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Public takes its shots at Armstrong after reported admission to Oprah

Tuesday, January 15, 2013 - 8:00am

The court of public opinion weighed in decidedly against Lance Armstrong after he reportedly admitted to Oprah Winfrey that he used performance-enhancing drugs to push his cycling career into high gear.

ABC News, the New York Times and USA Today, citing unnamed sources, reported Monday night that the former cyclist finally admitted to using steroids during an interview he and Winfrey taped in Armstrong's hometown of Austin, Texas.

On CNN's Facebook page, the opinions were passionate and pointed.

"This guy is a loser and a liar!!" Melinda Morgan said. "He is not sorry for what he did, he is sorry that he got caught!!"

Margaret Midkiff said there's no hope of Armstrong reviving his career. "He's lied to folks way too long."

For more than a decade, Armstrong has denied he used performance-enhancing drugs, but he was linked to a doping scandal by nearly a dozen other former cyclists who have admitted to doping.

Some media outlets have reported that Armstrong has been strongly considering the possibility of a confession, possibly as a way to stem the tide of fleeing sponsors and as part of a long-term comeback plan.

But Gretta Michellé said it's too late for redemption.

"He had the opportunity to be honest from the beginning and he should have," she posted on the Facebook page. "Winning was more important."

Sources: Armstrong says he used steroids

Armstrong's reported admission is a sharp about-face after more than a decade of vehemently denying he cheated en route to winning a record seven Tour de France titles. which were later stripped away by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency.

The interview will air at 9 p.m. ET Thursday on the Oprah Winfrey Network. Winfrey has promised a "no-holds-barred" interview, with no conditions and no payment made to Armstrong.

"I hope the ratings are (a) record low on that show," said Matthew Black in a Facebook comment.

A source familiar with the interview told CNN that Armstrong was emotional at times during Monday night's session, but the development seemed to spur little sympathy.

"Go ahead and cry, Lance ... it won't help you one bit," Lori Polacek said. You "blew it a long time ago!"

Cancer charity: The trump card?

Some were willing to cut Armstrong a break because of his long-running cancer charity -- the Livestrong Foundation.

"Who cares?" said Pedro Murillo. "He raised so much for cancer research, that's more important (than) if he doped for some races."

David Flowe said he doesn't care if Armstrong was involved in doping or if he even confesses to it.

"The man is an inspiration for those battling cancer," he said. "Quit being so judgmental of others especially someone who has done done so much good for the world!"

Armstrong, 41, has been an icon for his cycling feats and celebrity, bringing more status to a sport wildly popular in some nations but lacking big-name recognition, big money and mass appeal in the United States.

He fought back from testicular cancer to win the Tour de France from 1999 to 2005. He raised millions via his Lance Armstrong Foundation to help cancer victims and survivors, an effort illustrated by trendy yellow "LiveSTRONG" wristbands that helped bring in the money.

Before the his interview with Winfrey, the disgraced cycling legend apologized to the staff of his cancer charity, a publicist for Livestrong Foundation said.

Armstrong was tearful during the 15-minute meeting and didn't address the issue of steroid use in cycling, Rae Bazzarre, director of communications for the foundation, said.

Bazzarre added that Armstrong offered to the staff a "sincere and heartfelt apology for the stress they've endured because of him."

He urged them to keep working hard to help cancer survivors and their families.

Banned for life

The USADA hit Armstrong with a lifetime ban after the agency' issued a 202-page report in October, which said there was overwhelming evidence he was directly involved in a sophisticated doping program.

The report detailed Armstrong's alleged use of performance-enhancing drugs and blood transfusions, the USADA said it had tested Armstrong less than 60 times and the International Cycling Union conducted about 215 tests.

"Show one failed test, just one," Ron Berg said, challenging the wave of public opinion against Armstrong. "You can't, because he passed them all. ... They hate him for his success and tried to fail him, they could not."

The agency did not say that Armstrong ever failed a test, but his former teammates testified as to how they beat tests or avoided the tests altogether.

--
CNN's Steve Almasy contributed to this report.
 

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