American Cyclist Lance Armstrong Comes Clean In Candid Interview With Oprah Winfrey

Twelve weeks to the day after the International Cycling Union (UCI) stripped American cyclist Lance Armstrong of his seven Tour De France titles, he sat down with talk show icon Oprah Winfrey in a spirited and candid interview. Here is the transcript of Oprah’s Lance Armstrong interview which airs at 9pm ET/6pm PT on the OWN network:

Oprah: Lance Armstrong, Thank you for agreeing to talk to me today.

Lance Armstrong: Thank you for the opportunity Oprah!

Oprah: I imagine it’s been a rough few months for you, Lance. When you look back at your life, your goals, the journey you took and you look at your life now, was taking all the performance enhancing drugs and lying about it for all these years worth it?

Lance: Wow! You don’t waist any time, do you? That’s a really tough question to answer…at least out loud. Was it all worth it? You know, Oprah, I’ve lied for so long and it’s just recently that I’ve had to start telling the truth to a lot of people who are close to me and I’m going to tell you the unvarnished truth: As difficult as it’s been on me having to live a lie all this time, watching my credibility quickly fade away and being a punchline for comics, yes, it’s been well worth it.

When I…

Oprah: Hold on.

Lance: Oprah, when I first..

Oprah: I have to ask..

Unintelligible crosstalk

Oprah: You went from being an American sports Icon, a winner of seven Tour De France titles with major endorsement deals to being known as a cheater, how can it all be worth it?

Lance: Yes, I cheated. But guess what? This is what a lot of people don’t know, virtually everyone cheats in professional cycling and it’s not just cycling. I’m not going to do it but I could sit here and give you names of many American sports icons–these are names everyone would know–that have used PED’s (Performing Enhancing Drugs).

So, first, I believe that there was always a level playing field in cycling. I didn’t have any advantage the other top cyclists didn’t have and that’s just reality.

Oprah: Everyone in cycling cheats? You know this?

Lance: I believe that every top cyclist competing during my time used PED’s without exception. I have no doubt about that whatsoever and the testing records bare that out. So, I have no guilt about using PED’s.

Oprah: And the lies? Do you have any guilt about lying to your fans?

Lance: I’m going to be honest here, ok? I do regret having to lie but not the lies themselves. We need to put this in context and get a little real.

I didn’t use PED’s and then sit on the couch munching Twinkies. I used what everyone else did but I also trained my butt off seven days a week for years. I do not for one second believe I had an unfair advantage over my competitors. That just was not the case.

Oprah: What about the kids who looked up to you? Any regrets? Is there anything you want to say to them?

Lance: Again, no one gave me anything. If anyone thinks they can take PED’s and that will make them a champion in anything, they are very much mistaken. I trained and busted my butt seven days a week.

Oprah: But Lance…

Lance: Hold on. I said I wanted to keep it real so let me say this. Here['s] the deal. Oprah, I have $100 million dollars in the bank. I don’t have to lift a finger the rest of my life and I can have pretty much anything I want. You or anyone else can call me a bum, a cheat or anything and what do I care?

The simple truth is this: if I didn’t use PED’s, you wouldn’t have ever given me the time of day. You wouldn’t know I exist and I wouldn’t be worth nine figures.

So, you ask me “was it all worth it”? Come on Oprah, get real. YES!!! It was worth it.

My lawyer is going to kill me but I’ll tell you something else. There’s only two possible law suits that can be successfully filed against me. Let’s say I lose both of them. I’m still going to be a filthy rich man who can rent an island for the week whenever I wish.

So, again, was it worth it all? HELL YES OPRAH, IT WAS WORTH IT!

Oprah: But what about the kids?

Lance: Well guess what? I’m not anyone’s daddy! If I was, I would sit my kids down and really tell them about the facts of life. It’s a dog-eat-dog world and putting food on the table is not easy. You have to work your butt off and do whatever it takes to get ahead. I did that and then some and would expect nothing less from them.

Oprah: Would you be ok with your kids lying?

Lance: No. No. Everyone lies at one time or another. There are lies and there are LIES. White lies. Of course I wouldn’t want my kids to lie but on the other hand, if it put $100 million in their bank account then yes kids, please lie.

Oprah: You’ve had to resign in shame from your cancer charity Live Strong. Any regrets about that?

Lance: I spent the last week apologizing to workers at Live Strong and it wasn’t an easy thing to do. I don’t regret raising hundreds of millions of dollars to fight cancer. Sure, I regret not being able to continue that work but I feel incredibly lucky to have been able to raise so much money for a very important cause. I’m a glass-half-full kind of guy. Always have been and always will be.

Oprah: A lot of people are going to see this interview and wonder if you’re telling another lie. I feel like you’ve been very honest and forthcoming as promissed but I can’t believe it doesn’t bother you that now and for the rest of your life the two biggest things you’ll be known for is being a cheater and a liar, that has to be a painful pill to swallow.

Lance: I’m Texas born and raised. It’s a hard land to tame. You do what you have to to win, knowing the other guy sure will. And as for lying, I just repeated a guppy-size lie; you could be interviewing a certain Texan or Wall Street Bankers who told some whale-size lies but here you are with me. Are you sure I’m the one who should be apologizing?

Oprah: You’ve been banned from personally competing, would you ever consider coaching?

Lance: As you know I’m currently performing the trite Kabuki dance that Americans demand. But when I’m done would I coach? Sure, I would be happy to coach the North Koreans if they’ll have me. In a month or two I’ll be reaching out to Kim Jong-un to see if there is any interest on their part. I want to give back!

Oprah: Lance Armstrong, thank you very much for talking with me today.

Lance: Thank you Oprah.

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