Armstrong to address scandal on Oprah
LOS ANGELES - Agence France-Presse
Disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong will make his first interview with Oprah Winfrey after the devastating USADA report that eventually led to the stripping of his record seven Tour de France titles. REUTERS photoThe disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong will discuss the doping scandal that dramatically brought down his cycling career during an interview with Oprah Winfrey next week, it was announced on Jan. 8.
The famed talk show host said that a special show would address “years of accusations of cheating, and charges of lying about the use of performance-enhancing drugs” throughout Armstrong’s “storied cycling career.” The interview will be Armstrong’s first since being stripped of his seven Tour de France titles last year and will air on the Oprah Winfrey Network. It will also be streamed live on her website, a publicity statement said.
Last week The New York Times reported that Armstrong was considering publicly admitting that he used banned performance-enhancing drugs, in an apparent bid to return to competitive sport.
“Looking forward to this conversation with @lancearmstrong,” Winfrey posted on her Twitter site. Armstrong retweeted the comment 15 minutes later.
In the interview, to be shown in a primetime slot on Jan. 17, Winfrey will speak with Armstrong at his home in Austin, Texas.
Armstrong has denied doping and it is not known if he will admit to doping on the show. The show used words like “no-holds-barred interview” but also “alleged doping scandal,” “accusations of cheating” and “charges of lying” in its publicity statement.
The announcement came on the same day that “60 Minutes” said US Anti-Doping Agency chief executive Travis Tygart told them in an interview that Armstrong attempted to donate around $250,000 to the agency.
Tygart said he was bowled over by the “totally inappropriate” donation offer in 2004, which he refused. “I was stunned,” he said. “It was a clear conflict of interest for USADA. We had no hesitation in rejecting that offer.”
Asked if the offer was in the range of $250,000, Tygart said: “It was in that ballpark.”
Tygart, who described Armstrong’s heavy-handed tactics as being similar to the “Mafia”, denounced a $100,000 donation Armstrong made previously to the International Cycling Union (UCI). But Armstrong’s lawyer, Tim Herman, told USA Today on Tuesday that there was never a donation attempt from the cyclist.
“No truth to that story,” Herman told the newspaper. “First Lance heard of it was today. He never made any such contribution or suggestion.”
USADA stripped Armstrong of his Tour de France titles and slapped him with a lifetime ban in October, after releasing a damning report that said he helped orchestrate the most sophisticated doping program in the history of the sport. The UCI effectively erased Armstrong from the cycling history books when it decided not to appeal sanctions imposed on Armstrong by USADA.