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Armstrong’s admission – cycling’s worst kept secret?

Lance Armstrong has apparently confessed to taking performance-enhancing drugs. The Daily Shift’s Peter Farrell has more…

Will Lance Armstrong reveal that he was a drugs cheat?

Will Lance Armstrong reveal that he was a drugs cheat?

Lance Armstrong has confessed to taking performance-enhancing drugs in a pre-recorded interview with Oprah Winfrey, according to an anonymous source close to the situation.

It had been widely reported that Armstrong would make such a statement in what is his first public interview since the disgraced former Tour de France champion dropped his challenge against doping charges by the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) in August 2012.

Armstrong’s admission, if it has taken place, may have significant consequences for the former star – both financially and legally. Over the course of his Tour career Armstrong left a trail of destruction in his wake not only on the slopes of the Pyrenees but also in court rooms across Europe and the United States.

Central to this is the infamous lawsuit launched by Armstrong in 2006 against the Sunday Times and journalist David Walsh. Walsh, along with Paul Kimmage, was one of the journalists who spoke out against Armstrong at a time when he was seen by many as an untouchable colossus dominating the sport.

The lawsuit centred on a book published by Walsh in 2004 which contained a lot of circumstantial evidence indicating that Armstrong had taken performance enhancing drugs. Ultimately Armstrong was to succeed – the case was settled outside of court for a sum believed to be in the region of $1.5 million.

In an open letter to Oprah, which The Sunday Times carried at the weekend, they have stated that they intend to recover this money, claiming Armstrong obtained it by fraud. If Armstrong has admitted they will surely succeed.

This may only be the beginning of Armstrong’s problems. There has been much talk that many event organisers and sponsors will attempt to recover prize money that he won while riding on drugs. Even more worrying may be the fact that Armstrong may also face jail time.

In a 2005 court case against a promotional company which was withholding prize money Armstrong stated, under oath, that he had never taken performance enhancing drugs, despite evidence to the contrary from former team mates. Lying under oath is known as perjury, a crime punishable by jail time. Given his stature it is unlikely Armstrong will see the inside of a jail cell, but will almost certainly have to repay the money awarded to him.

Armstrong’s admission is the revealing of one of sports worst kept secrets, yet it will have a considerable fallout. It raises the obvious question of how did he manage to continue to compete while undergoing repeated drug tests?

Were there darker forces at play whereby Armstrong’s positive tests were overlooked? David Walsh certainly thinks so, and Armstrong is known to have made donations of up to $200,000 to the UCI, cycling’s world governing body.

Perhaps the only saving grace may be that in his admission Armstrong will also name the names of those who assisted him in what was described by USADA as “the most sophisticated doping programme ever”. Perhaps he may prevent this from happening again.

This may be consolation to those who had the courage to speak out against him – Walsh, Kimmage and numerous others – but it may be of scant use to those who defended and believed in him.

Of course there is also the possibility that the admission never happens and Armstrong continues to demean those who looked up to him throughout this 13 year charade.

It appears Americans really are the kings of reality TV.

*Lead image courtesy of nydailynews.com
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About Peter Farrell

Originally from Ballyadams in Co. Laois, currently studying a MA in Journalism in DCU after deciding after 4 years in UCD that Law really wasn't for me. Big sports fan, play a bit of football for St. Josephs in Laois and will watch just about anything but mainly GAA, soccer, rugby, horse racing, athletics and cycling. Also a big fan of music, farming (you can take the boy out of the country...) and the occasional pint. And eating. Eating is key.

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