This Monday, Jan. 14, 2013 photo provided by Harpo Studios Inc., shows talk-show host Oprah Winfrey interviewing cyclist Lance Armstrong during taping for the show “Oprah and Lance Armstrong: The Worldwide Exclusive” in Austin, Texas. The two-part episode of “Oprah’s Next Chapter” will air nationally Thursday and Friday, Jan. 17-18, 2013. (AP Photo/Courtesy of Harpo Studios, Inc., George Burns)
Lance Armstrong said viewers can judge for themselves how candid he was in his interview with Oprah Winfrey.
“I left it all on the table with her and when it airs the people can decide,” he said in a text message to The Associated Press.
Armstrong responded to a report in the New York Daily News, citing an unidentified source, that he was not contrite when he acknowledged during Monday’s taping with Winfrey that he used performance-enhancing drugs. Although the first installment of a two-part interview doesn’t air until Thursday night, there has been no shortage of opinions or advice on what Armstrong should say.
Livestrong, the cancer charity Armstrong founded in 1997 and was forced to walk away from last year, said in a statement Wednesday it expected him to be “completely truthful and forthcoming.” A day earlier, World Anti-Doping Agency general director David Howman said nothing short of a confession under oath — “not talking to a talk-show host” — could prompt a reconsideration of Armstrong’s lifetime ban from sanctioned events. And Frankie Andreu, a former teammate that Armstrong turned on, said the disgraced cyclist had an obligation to tell all he knew and help clean up the sport.
Armstrong has held conversations with officials from the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, including a reportedly contentious face-to-face meeting with USADA chief executive Travis Tygart near the Denver airport. It was USADA’s 1,000-page report last year, including testimony from nearly a dozen former teammates, that portrayed Armstrong as the leader of a sophisticated doping ring that enveloped the U.S. Postal Service team on the way to title after title at the Tour de France. In addition to the lifetime ban, Armstrong was stripped of all seven wins, lost nearly all of his endorsements and was forced to cut ties with Livestrong.
According to a person with knowledge of the situation, Armstrong has information that might lead to his ban being reduced to eight years. That would make him eligible to compete in elite triathlons, many of which are sanctioned under world anti-doping rules, in 2020, when Armstrong will be 49. He was a professional athlete in the three-discipline sport as a teenager, and returned to competition after retiring from cycling in 2011.
That person also said the bar for Armstrong’s redemption is higher now than when the case was open, a time during which he refused to speak to investigators.
The person spoke on condition of anonymity because he was discussing a confidential matter.
Armstrong, who always prized loyalty on his racing teams, now faces some very tough choices himself: whether to cooperate and name those who may have aided, abetted or helped cover up the long-time use of PEDs.
“I have no idea what the future holds other than me holding my kids,” he said.
Armstrong left his hometown of Austin, where the interview was taped at a downtown hotel, and is in Hawaii. He is named as a defendant in at least two pending lawsuits, and possibly a third. The Justice Department faces a Thursday deadline on a decision whether to join a whistle-blower lawsuit filed by former teammate Floyd Landis, who was stripped of the 2006 Tour de France title for doping.
That suit alleges Armstrong defrauded the U.S. government by repeatedly denying he used performance-enhancing drugs. Armstrong could be required to return substantial sponsorship fees and pay a hefty fine. The AP reported earlier that Justice Department officials were likely to join the lawsuit.
Jim Litke reported from Chicago, Jim Vertuno from Austin.
« LAS VEGAS (AP) — NASA is partnering with a commercial space company in a bid to swap out the cumbersome “metal cans” that now serve as astronauts’ homes in space for inflatable bounce-house-like habitats that can be deployed on the cheap. A $17.8 million test project will send an inflatable room that can be compressed for delivery into a 7-foot tube to the International Space Station, officials said Wednesday during a news conference at North Las Vegas-based Bigelow Aerospace. If the module proves durable during two years at the space station, it could open the door to habitats on the moon and missions to Mars, NASA engineer Glen Miller said. The agency chose Bigelow for the contract because it was the only company working on the inflatable technology, said NASA Deputy Administrator Lori Garver. Founder and president Robert Bigelow, who made his fortune in the hotel industry before getting into the space business in 1999, framed the gambit as an out-of-this-world real estate venture. He hopes to sell his spare tire habitats to scientific companies and wealthy adventurers looking for space hotels. NASA is expected to install the 13-foot, blimp-like module in a space station port by 2015. Bigelow plans to begin selling stand-alone space homes the next year. The new technology provides three times as much room as the existing aluminum models, and is also easier and cheaper to build, Miller said. Artist renderings of the module resemble a tinfoil clown nose grafted onto the main station. It is hardly big enough to be called a room. Miller described it as a large closet with padded white walls and gear and gizmos strung from two central beams. Garver said on Wednesday that sending a small inflatable tube into space will be dramatically cheaper than launching a full-sized module. “Let’s face it; the most expensive aspect of taking things in space is the launch,” she said. “So the magnitude of important of this for NASA really can’t be overstated.” The partnership is another step toward outsourcing for NASA, which no longer enjoys the budget and public profile of its heyday. The agency has handed off rocket-building to private companies, retired it space shuttles in 2011 and now relies on Russian spaceships to transport American astronauts to and from the space station. Astronauts will test the ability of the bladder, known as the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module, or BEAM, to withstand heat, radiation, debris and other assaults. Some adventurous scientists might also try sleeping in the spare room, which is the first piece of private real estate to be blasted into space, Garver said. Bigelow said the NASA brand will enable him to begin selling Kevlar habitats several times the size of the test module. “This year is probably going to be our kickoff year for talking to customers,” he said. “We have to show that we can execute what we’re talking about.” Bigelow, who launched a small prototype of the module in 2006 after licensing the patent from NASA, will rely on Boeing and Southern California rocket developer Space Exploration Technologies to provide transportation. A 60-day stay will cost $25 million, slightly less than a roundtrip ticket into low-earth orbit. He predicted that the primary customers will be upwardly mobile countries including Brazil, Singapore and the United Arab Emirates that “have a difficult time getting their astronauts into orbit” and could use a private space station to barter and build up prestige. The biggest technological challenge will be transporting the collapsed module through the sub-zero temperatures of space without tearing or cracking any part of it, Miller said. When it arrives at the space station in 2015, scientists will blow it up and let it sit for a few days to test for leaks. If it does not hold as promised, NASA will take back a portion of the already bargain basement price it paid Bigelow. Standing beside scale models of inflatable colonies on Mars and the moon, Miller said the project will encourage commercial ventures to follow the path NASA blazes into space. He added that it could also help achieve the holy grail of space exploration: missions that send astronauts out of orbit for more than a year. “The only way to do that is to expand it out and voila you have living space for three people to go to Mars,” he said. “You can get three times the volume of a metallic can, and you can go up in the same ferry.” Carlsbad instructor hopes more pilots take flight »