News / USA

Armstrong Admits to Doping in TV Interview

In this January 14, 2013 photo provided by Harpo Studios Inc., cyclist Lance Armstrong listens to a question from Oprah Winfrey during taping for the show
In this January 14, 2013 photo provided by Harpo Studios Inc., cyclist Lance Armstrong listens to a question from Oprah Winfrey during taping for the show "Oprah and Lance Armstrong: The Worldwide Exclusive" in Austin, Texas.
VOA News
Retired American cyclist Lance Armstrong has appeared on American television to admit using performance-enhancing drugs in all seven of his Tour de France victories from 1999 through 2005.

The 41-year-old cancer survivor, who has repeatedly denied doping accusations, told interviewer Oprah Winfrey that he could not have won the seven titles without the banned substances. The interview was taped on Monday.

Armstrong opened the interview by answering a series of "yes" or "no" questions, saying he used testosterone, cortisone, blood transfusions and human growth hormone to boost his chances of winning the prestigious races.  He said all "fault and blame" for the scandal that nearly wrecked international cycling competition "falls on me."

Late Wednesday, the International Olympic Committee asked Armstrong to the return the bronze medal he won in the road time trial at the 2000 Sydney Games.

Key Events in Lance Armstrong's Career

-1992:  Competes in Barcelona Olympics. Turns professional after the games
-1993:  Wins Tour de France stage at Verdun, the Triple Crown in the U.S. and world championship in Norway
-1997:  Declared free of cancer, joins U.S. Postal team
-1999:  Wins Tour de France for the first time
-2005:  Wins the tour a seventh consecutive time and retires
-2006:  Independent investigation clears him of doping
-2009:  Finishes third in Tour de France after coming out of retirement
-2011:  Retires from competitive cycling a second time
-June 2012:  US Anti-Doping Agency charges Armstrong with doping
-August 2012:  USADA bans Armstrong for life, strips him of his Tour de France titles after he said would no longer fight doping allegations
-October 2012:  Loses large corporate sponsors, resigns as chairman of his Livestrong cancer charity
-January 2013:  Admits to doping in interview with Oprah Winfrey

Armstrong was stripped of his record seven consecutive Tour de France victories last year when the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency announced it had proof of his involvement in a complex illegal doping program. On Monday, Armstrong apologized for the scandal in an emotional visit to the staff of his cancer charity Livestrong. 

Witnesses say Armstrong fought back tears as he spoke, but that he did not discuss specifics of the allegations against him.

Also this week, International Olympic Committee member Dick Pound told Reuters Armstrong's confession could jeopardize cycling in future Olympic games.

Pound said such action could be taken if it can be proven that the International Cycling Union (UCI) acted improperly in the Armstrong case.

The chief of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, Travis Tygart, has said the UCI, cycling's governing body, wrongfully accepted a $100,000 gift from Armstrong.  Pound, a Canadian, suggested that could be seen as a cover-up of Armstrong's illegal drug use.

  • July 25, 1999: Lance Armstrong wins his first Tour de France, pictured riding down the Champs Elysees with teammates in Paris.
  • August 1999: Bicyclists roll down Congress Ave. in Austin, Texas, where Armstrong currently lives, during a parade held in his honor.
  • July 23, 2000: Armstrong wins his second Tour de France, the second American to repeat as champion since Greg LeMond won in 1989 and 1990.
  • July 29, 2001: Lance Armstrong  (right) on the podium next to second-placed Jan Ullrich of Germany, after winning the Tour de France for the third time.
  • July 6, 2002: Armstrong undergoes medical examinations ahead of the 2002 Tour de France race in Luxembourg.
  • July 26, 2002: Armstrong at the start of the 18th stage of the Tour de France. Teammate Floyd Landis is second right.
  • July 28, 2002: Armstrong wins his fourth consecutive Tour de France.
  • July 27, 2003: Lance Armstrong with his wife Kristin, his son Luke and his twin daughters Isabelle Rose and Grace Elizabeth, signaling five (for the number of Tours de France he has won).
  • July 25, 2004: Armstrong becomes the first person to win six Tour de France titles.
  • July 25, 2004: Armstrong greets fans after the race on the Champs Elysees avenue in Paris.
  • July 24, 2005: Lance Armstrong wins his seventh straight Tour de France race.
  • August 23, 2005: The French sports daily l'Equipe reports Lance Armstrong used the performance-enhancing drug EPO to win his first Tour de France title in 1999, a claim he immediately denied.
  • August 25, 2005: Armstrong appears on CNN's "Larry King Live" with Bob Costas to discuss recent allegations of doping.
  • November 5, 2006: Lance Armstrong (picured in green) runs the New York City Marathon, his first.
  • September 2008: Armstrong announces he is ending a three-year cycling retirement and aims for an eighth Tour de France victory.
  • January 20, 2009: Armstrong races in the Tour Down Under in Adelaide, his first since resuming his professional cycling career.
  • July 25, 2009: Andy Schleck of Luxembourg, Alberto Contador of Spain, and Lance Armstrong, left to right, cross the finish line during the 20th stage of the Tour de France.
  • July 10, 2010: Lance Armstrong rides in the pack during his final Tour de France.
  • June 28, 2012: Levi Leipheimer, George Hincapie, Christian Vande Velde and David Zabriskie struck a deal with the US anti doping agency to admit to using doping and to give evidence against Armstrong.
  • October 17, 2012: Lance Armstrong announces he is stepping down as chairman of his Livestrong cancer-fighting charity so the group can focus on its mission instead of its founder's problems.
  • The move came a week after the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency released a massive report detailing allegations of widespread doping by Armstrong and his teams when he won the Tour de France seven times from 1999 to 2005.
  • Lance Armstrong stands onstage during the 15th anniversary celebration for the Livestrong charity, October 19, 2012, in Austin, Texas. Armstrong said he has been through a "difficult couple of weeks" and urged supporters of the charity to stand behind its mission.

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