Ladies and gentlemen, by now you all know that Oprah Winfrey has interviewed and extracted a doping confession from ‘disgraced’ cyclist Lance Armstrong. The interview is scheduled to air on Friday, January 18, 2013. For those of you who simply can’t wait to see just what Lance said, I present to you the full transcript below, leaked by an individual whose name – for obvious reasons – I can’t reveal. Yep, you folks would be surprised at some of the people I know…
Anyway, without further ado, here ‘tis:
[Please note this is the full, unedited, uncensored transcript. Do not read any further if you are offended by strong language].
OPRAH WINFREY: Lance, thanks for speaking with me today.
LANCE ARMSTRONG: No Oprah, thank you.
OPRAH: Lance, I believe there’s something you would like to tell everyone watching today.
LANCE: Yeah, there sure is.
OPRAH: And what’s that?
LANCE: I was a doper. I took performance enhancing drugs for the greater part of my cycling career. I regularly took EPO, and intermittently used anabolic steroids and testosterone. I used EPO to win each and every one of my Tour De France victories.
OPRAH: How do you feel about that now? Are you sorry?
LANCE: Oprah, I grew up in Plano, Texas, an only child with a single mum who struggled to look after me. Apart from my athletic abilities, I had no formal qualifications and few life skills. The one thing I was good at was winning triathlons, and I really kicked ass in the cycling leg. It was the one thing I loved most and it was the one thing I could do better than anyone else my age.
If I sat here and said I was sorry for doping, that would make me the biggest fucking hypocrite on the planet. Because the reality is, without doping, I’d still be a nobody in Plano, Texas. Instead, I was able to win the world’s most gruelling athletic event seven years in a row, something that no-one else on this planet has ever done. I was able to experience a standard of living that I could otherwise only have ever dreamed about. I was able to meet amazing people all over the world. I owned beautiful houses on two different continents and drove exotic sports cars. That might sound kinda materialistic, but believe me, it sure beats living in some 2-bedroom shitshack and having to ride your bike to dates. And speaking of dates, I went out with the kind of women that, without my sporting successes, I never would have even had the opportunity to meet, let alone date and marry.
Basically, I lived a dream. I did things and went places and met people that your average person could never hope to. If I die tomorrow, I’ll die knowing I’ve lived an amazingly full life.
Most importantly, I was able to make my Mom proud. She sacrificed so much for me, and I felt like I had finally done something to repay her. Her efforts weren’t in vain. I had become a somebody, I was a success. And I was able to buy her a nice place, buy her nice things, fly her overseas so she could see Europe and watch me race.
Without doping, none of this – none of it – would ever have happened.
OPRAH: But many people would object that your success was built on lies, that it was all a massive fraud. You cheated.
LANCE: Here’s the deal Oprah: At the pro level, everyone cheated. Everyone took performance-enhancing drugs. Well, maybe not everyone…those guys you saw rolling in behind the peleton, looking utterly exhausted? They might have been clean. The guys that lasted a year or two on the Pro Tour, then headed back home? They might have been clean.
But if you wanted to actually win something, especially something major like the Giro or Tour De France, then you had to dope. End of story. All your competitors were doing it. You simply didn’t have a choice. It was either dope, or don’t win. I wanted to be a champion more than anything, and I realized very early on that without drugs, that would never happen. This was made pretty clear to me early on.
OPRAH: Who made this clear to you? Coaches? Other riders?
LANCE: Coaches, other riders, team staff…let’s just say that as soon as you’re in the pro ranks, it doesn’t take long to figure out what success as a pro entails.
OPRAH: Did you ever suffer any side effects as a result of your drug use?
OPRAH: Do you think your cancer may have been caused, at least in part, by your drug use?
LANCE: Oprah, neither EPO nor anabolic steroids cause testicular cancer. I’ll never know for sure, but I’d say smashing my balls against my goddamn bike seat for six hours a day, seven days a week is what caused my testicular cancer. Cyclists in general have had a long history of problems down south. Thank heavens for the anatomic saddles they have nowadays.
The only thing that makes me wonder is the HGH [human growth hormone] I took in my earlier years. Theoretically, that could promote cancer if you have the seeds of a tumour already forming, but I guess we’ll never know if that in fact played a part. At any rate, I stopped using it. I never used it during or after my comeback. Apart from maybe helping connective tissue injuries, it’s a crap performance enhancer anyway.
OPRAH: You don’t sound at all sorry for using drugs.
LANCE: I’m not. I didn’t hurt anyone by using EPO. I didn’t ‘cheat’ per se, because I was simply doing what everyone else was doing. Cheating supposedly means you’re doing something to give you an unfair advantage. But how is taking EPO an unfair advantage when everyone else is also using EPO?
If having an advantage that others don’t is cheating, then my entire training regimen was cheating, because I consulted physiologists, doctors and coaches that most of the other riders didn’t have access to. I used to work in close consultation with Trek to improve the design and aerodynamics of my bike. Few other riders would have had such a close relationship with their bike supplier, so I guess that was cheating too?
The truth is that if I knew I wouldn’t get caught, I’d do it all over again. Because, again, the life that my professional success bought me was a much better alternative to the one I faced as a non-pro. Do you really expect me to sit here and say sorry for taking the performance-enhancing drugs that allowed me to become financially secure and date rock stars and beauty queens?
Without my success as a competitive cyclist, there would be no Livestrong Foundation. All the support we’ve given to cancer victims over the years…it’s all well and good to claim I’ve disgraced Livestrong, but the reality is, no EPO, no success, no Livestrong. Folks like David Walsh accuse me of ‘conning’ cancer victims, but where’s the con? I had cancer, and I survived it. Trust me, that shit was real. Has Walsh ever beaten cancer? What’s he ever done to help cancer sufferers?
OPRAH: But couldn’t you still have won without drugs?
LANCE [Looking at Oprah like she’s just landed from another planet]: Sure I could have won without drugs – if everyone else was also racing without drugs. But they weren’t. Everyone was juiced. You simply didn’t win a three-week epic stage race like the Tour De France on nothing but chicken breast, pasta and Enduro drinks. That’s something people need to realize and accept, before they sit in pious judgement. It’s all well and good for jealous, scandal-seeking journalists and armchair spectator-types to sit and judge, but I’d like to see these people get off their cellulite-laden asses and win a single stage, let alone finish an entire Tour. They can take as many drugs as they want, but I’m guessing they still wouldn’t get very far.
OPRAH: So you have absolutely no regrets about your doping?
LANCE: Oprah, let’s cut the bullshit. The only reason I’m here is because I have to be. I want to clear the air. I want to tell my side of the story. Society, in all its wisdom, has evidently decided that doping is an evil on par with murder and child abuse. As one especially brilliant and lucid writer has pointed out, my doping saga has attracted more media airtime and more global scorn than that ever experienced by any paedophile. Which is pretty fucked. People really need to get some perspective. There is some pretty evil shit going on in the world right now, and people are getting their knickers in a knot because I took a red blood cell-boosting agent to win bike races?
And yeah, I lied about it, but I didn’t have much choice, did I?
I mean, what was I supposed to say? “Hey everyone, just letting you know that I take performance-enhancing drugs, but please don’t tell WADA or the USADA, OK?”
C’mon, get real…
Barack Obama quietly signs the NDAA into effect, an unprecedented act which pretty much shits on the Constitution and legitimizes the indefinite detention of American citizens on a loosely defined definition of terrorism. Yet people sing and dance when he gets re-elected and treat the guy like he’s some kind of hero! He’s failed to live up to every single promise he’s ever made, yet Hollywood celebrities trip over themselves to endorse him! Even Bruce Springsteen…what a disgrace! I threw my Born on the Fourth of July CD in the garbage compactor when I saw that shit.
Meanwhile, I’m losing sponsors like there’s no tomorrow and being made to look like Dr. Evil because I took a drug that increases your red blood cell count and hence allows you to ride your bicycle faster and longer.
What a fucking crock!
OPRAH: Lance, I endorsed Barack Obama.
LANCE: And how do you feel now, having convinced millions of people to vote for some slick talking shyster who is actively working to slowly strip away our nation’s most basic freedoms? This Democrat versus Republican bullshit drives me crazy…when are people going to realize they’re all a pack of self-serving assholes?
OPRAH: Lance, I don’t think this is a very wise PR strategy, this stuff you’re saying. What you need to do is drop the politics, bow your head more, pretend to be really sorry, shed a tear or two, and act like you’re begging the public’s forgiveness. People really love that stuff, they just lap up the whole fallen-hero-seeking-forgiveness routine!
LANCE: Screw that shit. I’m here to tell the truth. And the truth is, I can sleep just fine at night when I think about my past doping. There is however, something that really bothers me, something for which I truly wish to apologize from the bottom of my heart.
OPRAH [Looking surprised]: Oh…and what’s that?
LANCE: I want to apologize for being such an asshole. Like it or not, taking drugs was a necessary part of being a successful professional cyclist, but acting like an arrogant, bullying, obnoxious jerk-off wasn’t. I look back and absolutely cringe at some of the shit I did.
OPRAH: Like what?
Well, stuff like phoning journalists at their homes while they were having Sunday lunch with their families and then screaming at them for writing something I didn’t agree with.
And acting like an intimidating asshole towards other cyclists, instead of embracing the camaraderie. We were all their for the same reason – to achieve success and make a living out of the one thing we loved doing most. But I treated my fellow racers as mortal enemies, on and off the road. I’d stare them down as I rode past, I did everything I could to humiliate and belittle them. I didn’t need to do that, but there was a part of me that just couldn’t resist the temptation to make others feel small. I wanted the entire peleton not just to respect me, but to fear me.
OPRAH: Wow. Sounds like you were a real prick!
LANCE: Yeah, I was, and that’s what I’m truly sorry about. The way I treated Filippo Simeoni, for example.
OPRAH: Tell us about that.
LANCE: Well, Filippo was an Italian cycling champion, and from all accounts a nice guy. In 2004 he testified in a case the Italians had going against Michele Ferrari, the infamous doctor accused of giving me and others EPO. Looking back, it’s clear Filippo was acting on his best intentions and really was hoping to make some kind of contribution to cycling by fessing up to doping and discussing the use of EPO.
However, there was a kind of omerta, a code of silence in the peleton about doping, and if you broke that code everybody would hate you for it. “Don’t spit in the soup”, we used to say.
OPRAH: The cycling equivalent of “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas”?
LANCE: Exactly. Everyone knew everyone else was taking drugs, it was a fact of life we all accepted, and so long as it was kept quiet we all kept going our merry way. But Filippo was threatening everything, the last thing we needed was another drug scandal placing us all under suspicion. So when I get off the plane right before the Tour de France and some journalist sticks his microphone in my face, the first thing I blurt out is “Filippo Simeoni is a liar!”. Every chance I got, I slandered the poor guy. Then, during one of the stages, I pulled up alongside him on my bike, glared at him, and hissed, “What the fuck do you think you’re doing, punk?”
He looked back at me and said, in his broken English, “Va funculo dickahead, umma trying to rida bicicletta race here.”
Well, that was it. Boy, was I pissed. No-one talks to the almighty Lance Armstrong like that, I said to myself. So I started chasing him. And we started getting into this angry game of cat and mouse, to the point where we started catching the riders who were leading that stage. Now, my TDF victory was already assured, and it’s an unwritten cycling custom that under those circumstances you let other riders have a stage win or two, so long as they pose no threat to you in the overall classification. But there I was, racing Filippo like some kind of angry nutter and we were closing in on the leading riders. It wasn’t until some of the other riders said “Lance, what are you doing? Let these guys have their day”, that I backed off. But that just made me more pissed. So I put the word out that Simeoni was Public Enemy Number One and the rest of the peleton, compliant and intimidated sods that they were, started giving him the cold shoulder and even verbally abusing him.
OPRAH: That’s horrible!
LANCE: That’s hardly the start of it. On the very last day of the Tour, as you ride into Paris, it’s another custom that whoever is leading at that point is not challenged. That’s why you see the winning team riding into Paris sipping on champagne flutes instead of going flat out.
But Filippo had other plans. He’d been under siege the whole Tour, unfairly copping crap left, right and center from me and the rest of the peleton for three weeks straight, and he’d well and truly had enough. So, out of nowhere, he makes a breakaway, and leaves us all in the dust. Everyone panics, you could hear the sound of champagne flutes breaking on the pavement, everyone’s like, “What the hell is this guy doing?!”
So we gave chase and we caught him. And as we all rode past, we spat on him. Half the peleton must have spat on him, he had saliva running all the way down his thighs.
OPRAH: Oh my God, that’s disgusting! Why were you such an asshole, Lance?
LANCE: Well, I don’t want to use this as an excuse, I mean…I believe it explains a lot of my behaviour and the anger I’ve harboured over the years, but I’m not trying to say it excuses my behaviour.
OPRAH: And what’s that?
LANCE: My stepfather, the one who I inherited my surname from, was a complete and utter prick. He verbally and physically abused me on a daily basis, until he was finally out of our lives. You do that to a kid in his formative years, believe me, it’s going to permanently affect him. I grew up angry, rebellious. Thankfully, I released a lot of that rage on the bike, which was surely a better option than brawling in bars or joining a biker gang.
But unfortunately, my inner anger also manifested itself in far less positive ways. When I started winning bike races, it gave me a sense of empowerment and control. Life around my stepfather had been unpredictable, there was constant tension and you never knew when he’d burst into violence. And now all of a sudden here was an arena where I could achieve control, where I could impose my will on others instead of having others impose their will on me. That sense of control was addictive. I became a control freak.
OPRAH: That’s ironic, because people who abuse their spouses and children are often control freaks. You suffered at the hands of a control freak, and then became one yourself.
LANCE: Yeah, I’ve had a lot of time to sit and think about this. It’s amazing how stuff that happened over thirty years ago can affect the way you behave today, without you even realizing it. People who beat their kids are cowards, pure and simple. If you need to physically and violently impose your will on a child in order to achieve some sense of control in your life, then you really are a total piece of shit, a truly pathetic individual. You think you’re master of your domain because you verbally berate or physically beat your family into submission? Fine. Go up to someone 2-3 times your height and 2-3 times your weight and slap them across the face. Let’s see how tough you are then.
OPRAH: I can see you’re still angry.
LANCE: Yeah, I am. Because of my stepfather, and the fear, resentment and anger that he created inside of me, I developed an attitude and a certain approach to dealing with others. It’s an approach I’m only starting to properly deal with now.
But back then, when I started winning races, I started getting cocky. I would trash talk a lot, but that was really my way of masking my insecurities and it was also my early taste of success getting the better of me. While winning bike races gave me a sense of empowerment, the control freak in me saw to it that I got moody and testy when things didn’t go my way, on or off the bike. If someone said something I didn’t agree with, I’d blow it out of proportion and give them the cold shoulder. If I lost a race, I’d be pissed for days.
When I got to Europe, I got even worse. The Europeans don’t generally go for the whole trash talk shtick the way we Americans do. In fact, their behaviour overall is often a lot more mellow and refined. But there I was running at the mouth, staring people down, acting like a complete jack-ass. Not surprisingly, I wasn’t real popular among the peleton during those early years in Europe.
I’ve unnecessarily burned a lot of bridges during my career. There were people who were long and loyal friends, but I threw them out of my life because of the tiniest perceived slight or infraction. I used people…when I figured they had served their useful purpose, I didn’t want anything more to do with them. When people crossed me – for stuff that, when I look back was embarrassingly minor – I started acting real sour towards them real quick. I’d intimidate them in all sorts of ways. If it was a skinny fellow cyclist, I’d do it face to face. If it was someone far less of a pushover, I’d unleash my legal team on them. I had a very hostile, confrontational approach to life. I had a lust for control, and quickly became angry when I perceived I was losing control of a situation.
Long story cut short – I was a real dick towards a lot of people. To those people, I truly apologize. That’s something I really am sorry for: Taking out my inner anger on people who didn’t deserve it.
OPRAH: Are you going to cry?
OPRAH: Aw c’mon, just a few tears, please? Not even some watery eyes?! It’ll do wonders for the ratings!
LANCE: Sorry Oprah, I don’t go for all that teary confession bullshit. A real man only cries in public for one of three reasons: 1) A loved one has died; 2) He witnesses fellow humans dying or suffering terribly, or; 3) His new bike just got totaled.
OPRAH: Well Lance, this wasn’t quite what I was expecting, but it’s been interesting. Thanks for talking with me today!
LANCE: No worries Oprah, thanks for letting me tell my side of the story.
Hey, are we off-camera now? Cool…I’m going to grab a beer. Can I get you something to drink?
OPRAH: That’d be great! Have you got any of that Kangaroo Island Sting you keep raving about?
LANCE: Damn straight! I bought a whole case back from Adelaide the last time I raced in the Tour Down Under! By the way, I gotta tell you about this Mike Rann tosser, he was the Premier of South Australia at the time and he followed me around everywhere like a goddamn puppy dog…man, it was creepy! If it wasn’t for the fact his government was paying me millions just to show up, sign a few autographs, and appear in the race, I would’ve …hey, we’re definitely off-air now, right?
[TRANSCRIPT ENDS HERE]
One-way freeways, public bikie shootings, and chopping down 100 year-old trees for a dodgey oval redevelopment notwithstanding, there are some things Adelaide manages to do right. This is one of them.
Note: Before I start getting nasty letters from the legal team representing Harpo Productions…no, this is not the real Oprah interview with Lance Armstrong. Duh! I’m pretty confident, however, that this is the kind of interview Armstrong would give if he truly felt guilty about the things that really mattered and felt free to tell the truth, political correctness and PR bollocks be damned.
Anthony Colpo is an independent researcher, physical conditioning specialist, and author of The Fat Loss Bible and The Great Cholesterol Con. For more information, visit TheFatLossBible.net or TheGreatCholesterolCon.com
Copyright © Anthony Colpo.
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