During Part 1 of their interview last night, LANCE ARMSTRONG admitted to OPRAH WINFREY right up front that he used performance-enhancing drugs during all seven of his Tour de France wins. He was relatively straightforward in admitting he had no excuse . . . but at the same time, he did play the "everybody else was doing it" card a few times. Part 2 of the interview airs tonight.
OPRAH WINFREY went straight for the jugular in her interview with LANCE ARMSTRONG last night. She started with a round of rapid-fire questions that resulted in, really, all the answers we needed.
--In this little lightning round, we learned that Lance did indeed use performance-enhancing drugs to win ALL SEVEN of his Tour de France titles.
--Those drugs included erythropoietin . . . also known as EPO . . . testosterone, cortisone and human growth hormone. He also used "blood doping" and blood transfusions.
--And he admitted that he did not believe it would have been possible to win all those titles without doping.
--Asked why he's finally admitting all of this, Lance didn't really have a good answer. He said, quote, "That's the best question. It's the most logical question . . . I don't know that I have a great answer.
--"I will start my answer by saying that this is too late. It's too late for probably most people, and that's my fault. I viewed this situation as one big lie that I repeated a lot of times, and as you said, it wasn't as if I just said no and I moved off it."
(--Here's why he's coming clean in a nutshell: There's a FECAL TYPHOON heading his way, and he knows there's no way he can avoid it. So he's trying to get just enough ahead of it so it doesn't swallow him up completely.)
--Lance said he started taking drugs in the mid-1990s. But he claims he did it for the last time in 2005 . . . meaning he was clean during his comeback, when he did the Tour de France in 2009 and 2010. (--He didn't win either of those.)
--Lance said he didn't believe he was cheating at the time he was doping . . . quote, "I went and looked up the definition of cheat.
--"And the definition is to gain an advantage on a rival or foe. I didn't view it that way. I viewed it as a level playing field."
--Yes, Lance played the "everybody else was doing it" card. He said, quote, "It's been well-documented. I didn't invent the culture, but I didn't try to stop the culture, and that's my mistake.
--"And that's what I have to be sorry for . . . and the sport is now paying the price because of that. So I am sorry for that. I don't think . . . I didn't have access to anything else that nobody else did."
--He also denied that he ran the most sophisticated doping operation in sports, as some have claimed. He said, quote, "It definitely was professional, and it was definitely smart, if you can call it that . . .
--"But to say that that program was bigger than the East German doping program in the '70s and '80s? That's not true."
--One thing Lance readily admitted to was that he ruined a lot of people who tried to call him out on his doping over the years. And he said he's trying to make amends.
--He said, quote, "When I say that there are people that will hear this and will never forgive me, I understand that. I do. I have started that process. I think all of this is a process for me.
--"One of the steps of that process is to speak to those people directly, and just say to them that I am sorry, and I was wrong. You were right."
--One of the people he has already spoken to personally is BETSY ANDREU, the wife of Armstrong's former teammate FRANKIE ANDREU. And while she hasn't quite forgiven him yet, he did set one thing straight with her.
--Apparently, she believed that he had called her, quote, "a fat, crazy [B-word]." But he says during their recent conversation, he told her, quote, "Listen, I called you crazy. I called you a [B-word], I called you all these things, but I never called you fat." (???)
--Lance also said he'd help clean up cycling if asked . . . and yes, he knows how hypocritical that sounds.
--He told Oprah, quote, "I disrespected the rules . . . that was my choice. But if we can, and I stand on no moral platform here, certainly not my place to say, 'Hey, guys, let's clean up cycling.'
--"[But] if there was a truth and reconciliation commission . . . again, I can't call for that. I've got no cred . . . If they have it, and I'm invited, I'll be the first man at the door." (--Part 2 of this interview airs tonight on OWN.)
(--Delicious Audio Alert: Grab all the important audio clips from the interview here.)
(--So what did YOU think of Lance's interview? I think he SAID all the right things . . . with the exception of the times he brought up the "everybody else was doing it" excuse.)
(--But just using the correct words wasn't enough for me. Lance seemed very COLD and CALCULATING. Like he's really NOT all that sorry . . . he's just a guy who knows he HAS TO apologize.)
(--And whether or not that's true, I think that's the way this interview is going to be perceived. And, as everybody knows, perception can very easily become reality.)
(--So ultimately, I don't think this interview helps him.)