‘It’s just this mythic perfect story, and it wasn’t true’
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In his confession to Oprah Winfrey, Lance Armstrong answered a monosyllabic "yes" to initial questions about whether he doped, before going on to admit that his career was built around "one big lie". Excerpts from Part One of the interview:
On deceiving his fans
The truth isn't what I said, and now it's gone — this story was so perfect for so long ... You overcome the disease, you win the Tour de France seven times. You have a happy marriage, you have children. I mean, it's just this mythic perfect story, and it wasn't true.
Was it possible to win without doping?
Not in that generation... It's been well-documented. I didn't invent the culture, but I didn't try to stop the culture, and that's my mistake, and that's what I have to be sorry for, and that's what something and the sport is now paying the price because of that.
On whether he was a bully
Yes, I was a bully. I was a bully in the sense that I tried to control the narrative and if I didn't like what someone said I turned on them.
On his win-at-all-costs attitude
When I was diagnosed (with cancer) I would do anything to survive. I took that attitude — win at all costs — to cycling. That's bad. I was taking drugs before that but I wasn't a bully.
On whether he felt he was cheating while winning
At the time, no. I kept hearing I'm a drug cheat, I'm a cheat, I'm a cheater. I went in and just looked up the definition of cheat and the definition of cheat is to gain an advantage on a rival or foe that they don't have. I didn't view it that way. I viewed it as a level playing field.