Stepfather Says He Drove Lance Armstrong 'Like an Animal'

Cyclist says Terry Armstrong beat him with a fraternity paddle
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted May 25, 2020 3:38 PM CDT
Lance Armstrong: Stepfather Beat Me With a Paddle
In this April 1, 2012 photo, Lance Armstrong listens during a news conference in Galveston, Texas.   (Michael Paulsen/Houston Chronicle via AP, File)

In new documentary Lance, Lance Armstrong says his stepfather was "kind of terrible"—but Terry Armstrong credits his abusive parenting with Lance's cycling success. "I would leave a drawer open, and he would pull out his fraternity paddle and just beat the shit out of me ," the cyclist said. Terry Armstrong, who adopted Lance when he was 3, did not deny the abuse. He said his "bend over and take your licks" approach to parenting came from his military school background. "I drove him like an animal. That's the only thing I feel bad about. Did I make him too much 'win at all costs'?" he said, per Bleacher Report. " I was a taskmaster, but I didn't put my arms around him enough and tell him I loved him."

Terry Armstrong divorced Lance's mother when the cyclist was 15, and Lance says he considered reverting to his birth name at the time but decided against it. "I was already establishing myself and my career and brand or whatever that means,” he said. "I like the name Lance Armstrong. I think that’s a good name. It’s better than Lance Gunderson. That’s kind of a weird name." The first part of the two-part ESPN documentary aired Sunday. It opens with the cyclist, who was stripped of his seven Tour de France titles for doping, recounting how he was confronted by a group of angry strangers at a bar. He said that instead of getting angry, he gave the bar his credit card to pay for their drinks and told bar staff to tell them he "sends his love." Director Marina Zenovich tells USA Today that the incident happened in Denver. (Read more Lance Armstrong stories.)

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