And I was so looking forward to seeing it happen live! But nonetheless, Lance Armstrong’s leaked confession on the Oprah Winfrey show to be shown on Thursday is expected but shocking. That the pretty much vindicated case against Armstrong is still shocking – a few months after the case become truth rather than conspiracy – shows the extent of the cheating he committed. While the exact extent is not yet known – how high up in the organisation that seemed to be involved in this great cheating scandal – that he conned the world into thinking him as one of the great heroes in modern sport is itself quite incredible.
The US Anti-Doping Agency accused him of “the most sophisticated, professionalised and successful doping programme” cycling had ever seen – you could pretty much say that for sport in general. Armstrong for long professed his innocence but is now considering whether to testify against sport officials. Unnamed sources have leaked to leading US papers the news that he admits to doping but he denied being the “kingpin” of the programme. It is thought that he is hoping to clean up his name so that he can appeal against the lifetime band given to him.
Betsy Andreu, one of Armstrong’s first accusers and wife of former Armstrong teammate Frankie, said that Armstrong’s confession was “very emotional and very sad”.
“He used to be one of my husband’s best friends and because he wouldn’t go along with the doping, he got kicked to the side” she said. “Lance could have a positive impact if he tells the truth on everything. He’s got to be completely honest.”
Unsurprisingly Armstrong got stripped of all his titles and lost most of his sponsorships – he was even forced to leave Livestrong. The backlash may not be over as it is thought that he will be sued by the US Postal Service and is already being sued by the UK Sunday Times for a $1.6m libel payment they had to pay after alleging he was a cheat in 2004. Armstrong may even have to face perjury as he denied using performance-enhancing drugs in court in 2005.
People finding out the news of his confession today may miss out on the television experience of finding out live on TV, but the news is still vindictive of one of the great scandals in modern sport.