Armstrong: I Came Clean Because of My Son
Cracked after he saw his 13-year-old defending him
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jan 18, 2013 9:48 PM CST
FILE - In this July 5, 2004, file photo, US Postal Service team leader Lance Armstrong sits by the registration bus before the second stage of the 91st Tour de France cycling race between Charleroi and...   (Peter Dejong)
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(Newser) – Lance Armstrong finally cracked after he saw his son defending him against allegations from anti-doping authorities, he said tonight in the second part of his interview with Oprah Winfrey. Armstrong didn't break over the $75 million in lost sponsorship deals, or after being forced to walk away from the Livestrong cancer charity he founded and called his "sixth child." He didn't crack after his lifetime ban from competition. Instead, it was when "I saw my son defending me and saying, 'That's not true. What you're saying about my dad is not true,'" Armstrong recalled. "That's when I knew I had to tell him." The key exchange in the interview:

  • Armstrong was near tears at that point, referring to 13-year-old Luke, the oldest of his five children. He blinked, looked away from Winfrey, and with his lip trembling, struggled to compose himself.
  • "What did you say?" Winfrey asked.
  • "I said, 'Listen, there's been a lot of questions about your dad. My career. Whether I doped or did not dope. I've always denied that and I've always been ruthless and defiant about that. You guys have seen that. That's probably why you trusted me on it.' Which makes it even sicker," Armstrong said.
  • "And uh, I told Luke, I said," and here Armstrong paused for a long time to collect himself, "I said, 'Don't defend me anymore. Don't.'
  • "He said OK. He just said, `Look, I love you. You're my dad. This won't change that."
Winfrey also drew Armstrong out on his ex-wife, Kristin, whom he claimed knew just enough about both the doping and lying to ask him to stop. He credited her with making him promise that his comeback in 2009 would be drug-free. Click for more from the interview.