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Lance tears up, but can't elicit sympathy
Not nearly far enough, Lance.
Lance Armstrong’s eyes watered when Oprah Winfrey brought up his kids in the second part of their interview that aired Friday night. The disgraced cyclist who had his record seven Tour de France titles ripped away for doping offered more apologies. He said he lost $75 million in one day because of the burgeoning scandal.
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Armstrong, however, again was light on details and, worse, appeared tone-deaf at times, such as when Winfrey asked if he should be allowed to compete again.
“This may not be the most popular answer,” Armstrong said. “I think I deserve it.”
Those words likely sent the anti-doping community into a fit of laughter. The man who bullied fellow riders and just about anybody else who threatened what the USADA called ”the most sophisticated, professionalized and successful doping program that sport has ever seen” now thinks he deserves to be allowed to ride and enter triathlons or any other sanctioned event with doping controls.
Don’t expect that lifetime ban instituted by USADA to be lifted anytime soon. In fact, Armstrong first needs to come clean about his comeback in 2009-10 and whether he indeed attempted to bribe the USADA.
“That just shows the limits of his confession,” David Howman, the World Anti-Doping Agency’s chief operating officer, told FOXSports.com “He hasn’t convinced himself to go that far. It wasn’t convenient for him.”
Armstrong denied again that he used drugs at any point after 2005. (Coincidentally, any use during his comeback falls within the statute of limitations, and the Department of Justice — which dropped a conspiracy case against Armstrong last February — could have reason to reopen the case.)
In USADA’s 1,000-page report that supported sanctions against Armstrong, officials wrote, “Armstrong’s blood parameters establish that the likelihood of Armstrong’s blood values from the 2009 and 2010 Tours de France occurring naturally is less than one in a million.”
Maybe the odds that Armstrong will compete again aren’t quite that high, but close.
Howman said the unlikely path toward a redemption will require Armstrong going under oath in front of USADA and not only cop to what was in the report, but also give more information that was not contained.
“I know there’s been talk that he believes that he can make a deal with USADA, but that’s not going to happen,” Victor Conte, the founder of Bay Area Lab Co-Operative (BALCO) that supplied performance-enhancing drugs to elite athletes, told FOXSports.com.
“In my opinion, he’s not going to be allowed to take part in a sanctioned event again during his lifetime.”
Conte did what, so far, Armstrong hasn’t done: Give the full version of events — including names, which, in Conte’s case, were track star Marion Jones and boxer Shane Mosley among others.
“We are only getting the partial truth,” Conte said.
Conte — who had his business and house raided before he served four months in prison — related to Armstrong when the cyclist was asked about his family.
Armstrong, who had remained stoic for most the interview, began to show emotion when Winfrey inquired about how Armstrong broke that he was a drug cheat to his oldest son, 13.
"'Don't defend me anymore,'” Armstrong said with his eyes watery. “'Don't.'”
Armstrong said the burden of lying to his family was the reason he came clean after more than a decade of lying about his PED use.
“The biggest hope and intention was the well-being of my children,” Armstrong said. “It really was. The older kids don't need to live with this issue in their lives. That isn't fair. The younger kids, who are 2 or 3, they have no idea. This conversation will live forever. I have to get that right for them."
Armstrong — whose fortune is estimated at more than $100 million — dropped some points when he began talking financials.
"I have lost all future income,” said Armstrong, who saw Nike and all his other major sponsors bail after USADA announced its decision in August.
Armstrong said in one day he lost $75 million in future earnings — probably not the best route to take in a country that still is recovering from one of the worst financial downturns in history.
“I don’t think he understands the magnitude of what he’s done,” Betsy Andreu, who was bullied after she testified in a 2006 lawsuit against Armstrong, said on CNN Friday night. “I think he’s (trying) to reason this out, and he’s just not being logical. I think he’s being a little delusional.”
At least that’s something Armstrong did admit to on Friday. He said he was in therapy and he’s reining in his tyrannical side.
"I have work to do,” Armstrong said. “There is not going to be one tectonic shift."
So, what we’re left with now are half-truths. The redemption tour has so far been underwhelming. It’s likely not nearly over.
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