The first part of Oprah Winfrey's interview with Lance Armstrong aired tonight, and she didn't waste time with small talk at the open, reports ESPN. Winfrey started with a series of yes-or-no questions, beginning with the big one:
- Winfrey: "Did you ever take banned substances to enhance your cycling performance?"
- Armstrong: "Yes."
She followed up with specifics. Did he use the blood-boosting drug EPO? Yes. Did he use blood doping and blood transfusions? Yes. Did he use substances such as testosterone, cortisone, and human growth hormone? Yes. Did he cheat in all seven Tour de France wins? Yes. Other highlights:
- "I didn't invent the culture, and I didn't try to stop the culture."
- "I viewed this situation as one big lie that I repeated a lot of times."
- He insisted that he raced in 2009 (the year of his comeback) and in 2010 without using any kind of performance-enhancing drugs.
- He insisted that he never forced teammates to dope.
- But was he a bully? "Yeah, I was a bully," he said. "I tried to control the narrative." He specifically apologized to former team masseuse Emma O'Reilly; after she alleged that he doped years ago, he attacked her personally and sued her.
- "I will spend the rest of my life trying to earn back trust and apologize to people."
So why did he cheat?
- "That is the best question. It's the most logical question. ... I don't know that I have a great answer. I will start my answer by saying that this is too late. It's too late for probably most people, and that's my fault."
- Later, he said it didn't feel like cheating while he was doing it because lots of other riders were doping, too. It was a "level playing field," he said.
Did he feel happiness in winning? He avoided this interesting question, saying there was more happiness "in the process." Part two airs tomorrow night on OWN.