Armstrong admits in TV interview: ‘I would probably [dope] again’
With Alex Rodriguez back in headlines, his current employer trying to void potential bonus payments because of the slugger’s ties to performance-enhancing drugs, perhaps the world’s most infamous doper is making news again — and his latest comments are a real stunner.
Disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong spoke with BBC recently and in a story and video posted Monday, the man stripped of seven Tour de France titles spoke of the fallout since his famous admission of guilt to Oprah Winfrey two years ago.
He started by taking a thinly veiled shot at Winfrey, then spoke of his kids’ reaction, and then was asked if given the opportunity, would he dope again.
And he said this:
"If I was racing in 2015, no, I wouldn’t do it again because I don’t think you have to. If you take me back to 1995, when doping was completely pervasive, I would probably do it again."
He quickly followed up with a pretty obvious understatement.
"People don’t like to hear that."
Armstrong, 43, gained global fame in 1999 when he won the Tour de France after battling testicular cancer. He would go on to win the next six Tours — a record seven in a row — becoming in the process not only one of the world’s most famous athletes, but an inspiration, spokesman for cancer research, and quite the fundraiser, generating hundreds of millions of dollars through his Livestrong Foundation, most through the sale of yellow Livestrong bracelets.
Dogged by doping rumors for years, even amid his run of Tour titles, Armstrong vehemently professed his innocence repeatedly, reportedly threatening — even suing — accusers.
But in January 2013, Armstrong finally admitted to Winfrey that he did indeed use PEDs while winning those Tours de France.
In the BBC interview, the first thing Armstrong said was:
"The fallout has been heavy, maybe heavier than even I thought. In the way that I sort of told my story, told the world, through Oprah; as good a job as I think she did or the best job she could do for herself, it was pretty brutal afterward."
Among the other things Armstrong told BBC:
• On whether he should have been stripped of his Tour titles and the titles left vacant, as doping was so pervasive at the time:
"I think there has to be a winner, I’m just saying that as a fan. There’s a huge block in World War One with no winners, and there’s another block in World War Two, and then it seems like there’s another world war. I don’t think history is stupid, history rectifies a lot of things. If you ask me what happens in 50 years, I don’t think it sits empty… I feel like I won those Tours."
• He still contends, despite the findings of the famous 2012 USADA report, that he was clean during his Tour comeback attempts of 2009 and 2010.
• On the bullying and the threats against some of his since-vindicated accusers:
"I would want to change the man that did those things, maybe not the decision, but the way he acted. The way he treated people, the way he couldn’t stop fighting. It was unacceptable, inexcusable."