Photo Credit: Heather Wines/CBS via Getty Images; ROGERIO BARBOSA/AFP/GettyImages
The past few months have been a long, sad journey for Lance Armstrong and his fans. The once-celebrated cyclist and cancer survivor has lost most of the things he's held dear -- his Livestrong organization and his cycling and Tour de France titles. Through it all, he stood firm, denying that he had been a part of a doping scandal. It seems he's finally ready to come clean.
In a two-part interview airing on OWN and on Oprah.com, starting on Thursday, Jan. 17 at 9 p.m., the cyclist opens up to Oprah Winfrey about using performance-enhancing drugs during his career. The OWN mogul chatted with CBS This Morning about the upcoming interview, which she is calling "one of the biggest" she's ever done.
"I think the entire interview was difficult," Oprah says. "I would say he did not come clean in the manner I expected. It was surprising to me. I would say for myself, my team, all of us in the room, we were mesmerized and riveted by some of his answers."
Winfrey says she had 112 questions for Armstrong and asked most of them during their two and a half hour long interview. She says he was "ready" to answer her questions, and she was "satisfied" with what he said.
"Because he was so forthcoming, I went in prepared to have to dig and pull and reference ... I didn’t have to do that," Winfrey says. "I think he was just ready. I think the velocity of everything that has come at him in the past several months, and particularly in the past several weeks, he was just ready."
She continues, "I would say there were a couple of times where he was emotional, but emotional doesn't begin to describe the intensity or the difficulty that he experienced in talking about some of these things. All the people who are wondering if he actually goes there and answers ... I think that you will come away too understanding that he brought it."
Armstrong dropped his fight against the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency in August, leading to his titles being stripped and USADA chief executive Travis Tygart calling it the "most sophisticated, professionalized and successful doping program that sports has ever seen."
Director of Communications for the Livestrong Foundation Rae Bazzarre confirmed to CNN that Armstrong recently held a meeting with the Livestrong staff to give a "sincere and heartfelt apology for the stress they’ve endured because of him and urged them to keep up their great work fighting for people affected by cancer." Armstrong was described as "tearful." That event came before the news that Armstrong had decided to admit he had used performance enhancing drugs during his career.
Though he has resisted telling the truth for a while, Armstrong's career was already irreparably tarnished by the USADA's report against him. His decision to come clean doesn't change any of that and maybe even makes things worse for him, but at least Armstrong has finally rightfully admitted to the actions he spent over a decade denying.