Lance Armstrong Interview: Live Report

Magan Crane
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This photo released by Oprah Winfrey Network on January 15, 2013, shows Oprah Winfrey (R) interviewing Lance Armstrong

This file photo released by Oprah Winfrey Network on January 15, 2013, shows Oprah Winfrey (R) interviewing Lance Armstrong

We are closing the Live Report on Lance Armstrong's confession, after years of denial, that he used performance enhancing drugs during his legendary cycling career.

In the 90 minutes aired tonight, Armstrong admits to doping and to bullying anyone who accused him of doing so. But he says that at the time, he considered the drugs a part of his training regimine, like "filling the water bottles," and that he did not see it as cheating.

0335 GMT: Tonight's portion of the interview is over. Oprah promises to ask Armstrong about his family, including learning that his son had been defending him, and his cancer charity in the second installment.

Earlier this year, Armstrong was forced to step down from Livestrong, the foundation he started, amid the intensifying allegations. Will he seem more contrite when the more personal issues come up? Does he regret lying to his mother or his children?

0328 GMT: The cycling superstar says he realized his years-long battle to deny systematic doping was coming to an end when his good friend George Hincapie had admitted to doping and testified against him.

0320 GMT: Armstrong says he does not have the standing to call for a "truth and reconciliation commission" on cycling, but that he would support such a move. "I'd be the first in the door," he says.

0317 GMT: Armstrong says that if he had not attempted a comeback, which he says did not sit well with other riders, he would have gotten away with doping. "We wouldn't be sitting here if I didn't come back."

0308 GMT: After all this confessing, Armstrong declines to admit to lying under oath about Betsy Andreu's accusation that she heard him admit to doping while undergoing treatment for cancer. He says he spoke to her and that their conversation was "private." Importantly, saying her story was true would mean admitting to the crime of perjury.

0304 GMT: If early reaction on Twitter is to be believed, the interview does not seem to be going over very well with the skeptical public. The novel hashtag #doprah is trending.

0259 GMT: Armstrong admits that Emma O'Reilly, a masseuse for his team, was telling the truth when she said he got a backdated prescription to cover a failed test. Reminded that he sued her over her allegations, Armstrong says he doesn't even remember doing that. "We sued so many people... I'm sure that's true," he chuckles.

0256 GMT: Armstrong denies paying off a lab to make a positive test disappear. "That did not happen."

0247 GMT: Armstrong insists he did not feel like he was cheating, after looking up the definition of "cheat." "I feel like it was a level playing field."

0245 GMT: Oprah asks if Armstrong enjoyed his wins, knowing he cheated. "Did it feel wrong?"

"At the time? No."

0241 GMT: The level of the water in the glasses on the table between Armstrong and Oprah has been fluctuating between interview segments, betraying the degree to which the interview has been edited.

0235 GMT: Armstrong says he was "born a fighter," was forced to be a fighter to beat cancer and took that spirit straight into cycling. That's the second time he blamed cancer for his actions.

0233 GMT: In a moment of self awareness, Armstrong admits: "I am not the most believable man in the world right now."

0225 GMT: "Were you a bully?" Oprah asks. Armstrong, fidgeting in his chair, says, "Yeah. I was a bully in the sense that I tried to control the narrative."

0222 GMT: Armstrong denies allegations that he directed other members of his team to dope, but acknowledges that there may have been some pressure on others. "There was a level of expectation. We expected guys to be fit, to be strong, to perform."

Although he spends a good part of the interview insisting he is not there to accuse others, he suggests that one of his accusers, Christian Vande Velde, doped.

0216 GMT: Armstrong vehemently denies that he continued to dope after his return to professional cycling in 2009.

"The last time I crossed that line, was in 2005," he says. That was the year he won his record seventh Tour de France title. That might be true, or it might reflect the eight-year statute of limitations the World Anti Doping Agency has for doping charges

0212 GMT: "My cocktail, so to speak, was only EPO, but not a lot, blood transfusions and testosterone." He says he justified the testosterone to himself because he had lost a testicle to cancer. "I've got to be running low," he said.

0207 GMT: After saying he was part of the "EPO Generation," Armstrong admits that he could not have won his record seven Tour de France, but adds, "not in that generation."

He declines to say everyone was doing it, but adds, "I didn't have access to anything else that everyone else didn't have access to."

"I didn't invent the culture, but I didn't try to stop the culture."

0203 GMT: The talk show queen, after getting the confession the world was waiting for, asks the second most-burning question: Why tell the truth now?

"The story was so perfect for so long... It was just this myth, and it wasn't true."

0200 GMT: Oprah opens the interview with the big question: Did you ever take banned substances to enhance your cycling performance?

Calmly, Armstrong answers: Yes.

After years of vehement denials that he took performance-enhancing drugs, cycling superstar Lance Armstrong sat down for an interview in his home town of Austin, Texas, on Monday with US TV star Oprah Winfrey. The much-anticipated interview -- during which Armstrong reportedly confessed to doping -- airs on the Oprah Winfrey Network at 9:00 pm (0200 GMT).