Thursday, January 18, 2018
Sports

Reports: Lance Armstrong to confess to doping when interviewed by Oprah

AUSTIN, Texas — After nearly 15 years of vehement denials, Lance Armstrong will confess that he used performance-enhancing drugs during his cycling career when he is interviewed by Oprah Winfrey, the New York Times and USA Today reported.

Armstrong, 41, will give a limited confession to Winfrey and will not provide much detail of the doping that antidoping officials have said occurred throughout his cycling career, the New York Times said.

He is scheduled to sit down with Winfrey in his home in Austin on Monday for the interview, which will be shown Thursday on the Oprah Winfrey Network. USA Today first reported the news late Friday.

When reached by email, Armstrong declined to comment. His Austin-based lawyer, Tim Herman, did not immediately return an email for comment.

The New York Times reported Jan. 4 that Armstrong was considering admitting publicly that he had used banned drugs and blood transfusions. Last fall, after 11 of his former teammates had testified against him, he was stripped of his seven Tour de France titles for doping and for his involvement in what officials called the most sophisticated, organized and professional doping program in sports history.

Armstrong is coming forward to discuss his past doping because he reportedly wants to persuade officials to lift his lifetime ban from Olympic sports so he can return to competing in triathlons and running events.

Last month, Armstrong met with Travis Tygart, chief executive of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, to begin discussing a way in which an admission from Armstrong could mitigate his punishment. Under the World Anti-Doping Code, athletes can receive up to a 75 percent reduction of a ban if they provide substantial assistance to antidoping authorities in building cases against other cheats. For his ban to be reduced, though, Armstrong will have to give information about the people who helped him in his doping.

If Armstrong does confess, he opens himself to more legal troubles. He has been named as a defendant in a federal whistle-blower case that contends that Armstrong and his associates on the U.S. Postal Service cycling team used taxpayer dollars to finance a systematic doping program. The government is considering joining that case as a plaintiff.

Armstrong might also have to repay $12 million he received from SCA Promotions, a company based in Dallas that paid him millions for winning several Tours de France. Jeffrey Tillotson, a lawyer for the company, said Friday that he was waiting to see the interview with Winfrey before filing a lawsuit asking Armstrong to return that money.

Armstrong is also being sued by the Sunday Times of London for more than $1.5 million over the settlement of a libel case. The newspaper paid Armstrong nearly $500,000 after it published claims from the book L.A. Confidentiel that he had used performance-enhancing drugs.

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