Lance Armstrong: Oprah interview in 60 seconds
Published 18/01/2013 | 06:11
Over 90 minutes of questioning, Lance Armstrong admitted a lot but also denied a great deal. Here's everything you need to know in one minute.
So, how big was the confession?
Pretty big. Armstrong admitted to doping during all seven of his Tour de France victories, saying he used a "cocktail" of blood boosters, blood transfusions and testosterone. He conceded that he had been "a bully" to teammates, lied under oath, and repeatedly smeared people who stood up against him. "I viewed this situation as one big lie," he said.
Wow. Was there anything Oprah didn't get out of him?
Quite a lot actually. He denied that he was at the centre of a sophisticated network designed to conceal his doping, claiming that his own use of performance enhancers was no greater than what others were doing. He also denied ever issuing a "direct order" to members of the team that he co-owned, instructing them to take up doping. He challenged details of the accounts given by several of his accusers and said he had never bribed cycling authorities to conceal positive tests.
How did he justify it - both the doping and the lying?
His explanation had two strands. The first was that doping was the rule, not the exception, during the period he was competing. He even said it was not "humanly possible" to win the Tour without doping and suggested that as few as five riders out 200 might have been clean. As for the lying and brazen cover up, he attributed it to a "ruthless desire to win, to win at all costs".
How did he come across?
Controlled and well-prepared. Over the course of the 90 minutes on camera, there often seemed to be a disconnect between the enormity of the deceit he was confessing to and the calm and almost defiant way he went about it. He had the rhetoric to describe his guilt but he never seemed to feel especially guilty.
Nope. And he never looked close, either.
What was the most striking moment?
I'm stuck between two.
He claimed at one point have to have assuaged his guilt by looking up the definition of "cheat" in a dictionary and satisfying himself that he didn't qualify because everyone else was doping. "The definition of cheat is to gain an advantage on a rival or foe that they don't have," he said. "I didn't view it that way. I viewed it as a level playing field."
The second was when he was asked whether he had sued Emma O'Reilly, a team masseuse who stepped forward and exposed his doping. His eyes glazed over and he grinned vaguely as he replied: "To be honest, Oprah, we sued so many people I'm sure we did."
Is there more to come?
Yes. Friday night will see the second half of the interview. Expect it to focus on one of the most poignant elements of his story: how he deceived the cancer victims and everyone else who believed in his famous Livestrong charity.
By Raf Sanchez, Telegraph.co.uk