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

(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.

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)
FILE - In this July 29, 2001, file photo, Lance Armstrong stands during ceremonies after winning the Tour de France cycling race following the 20th and final stage in Paris. Armstrong confessed to using...   (LAURENT REBOURS)
FILE - In this July 24, 2005, file photo, overall leader Lance Armstrong signals seven for his seventh straight win in the Tour de France cycling race as he pedals during the 21st and final stage of the...   (Peter Dejong)
FILE - In this Monday, Jan. 14, 2013, file photo provided by Harpo Studios Inc., talk show host Oprah Winfrey, right, interviews Lance Armstrong during taping for the show "Oprah and Lance Armstrong:...   (George Burns)
In this July 19, 2009, file photo, Lance Armstrong crosses the finish line during the 15th stage of the Tour de France cycling race in Verbier, Switzerland.   (LAURENT REBOURS)
FILE - In this Monday, Jan. 14, 2013, file photo provided by Harpo Studios Inc., Lance Armstrong listens as he is interviewed by talk show host Oprah Winfrey during taping for the show "Oprah and Lance...   (George Burns)
FILE - In this Aug. 25, 2012, file photo, Lance Armstrong considers a question from a reporter after his second-place finish in the Power of Four mountain bicycle race at the base of Aspen Mountain in...   (David Zalubowski)
FILE - In this July 25, 2010, file photo, Lance Armstrong looks back on the podium after the 20th and last stage of the Tour de France cycling race in Paris, France. Armstrong confessed to using performance-enhancing...   (Bas Czerwinski)
FILE - In this July 20, 2005, file photo, overall leader Lance Armstrong, left, of Austin, Texas, talks with Tour de France vice director general Christian Prudhomme, of France, before Prudhomme gave...   (Christophe Ena)
A video screen at a hotel restaurant in Grapevine, Texas, Friday, Jan. 18, 2013, shows a replay telecast of a segment of Lance Armstrong being interviewed by Oprah Winfrey, Reversing more than a decade...   (LM Otero)
  (Jordan Strauss)
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