Livestrong Charity Expects Armstrong To Be ‘Truthful’ In TV Interview

lance armstrong_2011
by Robert MacPherson

WASHINGTON, Jan 16, 2013 (AFP) – The cancer charity founded by Lance
Armstrong said Wednesday it expects the disgraced cyclist to be “completely
truthful and forthcoming” in his upcoming interview with Oprah Winfrey.

The Livestrong Foundation issued a statement on the eve of the broadcast of
Armstrong’s much-anticipated pre-recorded interview — his first since he was
stripped of his Tour de France titles amid irrefutable doping allegations.

“We expect Lance to be completely truthful and forthcoming in his interview
and with all of us in the cancer community,” said the statement, posted in the
blog section of Livestrong’s website (www.livestrong.org).

“We expect we will have more to say at that time. Regardless, we are
charting a strong, independent course forward that is focused on helping
people overcome financial, emotional and physical challenges related to
cancer.”

It added: “Inspired by the people with cancer whom we serve, we feel
confident and optimistic about the Foundation’s future and welcome an end to
speculation.”

In the wake of numerous leaks to news media, Winfrey confirmed Tuesday to
“CBS This Morning” that Armstrong, after a decade of denials, came clean to
her on his use of performance enhancing drugs.

The interview, originally scheduled to air Thursday on Winfrey’s OWN cable
network and website, will now run in two parts, on Thursday and Friday, to
take in its entire uncut two-and-half-hour span.

Prior to Monday’s taping of the interview in Austin, Texas, Armstrong — a
cancer survivor who last year distanced himself from Livestrong as the doping
allegations grew — visited the charity to speak with its staff in person.

“He expressed his regret for the stress the team suffered in recent years
as a result of the controversy surrounding his cycling career,” the Livestrong
statement Wednesday said.

“He asked that they stay focused on serving people affected by cancer,
something our team has always done excellently and will continue to do.”

Armstrong, 41, reportedly hopes a public confession could open the door to
a return to competitive sport in marathons and triathlons.

But David Howman, head of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) in Montreal,
said Tuesday that only a full confession under oath to anti-doping authorities
could prompt a rethink of his lifetime ban from competition.

WADA’s former chief Dick Pound, who is also a member of the International
Olympic Committee, similarly told AFP that Armstrong should face a proper
grilling, naming names and revealing details about how he cheated.

“Simply by confessing to what everybody knows is not going to do anything
here,” Pound said.

Last year, the US Anti-Doping Agency said Armstrong ran the most
sophisticated doping program in sports history, publishing reams of damning
eyewitness testimony from former team-mates about the extent of his cheating.

The scandal plunged cycling into crisis, raising questions about how he
managed to avoid detection for so long, amid claims the International Cycling
Union governing body turned a blind eye to widespread doping in the peloton.

The choice of Winfrey — an American television icon best known for
empathetic celebrity interviews — for a public confessional has sown doubts
about how much scrutiny Armstrong is prepared to face.

But she told “CBS This Morning” that “the most important questions and the
answers that people around the world have been waiting to hear were answered”.

Winfrey has previously interviewed US athlete Marion Jones, after she
admitted taking performance-enhancing drugs and was jailed.

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