’ and then I get a lot of people that say, ‘Dude, stop apologizing.’ I don’t feel like a failure. And I’ve never felt like a failure since then,” Armstrong mused.