8:33: Thanks for reading and for commenting, those of you who did. I didn’t do a lot of actual commenting — more just writing what I heard. So I will have to think about whether there’s any point in my doing this again tomorrow night. My current thinking is “no.”
8:31: One last thing before I sign off. Armstrong mentions disrespecting the color yellow. I think that’s right. I think LiveStrong needs a new color. I think orange might be a good choice.
8:29: A little about George Hincapie, “I don’t fault George Hincapie.” Personal note: I think Hincapie has magically got away with every little thing, to a degree nobody else has.
8:28: Will you go back to USADA?
If I had credibility, if I could go to a truth and reconciliation commission, I’d be first in the door.
Personal note: There’s no possible way he’d be invited to something like that, right?
8:22: Armstrong saying that in hindsight he wishes he could go back in time and cooperate with USADA. This was the most emotional I’ve heard him sound so far, and I believe that he has thought that dozens of times. Things would still be ugly for him, but nowhere near as.
Kinda get the impression that he’s thinking about the fallout of this and how it affects him, above all else.
8:21: Zeeeter comments, “What’s your opinion on Johan now Fatty? You spent quite a lot of time with him . . . Hard to disentangle him from this.”
I need to write a post on that question. Short answer is that it’s not hard to disentangle him from it; it’s impossible.
8:17: A little bit about the federal investigation. A personal note. When the case was dropped, I texted Lance, saying “Congratulations on one less distraction.” I had forgotten about that. Holy crap I feel such a fool.
Anyway, he says he didn’t influence the case. Do I believe that? I guess? He says he at least felt like he was out of the woods “and those were some serious wolves.”
8:15: Do you regret coming back?
I do. We wouldn’t be here if I hadn’t. Which is telling. It makes me think that there’s a whole lot of him who would be really glad if none of this had ever happened.
8:12: Now Floyd. Armstrong agrees that was the case, but says it goes back further. Armstrong’s comeback didn’t sit well with Floyd.
O: Where were you when Floyd said he was going to talk?
A: In the ToC.
On a personal note, I was at the ToC that year and remember seeing Floyd, standing in the sidewalk. Alone, and looking it. That sucks.
8:10: Kate in comments says, “Emma “got run over”? “got bullied”? I’m glad Lance is taking tips from the news reporting of cyclists being assaulted by drivers by using the passive voice. HE ran her over, HE bullied her.” I observed the passive voice too. I am tempted to do the same thing sometimes in my writing when I’m embarrassed and wish I could make it be someone else who did it.
8:05: On to Betsy Andreu. Armstrong and Andreu had a call. He wants to keep it private. He says he didn’t call her fat.
O: How do you feel about calling Emma a whore?
A: Not good. I was on the attack.
8:01: So. He has admitted a lot. He’s also denied a few things. I’m certain that a lot of people are rolling their eyes whenever he speaks counter to anyone else. I find myself conflicted. Why bother lying about anything at all now? Reflex? A hidden agenda?
How horrible would it be to never be believed by anyone, ever again? Sounds like the elevator pitch to Liar Liar 2: This Time It’s Lance Armstrong.
On a personal note, I am really hating the commercials here. Are these third-tier commercials the only companies this interview on this network could draw?
7:58: On to the cortisone Rx, retroactively given. Emma O’Reilly: “That is true. She’s one of the people I have to apologize to. She got run over, got bullied.”
You sued her.
A: I’m sure we did. But I’ve reached out to her and tried to make amends on my own.
O: When everyone was saying things, you would attack/sue people, you knew were telling the truth.
A: It’s a major flaw, a guy who wanted to get what he wanted, control every outcome. It’s inexcusable. Some will never forgive me, and I understand that.
One of the steps in the process is for me to say I’m sorry. You’re right, I was wrong.
7:56: Armstrong denies a positive test, paying off the lab, or the UCI making a positive go away. Calls his donation a coincidence.
Why did he make the donation? “Because they asked me to.”
He acknowledges that nobody probably believes him, but “I have every incentive to say it’s true, but it’s not.”
O: So you didn’t aid or ask them to overlook your tests?
7:54: ChrisA notes in the comments, “He’s getting less credible by the minute, if that is possible. He didn’t know how big his cult was?” That’s exactly right. Chris also notes he should get his own blog. I’m surprised he doesn’t already have one.
7:50: I note that people are saying that he seems cold and calculating. I think that this is who he is. I mentioned somewhere recently that as you get older your personality hardens. You can change, but it’s not easy, and it’s not likely.
Lance has spent most of his adult life weighing and measuring everything he says, keeping reality in his head and conveying a fiction to everyone else.
It’s hard to even imagine that he at this point would be capable of turning off that filter and communicating in a non-calculated way.
7:44: The “sorry you don’t believe in miracles,” speech. His reaction, “that sounds ridiculous.” “I’m definitely embarrassed. You can leave with better than that, Lance. That was lame.”
There was happiness in the process and preparation, the build. That resonates as true. He’s a very process-oriented person.
O: Did it feel wrong?
O: Did you feel bad?
A: No. That’s even scarier. And didn’t feel like I was cheating. That’s the scariest.
I looked up the definition of cheat and it’s to gain an advantage of a rival or foe. I viewed it as a level playing field.
Hindsight is perfect. I didn’t know what I had. Look at the fallout.
O: What do you mean you didn’t know?
A: I didn’t understand the magnitude of the following?
O: How couldn’t you?
A: I just didn’t. I’m just beginning to understand. I see the anger and feelings of betrayal. People who believed me. They have every right to feel betrayed, and they have the right. I’ll spend the rest of my life trying to apologize.
(I’m sure everyone is having a “I’ll spend the rest of my life hunting the real killer” moment)
7:40: One thing that has rung true for me is the way his battle against cancer could affect him. Whenever I heard the “Why would he dope? He’s been through cancer and wouldn’t invite it back by taking drugs” I always thought that’s the POV of someone who hasn’t lived the deeply medical world of cancer. You get so you trust and have faith in drugs, and you have to bring a “let’s break the rules if we have to, take experimental drugs, whatever” attitude to cancer.
Since Susan’s fight against cancer I know I’m certainly less drug-averse.
7:39: I look at myself and say “Look at that arrogant prick.” The Hammer is not amused.
7:32: Disputes that he pressured others into doping. When asked specifically about Ferrari, he hesitates. “Some people in this story are good people. Not toxic, not monsters. I view Ferrari as a good man, a smart man. I still do.”
It sounds like Armstrong’s no-holds-barred thing only applies to himself. He’s still protecting others. This doesn’t feel like loyalty; this feels like a calculus.
Would this be your same response today? No. Most things would be different today.
Was he the mastermind? No.
What was he then? I’m not comfortable talking about other people. But it’s all out there.
Walsh’s association with Ferrari implicated you. Was it reckless to be associated with him? Yes, but there were plenty of other reckless things. Reckless would be a good way to characterize that period in my life.
So what was going on with you? Fame intensifies both.
I’m both a jerk and a humanitarian. The magnifying glass shows more of the jerk right now and I’m paying the price for this. And I’m OK with that. I deserve it.
What were your flaws that made you willing to risk it all?
A ruthless desire to win at all costs.
7:29: The Hammer’s asking what I think of this. My main thought is I don’t like having suspicion and doubt overshadow everything someone says.
7:28: I realize that I’m basically just transcribing the conversation here. My original plan was to comment. But you know, I’m mostly just soaking this in.
7:25: Were you a bully?
Yeah, I was a bully. In the sense that I tried to control the narrative. If I didn’t like it for whatever reason, I would say “that’s a lie, they’re liars.”
Have you done that your whole life?
“My entire life. We had our backs against the wall. My mom was a fighter.”
Before my diagnosis I was a competitor, but I wasn’t a fighter. In treatment I said I would do anything I need to survive. I took that relentlessness into cycling.
But you were already doping?
Yeah, but I wasn’t a bully then.
So what made you a bully?
Trying to hide the truth. This (starting this interview) is only the second time I couldn’t control the outcome.
7:21: Were you the one in charge? Could you get someone fired?
It depends on what they were doing. Did I get people fired? No. There was no directive.
“It’s not true” that Christian was told he had to dope or be kicked off.
O: could the level of expectation be that if you don’t do it that you could be off the team?
Armstrong: “If you’re doping and leading by example, that would be a problem.”
O: Splitting hairs?
A: There was no verbal directive. But as the guy who led the team, I accept that 100%.
Acknowledges that he isn’t the most believable person in the world right now.
7:19: It’s interesting that everyone in the world — from the racers in the USADA affidavits to Armstrong — all claim to have been clean since 2006-6. Ws it really better testing? Or is that the agreed-upon “I saw the light” moment?
7:17: Armstrong contends that he did not dope after his comeback. Like everyone else, I’m sure, I see no particular reason to trust that this is true.
7:15: I’m sure there are bike geeks in the world shouting at the screen right now, but I’m not one of them. For most people in the world, this is clear, compelling and thorough.
7:10: A little from Hamilton on how they did it. Oprah asks Lance how they did it. “You said it was smart but not most sophisticated.”
Motoman – yes, that was true.
Did you stop in the middle of the tour at a hotel and dope? Yes
It sounds like TH was telling the truth.
“How did it all work?”
“I viewed it as simple. We had O2-boosting drugs beneficial for sports, and that’s all you needed. My cocktail was only EPO, blood transfusions, and testosterone.”
He justified the testosterone to himself because of having one testicle. But knew the justification was bogus.
It wasn’t difficult to beat the tests. And out-of-competition testing was only theoretical. “You’re not going to get caught, because you’re clean — clear — at the races.” It’s a matter of scheduling.
The shift to out of competition testing and the biological passport changed all that.
7:07: Oprah references Tygert’s assertion about it being the most professional doping program ever.
Lance contends it was no bigger than others, and that they didn’t have anything for example East Germany didn’t have.
He doesn’t want to blame anyone but himself.
He’s splitting hairs on whether anyone wasn’t doping.
The Hammer is shouting at him.
“I’m out of the biz of calling people liars.”
7:05: Why? Lance says it’s a good question, and that he understands it’s too late.
“This story was so perfect for so long.” Talking about the “mythic, perfect story” that wasn’t true at many levels. “I’m a flawed person” but he helped paint that picture.
Says a lot of people contributed, but all the “fault and blame lays on me.”
“I lost myself in all that” — the media and fame. Says “I controlled every outcome in my life,” especially sport.
“The story is so bad and toxic and a lot of it’s true.”
“I didn’t invent but I didn’t try to stop the culture. The sport is now paying the price for that. I didn’t have access to anything nobody else had.”
7:03: Wow, started with a bang. I like the directness of Oprah.
7:01: Oprah’s starting with the statement that she can ask anything she wants. Starting with yes or no.
Did you dope? Yes
Blood dope? Yes
Testosterone, HGH? Yes
In all 7? Yes
Humanly possible to win 7x in a row without doping? No
7:00: Here we go. I bet the first 10 minutes is just history. Recap for most of us, news to most of the people watching this.
6:58: I wonder if Lance considered the context of the network where this interview occurs. Tawdry. Sappy.
6:55: I have no idea what this liveblog is going to be like. I kinda suspect that while I’d like it to be kind of light and funny, the show itself is going to be horrifying enough that I’ll be stunned into the textual equivalent of silence. In which case, I’m sure folks on Twitter will have something to say.
6:53: Wow, is this Where Are They Now? show pretty much what you usually find on this network? Cuz it’s a terrible program.
6:50: Hi there. 10 minutes ’til this starts. I’ll be posting newest stuff up top. And you’ll have to refresh the browser yourself to see the latest stuff. I won’t be posting more often than every two minutes or so, so don’t bother refreshing more often than that.
I’ll check the comments once in a while, but between listening, typing and reading comments, I may hit multitasking overload. So if I don’t reply to you, it’s not you. It’s me.
I’ll be live-blogging the Oprah / Armstrong interview tonight. You should join and comment along.
Here’s some handy information so you won’t accidentally forget and then feel all sad. (It’s much better to go ahead and watch and feel all sad instead.)
When is it? 9:00pm ET / 7:00pm MT tonight. Also at 9:00pm PT.
What channel will the interview be on? It will be on the OWN network. You can find whether you have OWN and where it is on your service provider by clicking here.
What if I don’t get the OWN network? It will also be streamed online from oprah.com.
Where will the live-blog be happening? Right here. You’ll just have to refresh your browser every couple of minutes, because I don’t know how to make it auto-refresh.
Honestly, I don’t know whether the live-blog of this will turn out serious, silly, outraged, or what. We’ll find out soonish.
PS: I am not sure whether I’ll be live-blogging part 2 of this interview; I’ll be doing some traveling tomorrow afternoon and don’t know whether I’ll have arrived and set up by 7pm, nor do I know whether the Internet connection I’ll have there will be good enough to stream the show (I do know that the people I’m staying with don’t have the OWN network).