Twenty-four hours after part one of Lance Armstrong’s ‘tell-all’ interview with talk-show host Oprah Winfrey, the second, and concluding, part of the interview was beamed to the world. And while the rest of that world had made use of that time to ingest and digest, there had been no rest for the wicked as Armstrong faced Winfrey in an interview conducted in its entirety on Monday January 14. For everyone involved, though, it was on with the show.

The media – both social and traditional – had buzzed with the news of Armstrong’s confession in the aftermath of all those ‘yes’ answers.

It was a little ironic, then, that it was social media, Armstrong revealed, that had pushed him over the edge – to take it upon himself to speak out about having doped.

“I want to tell you what happened – when this all really started,” Armstrong told Winfrey. “I saw my son defending me, and saying, ‘That’s [that Armstrong doped] not true – what you’re saying about my dad is not true.’”

That was the moment, it seemed, when everything – all of this: the doping, the interview, the revelation of the doping in the interview – hit home, and for the first time Armstrong lost what had up until then been an almost matter-of-fact way of recounting his story.

“And it almost goes to this question of why now…” Armstrong continued, then paused. “He can’t …”

This time, the Texan fell silent. He began welling up. He managed a further ‘yeah’, and then – for the first time – Winfrey did what she should have been doing much more often all along: she just waited.

“That’s when I knew I had to tell him,” Armstrong eventually offered, close to breaking down completely. More silence followed, punctuated by the sighs of a seemingly beaten man.

This time, Winfrey spoke up, pressing him: “What did you say to him?

“At that time, I didn’t say anything, but that’s the time I knew I had to say something,” Armstrong said. “It took other kids on Instagram, replying… You know – it gets ugly. And then at that point, I decided, ‘I have to say something – this is out of control.’ And then I had to have that talk, which was this year over the holidays.”

He told Winfrey that he told his three eldest children, who he’d had with his ex-wife, Kristin, that he’d doped – that the stories they’d heard about their father were true.

“They didn’t say much,” said Armstrong. “They just accepted it. I told Luke, I said…”

This time there were tears in his eyes, and he paused, held his thumb and forefinger to the bridge of his nose, and sighed once more.

“I said don’t defend me any more,” Armstrong said, biting his thumb nail. “Don’t.”

Winfrey asked if his eldest child had shown any defiance, anger, or disappointment.

“Thank God, he’s more like Kristin than he is like me,” came the reply.

Kristin came up often in this second part of the interview – a second half arguably much more heartfelt on Armstrong’s behalf.

Who knows in what order the interview was edited, but it was done skillfully enough, it seemed, that the hard, win-at-all-costs Armstrong, who had garnered little to no sympathy following the first transmission, then hit viewers with everything he – and Winfrey – had for the concluding show, filled much more with talk of emotions, how other people might have felt, and the revelation that Armstrong has been having therapy.

Kristin became one of the central ‘characters’ of the story; Winfrey would later use some of Armstrong’s ex-wife’s wise words to end the show.

“She’s a smart lady, extremely spiritual. She believes in honesty, integrity and the truth,” Armstrong said of Kristin after Winfrey asked whether anyone had encouraged him to tell the truth. “She believes that the truth will set you free.

“I saw her at the kids’ game two days ago, and I said, ‘If this comes up, can I talk about this?’ And she said yes,” Armstrong continued, and revealed that she was the person he consulted when considering his comeback to professional cycling in 2009.

“I figured, ‘If I’m going to do this [come back] – it was a big decision – I’m going to need her blessing.’ And she said to me: ‘You can do it, under one condition: that you never cross that line again.’ I said: ‘You’ve got a deal.’ And I would never have betrayed that with her.”

That Armstrong had supposedly not cheated during his 2009-2010 comeback had attracted some of the most attention in the wake of the first half of the interview, and here it was being reiterated. He even went as far as to say that he’d expected to win that comeback Tour de France in 2009.

“I didn’t expect to get third – I expected to win, like I always do. And at the end I said to myself, ‘You know, I just got beat by two guys that are better [Alberto Contador and Andy Schleck].’”

It would be difficult, however, for anyone to have felt much sympathy, just as it was when Armstrong told Winfrey how he felt hard done by to have been banned from all sanctioned sport for life (when his ex-team-mates – the whistleblowers – had only received six-month bans), and about how much money he stood to have lost in the aftermath of major sponsors such as Nike, Giro and Oakley dropping him.

“It’s an epic story,” Winfrey finished by telling him. “What’s the moral of this story?”

Armstrong blustered about not having a great answer, then managed to formulate one: “For me, it was about that ride and about losing myself, and getting caught up in that, and doing all of those things along the way…”

“I hope the moral of this story is what Kristin told you in 2009,” said Winfrey, wresting control back from Armstrong for the big finish. “That the truth will set you free.”

“Yeah – she continues to tell me that,” he said.

Related links



Lance Armstrong opens up to Oprah: Part one

  • pam

    Let the one who has never done anything wrong in their life throw the next stone! i would like to see the statistics of all 7 races and know for sure who doped and who did not. I am think that the top 10 did. if this is the case then Lance still had to ride against them, he still had to ride faster than any other person doping? if you compare apples with apples then where do you all think that he would have come in the race??
    this does not excuse him or make it right but for goodness sake there are those who doped and those who did not. the question is what times do the non dopers achieve over the same distances that lance won. I really think that when we see this information we can all make the right decision. Does a cyclist need to dope in order to win? Also do they need to dope to ride the long distances that these tours expect of them in the time that they have to? aRE there then other cirucumstances and fingers that need to be pointed in the quest to MAKE MONEY as this is really what it is all about!?

  • Tony short

    Cyclings shameful doping history goes back decades and yes there are probably scores of drugs cheats who have evaded proper punishment and censure over the years. However Lance is without question the biggest cheat and stands accused of not only doping himself to 7 tour wins, but actively encouraging others in his team to do it and introducing them to the necessary doctors and products and methods. He also systematically destroyed the lives, reputations and livelihoods of those who stood in his way. That’s where the venom comes from. Even now he prefers to do a partial confession to save his own butt on cuddly Oprahs sofa rather than testify under oath to USADA. The only time he showed any emotion during that vomit inducing interview was when he mentioned his own kids and mother and how they were struggling with the revelation that their dad/son was the biggest cheat in the world after all. When I see people offering mitigation for Lance I can’t help but wonder why? its rather like saying that Hitler was a great economist or that Bernie Madoff was a great investment banker before he lost everyone’s money.

  • Ian Franklin

    Wow! So many ill-considered and prejudiced posts. LA really does stir them up. Well let’s try and sort the mess: Simpson was from a different era when drugs did not turn a donkey into a race horse – in those days the whole scene was different. Yes, there were talented British riders who came back from Europe and said that they didn’t want to take stuff and their was a minority who tried everything to match the leading riders of the day. Anquetil, Simpson, Merckx and others who were caught would have been leading riders without the drugs. It was less than cheating – it was pure stupidity on their parts. Also in those days ill-trained soigneurs just put stuff in amateurs’ bottles so the culture was quite different and not at all comparable. As for Armstrong, the re is no doubt that he is a sociopath. These people are good actors and live in a different reality. They are dangerous both to themselves and to others. They are manipulative and they are denyers ( ie they deny even the most obvious stuff that stares them in the face). ie LA has a mental health condition which forces him into being the person we have all seen. These people are in the end quite transparent and very difficult to live with. I know. My ex-wife and youngest son both suffer from the same traits and I know how difficult that is. So LA is not evil (though these people can act in an evil way) and he is not a bad person per se. He is sick. Now for David Walsh. Like many others he was publicly villified by LA when all you lot were praising LA as a great heroic rider and CW was featuring him on the cover week after boring week. ! But Walsh, to his credit, stood his ground. As did Kimmage and others. Good for them – they are the real heroes. My only regret with Kimmage is that he doesn’t know which battle to fight and where to look. He has cast aspersions on Wiggo. I have spent years saying LA was a drug cheat. I will now spend years saying Wiggo is not.

  • SJH

    I still believe that people should be given the chance to make good their mistakes. I think Lance can still do some good in the world. The thing I dislike more than anything is the trial by media that exists in the world today. Lance did bad bad things, but he’s not a murderer. Thae way people talk, they’d have him strung up! Get a sense of perspective.

  • Pee Bee

    What I find far more interesting and also far more worrying than the whole Armstrong story is the reactions voiced by many of those who have been moved to make comments in fora such as this. Yes, what Armstrong has admitted to is “bad” to say the least, but I am staggered by the venom of those who would be judge, jury and executioner and who even worse defend their position when it is questioned with patronising comments such as that made in response Helen’s observations which question the knowledge and understanding of the issues of people who hold a differing viewpoint. Some of the worst comments are positively biblical or medieval in the brutality of their justice. I read one suggestion of crucifixion, and half expected to read suggestions of mob rule public stoning. I know Armstrong is a Texan, but we do not need to sink to Texan style penal policies, otherwise someone will have him on death row before long. Other comments suggest that Armstrong did not admit to anything we did not know. Correction; surely that should read anything that we did not suspect. If someone “knew” then they are guilty of holding back information and are so complicit. Helen, Malcolm, Milton and Hugh’s comments all have my support in that they have the courage to express opinions which deserve to be listened to and respected. We may not all agree with each other with regards this who affair, but let us not alienate each when we all share a love for the same sport of cycling. Clearly Armstrong was not alone with his doping activities, and so we must make sure that in the name of justice all those who were similarly involved are treated equally. At the moment all I can see is one scapegoat in the shape of Armstrong who may well be the tip of an iceberg, but an iceberg it was, and unfortunately scapegoats often become martyrs. Is that really what we all want?

  • PeterLB

    Hugh Anderson, what on earth are you talking about? You couldn’t be more wrong if you tried. Everything you have said is complete and utter garbage. Have a little sit down and take a deep breath, it might help you. Then again, it might not.

  • hugh anderson

    WHAT ELSE DO PEOPLE WANT FROM LANCE HE HAS NOW CONFESSED,BUT THAT APPEARS NOT TO BE ENOUGH.
    WE HAVE PEOPLE,INCLUDING NICOLE COOKE SAYING “WHAT A DISGUSTING INDIVIDUAL” WELL IF SHE THINKS THAT SHES NOT BEING READING ENOUGH PAPERS AND NEWS OF LATE.
    JIMMY SAVILLE I WOULD AGREE,BUT ANYWAY WHEN DID SHE RACE AGAINST ARMSTRONG,THEN AGAIN WHAT DO I KNOW.
    WE HAVE BRIAN COOKSON,WHO SAYS “DONT COME BACK TO CYCLING”BUT HE WANTS LANCE TO TELL AND SAY WHOS STILL AT IT! NO THATS THERE JOB TO FIND OUT,NOT HIS.
    IN CASE NICOLE COOKE AND THE REST FORGET IT WAS HAMILTON,LANDIS AND THE REST THAT BROUGHT CYCLING DOWN,NOT LANCE.AND FORGET CHRIS HOY,”IVE GOT TO DEFEND MY SPORT”NO DOUBT HE HAS BUT I THINK WE ARE ALL SICK AND TIRED OF THE SO CALLED CLEAN CROWD GOING ON ABOUT IT,AND IF YOU STOPPED PEOPLE IN THE STREET THEY WOULD NOT KNOW WHO NOCOLE COOKE IS.
    ARMSTRONG WAS BRAVE ENOUGH TO TELL ALL AND HIS FAMILY,I THINK WE SHOULD RESPECT THAT.AND WHAT ABOUT THOSE THAT HATE HIM EMMA THE COURIER,THEY PLAYED THE GAME AT THE TIME AND TOOK THE REWARDS,WHER DOES THAT PLACE THEM.WELL DONE TO ALL OUR BRITISH CYCLISTS FOR LAST YEAR AND LETS ALL MOVE ON,FORGET THE ONES WHO ARE OUT OF IT,THEY ARE HISTORY,AND IT SHOULD STAY THAT WAY.GREAT SPORT THIS CYCLING!!!

  • Tony Short

    Wow Milton, I never realised that it was all the fault of those wicked journalists. I mean, they should’ve shut up and blown smoke up Lance’s ass like the rest were doing. For sure Lance has made over $100 million out of racing and writing self help books about suriving cancer with clean living and all, but why should those bad ass journos make a cent out of exposing the cheating, corruption, and suing and bullying of ordinary people? Why couldn’t they write nice books about Lance and just sort of pretend all the other stuff didn’t go on? You’re right, he was just a nice guy who did what he had to do to win and the avalanche of litigation that destroyed lives, reputations and careers along the way was just incidental. Silly me.

  • milton

    lets see who can be the most vicious . lets all be in with the mob. let make sure we all say the right things so that we can all feel we are in with the in crowd . there is something about this mass feeding fre nzy makes me uneasy .there is something about the sanctimonious mr Walsh and his sidekick kimmage that also makes me think that Armstrong is not the only nasty piece of work in this whole sorry business , MR WALsh i am told has rushed out yet another book, this time telling us how he brought down the devil all hail the great god Walsh . i hope that in the interests of cycling he donates any money made by this publication to charity .i will wait and see but with not much hope . A good many people i speak to are like me sick and tired of this whole awful episode. the press are having a field day . with a lot of mileage yet to come the damage done to the sport is at least bad at worst fatal it will take years to return to the position of even last year .sponsors i think will not be in a hurry to resign on the line when contracts are up .the idea that be blaming Armstrong alone for this situation is nuts .I am from a generation that did not trust the idea of rewarding whistle blowers and sneeks . perhaps that is the biproduct of a 1950 s education .Armstrong and his reputation will not recover he will have to live with his actions for the rest of his life.the line up of people and organisations ready to sue him for all if not more cash than he has will put him in a drastic situation .this will please most of the people who have been so vocal in his condemnation . i hope that an appreciation of some of the real and terrible things that are happening in this world will concentrate peoples minds away from this nonsense but somehow i do not have much hope of that

  • William Hirst

    There is a line in a song I think was sung by Rihanna that sums this all up :- “Don’t say you are sorry because you are not. You are only sorry you got caught”.

  • NoOneGoesToCleveland
  • Malcolm

    Why is LA now vilified when the cycling world venerates the memory of Tom Simpson who died as a result of his drug taking? LA won seven tours while taking drugs but it would appear that all the other serious contenders may also have transgressed. It is only since the Cofidis team raids that the sport started to clean up; prior to that it was all part of the game.

  • Paul B

    Thomas Dekker of Rabobank – now with Garmin, has just spoken of how doping was part of the culture of Rabobank. Armstrong did nothing that the other teams weren’t doing. We all remember the Festina team and T Mobile’s drug dealing plus many other teams going back decades. If you are going to hang Armstrong out to dry then you have to get them all out of the sport because Armstrong’s teams were just playing the same game that all the others were.

    As for being the biggest sporting fraud in history – rubbish! The Soviet Union and East Germany had state sponsored drugs in sport right through from the 60′s until the wall came down and that was across all sports. Young female gymnasts given stuff to stop the onset of puberty so 16 year olds looked like 9 year olds and could throw themselves around easier. Track and field events dominated by pumped up contestants. The USA was at it too. Armstrong was bad but let’s keep things in perspective.

  • stepho

    Ramesh, read Tyler Hamilton or David Millar’s books and you will understand.
    I agree with Mike, there is nothing really new here that we didn’t already know, he was the only one in denial, we weren’t fooled anymore. ‘Opening up’ to a talk show host shows the ‘confession’ to be what it is, a stage managed, choreographed publicity stunt. Under oath, total honesty, names and dates or it’s more spin from this vile, vidictive manipulator.

  • Terry

    If they let him back you can kiss goodbye to professional cycle racing forever. The sponsors will ran away so fast all you’ll see is their dust.
    Now lets hear who was involved in the comprehensive cover up by the governing body and TdF organisation that produced 500+ negative TdF results.
    As for the crocodile tears- Oh pleeease !!!

  • Tony Short

    Helen if you are even remotely familiar with the Lance Armstrong story you should know that drugs are but one small part of the whole saga. He deliberately and methodically set out to destroy the people who stood in his way or tried to expose him. He used his immense wealth, power and political connections to sue, defame and crush fellow cyclists, support staff and journalists. People like David Walsh, Paul Kimmage, Emma OReilly and Frank and Betsy Andrieu at some point or other faced either financial or professional ruin trying to sand up to the Armstrong steam roller. He knew they were telling the truth and yet he still set out to destroy them, some of them just ordinary, little people like his masseuse Emma OReilly. That’s why there’s so much hatred for this monster. That and the fact that he defrauded cycking fans and cancer victims alike for a couple of decades.

  • Eric

    I don’t think he should be banned from cycling competitions for life. A 35 year ban should be sufficient. Under extreme mitigating circumstances, it could be reduced to a 30 year ban, but I think this is verging towards leniency.

    Anyway Lance, you haven’t been given a death sentence, just a life sentence (of the world’s most vicious drugs in sport cheat).

  • Ramesh

    It had been reported widely and repeatedly in the press that Armstrong had been the ‘most tested athelete’ and always tested as not having taken any drigs: so what went wrong? were the testers and testing methods one step behind the drug ‘makers?

  • Mike

    He has admitted to nothing we did not already know, its all out there. When will he come clean about the doping supply, the doctor who planned and administered the complex products? The source of the PEDs and how his positive tests were buried?

    Untill we get these facts and names/dates this whole TV soap has been little more than a plea to get his competition status back.

  • Tony

    As a lifelong cyclist I’d nail him to a cross, if only for the sheer damage he and his generation have done to the sport….pass me the nails!

  • Helen

    Admission of guilt is the first step, in any wrongdoing, whatever level.
    It is easy to criticise what should have been said, felt, done, commented on.
    My experience of bullies shows that admitting it rarely happens, and even when there is no other option. Yes, he got himself into this position and will have to get himself out – but he has taken a massive step. Acceptance, realisation and changing habits takes time.

    How many people could sit in front of even fifty people and admit to things they have done wrong / people they have hurt and be honest about their mistakes?

    The has been so much hatred from so many people – is that fair / right?

  • Seamus Leahy

    Betrayal is a nasty word, the reality is even worse and that is what Armstrong has done, he owed it to his wife past/present and children at least to be be able to look up to their hero which is what you are to your children. Compound this by all the other betrayals, trust that your fans have, trust the sponsers have etc etc. The first time he was challenged was the time to be contrite, to ask forgiveness. To late, there isn’t enough time in the world to rebuild trust after a betrayal that widespread, massive. Go and try to live with yourself Mr Armstrong, it’s going to be hard when you can’t look in the mirror each morning, isn’t it

  • Mikef

    It’s all me,me, me no real apology for the damage he has done to his sport or team members. Even now he is manipulating the media for his own ends, he deserves the lifetime ban and I hope no one thinks of lifting it

  • Robert

    What a stomach-turning performance from the master of deceit. And to think it was not that long ago that he was looking the world in the eye and saying that there was no way he would ever take performance enhancing drugs because he could never face telling his children that he was a doper.