In the first half of Lance Armstrong‘s emotional interview with Oprah Winfrey, he admitted to using performance-enhancing drugs and blood doping in order to win the Tour de France seven times, after vehemently and passionately denying the allegations for years. He did not, however, admit to pressuring others to dope or encouraging his team to use performance-enhancing drugs, despite evidence that he did just that.
In the second half of his interview on “Oprah’s Next Chapter,” which aired Friday night, Armstrong grew tearful and extremely emotional as he talked about his children. Armstrong has TK children. Luke is 13, twins Isabelle and Grace are 11, Max is 3 and Olivia is 2 years old. Winfrey asked how he explained his lies to his older children before opening up to the world.
“I said ‘Listen, there’s been a lot of questions about your dad. My
career, whether I doped or did not dope, I’ve always denied that, and
I’ve always been ruthless and defiant about that, you guys have seen
that, probably why you trusted me on it, which makes it even sicker.’ I
said, ‘I want you to know that it’s true.’ I told Luke, I said…” Here he paused for several seconds, trying to hold back tears. “I said, ‘Don’t defend me anymore.'”
Armstrong says that his son supported him. “He just said ‘Look, I love you,
you’re my dad. This won’t change that.'”
Less supportive, of course, was Armstrong’s LiveStrong Foundation. “None of my kids have said ‘Dad, you’re out.’ None of my friends have said,
‘Lance you’re out.’ The foundation is like my sixth child and to make that
decision and to step aside was big.”
Armstrong says he was never forced out of LiveStrong or told to leave, but that he understood there was pressure within the organization and he chose to step down. “It
was the best thing for the organization,” he says, “But it hurt like hell.”
While Armstrong says he believes he is a better person for having confessed to his failures, he didn’t have a concrete answer when Winfrey asked him if there was a moral to the story.
“I don’t have a great answer there,” he says. “I can look at what I did, cheating
to win bike races, lying about it … of course you’re not supposed to
do those things. That’s what we teach our children. That’s the easy
thing. There’s another moral to the story. For me I just think it was
about that ride and losing myself and … doing all those things along
the way that just enabled that. The ultimate crime is the betrayal of
these people that supported me and believed in me and they got lied to.”
View some of the most powerful moments from the interview below.