Brent Schrotenboer, USA TODAY Sports
Lance Armstrong said he finally decided to tell the truth about his doping mostly because the controversy had gotten so "out of control" that it was starting to affect his children.
Armstrong, who has five children, fought back tears as he told talk-show host Oprah Winfrey how the scandal has affected his family. In an interview broadcast Friday, the famed cyclist also said he's been getting therapy for his behavior, which he described as "narcissistic."
"I saw my son defending me and saying, "That's not true -- what you're saying about my dad is not true,'" Armstrong said.
Armstrong, 41, said that's when he knew he had to come clean to his 13-year-old son Luke. After lying about his doping for more than a decade, he didn't want his kids to be part of his cover-up, too.
"(Luke) never said, 'Dad, is this true?'" Armstrong said. "He trusted me."
Armstrong said he finally told his son the truth recently and asked his children to stop defending him. He also said the controversy started affecting his mother, whom he described as a "wreck."
"It took seeing her to really understand that this is taking a toll on her life," Armstrong said.
Friday's 60-minute broadcast marked the second part of the interview airing on Winfrey's cable network. The first part aired Thursday night and included Armstrong's admission that he started using banned drugs before he was diagnosed with cancer in 1996. He said he continued doping through all of his seven victories in the Tour de France from 1999 to 2005. It was the first time he admitted to cheating and bullying those who dared to tell the truth about it.
Among Friday's topics:
--Winfrey asked him if he believed his doping might have caused his cancer.
"I don't think so," Armstrong said. "I'm not a doctor. I've never had a doctor tell me that, or suggest that to me personally, but I don't believe so."
--Armstrong said the most "humbling moment" for him in the doping saga came last fall when the controversy forced him to step down from his beloved Livestrong foundation, the charity he founded to support cancer survivors.
To those Livestrong supporters who still believed him, he said would apologize to them now for his years of deception.
"I'd say, I understand your anger, your sense of betrayal," Armstrong said. "You supported me forever through all this, and you believed. And I lied to you. And I'm sorry. I will spend, I will spend and be committed to spending as long as I have to make amends."
--Armstrong indicated his ex-wife Kristin had some knowledge of his doping and made him promise not to dope if he attempted a comeback to cycling in 2009. He said he kept that promise and did not dope after 2005.
"She believes in honesty and integrity and truth," Armstrong said. "She believes the truth will set you free."
--Oprah showed Armstrong a video from 2005 in which Armstrong is testifying under oath as part of a lawsuit he filed against a Dallas promotions company. The company had withheld bonuses owed Armstrong for winning the Tour de France because it suspected he had cheated to win.
In the video, not only did Armstrong make a false denial about doping under oath, but he predicted what would happen if he were caught. He predicted losing all of his sponsors and the faith of millions of cancer survivors worldwide - a comment that's proven to be eerily prophetic.
After watching the video with Winfrey, Armstrong said, "That's sick. I don't like that guy."
"Who is that guy?" Winfrey asked.
"That is a guy who felt invincible," Armstrong said. "He was told he was invincible. He truly believed he was invincible. That's who that guy was."
Armstrong said that part of his personality is "still there" but it "needs to be exiting through this process."
--Armstrong said he wants to return to athletic competition in marathons and triathlons but doesn't think that is likely.
"If you're asking me if I want to compete again, the answer is, `Hell yes,'" Armstrong said. "I don't expect it to happen."
Armstrong previously had denied doping for more than a decade. But his strategy changed after the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency released more than 1,000 pages of detailed doping evidence against him in October.
Based on that evidence, USADA gave him a lifetime ban from sanctioned competition and stripped him of his seven titles in the Tour de France.
To reduce that ban and compete again, Armstrong must put his confession under oath. He also must provide "substantial assistance" to help clean up cycling, likely including testifying against others. If he does that, Armstrong could have his ban reduced to "no less than eight years," according to the World Anti-Doping Agency code. It's also possible that his ban could shrink beyond that depending on what information he provides and if several governing bodies agree to it.
Since his ban, Armstrong has competed in unsanctioned triathlons on the back roads of American sports.
As for his future, Armstrong said, "I don't know the outcome here."
"I'm deeply sorry for what I did," he said. "I can say that thousands of times, and it might never be enough."
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