BOSTON (CBS/AP) — A person familiar with the situation says Lance Armstrong confessed to Oprah Winfrey during an interview Monday that he used performance-enhancing drugs to win the Tour de France.
The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the interview is to be broadcast Thursday on Winfrey’s network.
WBZ-TV talked to Dan Lebowitz, the executive director of Northeastern University’s Sport in Society Center. He says there are teaching moments in how the Armstrong story unfolded that could help other professional and student athletes and one of those is likely about forgiveness.
“I think that we’re a forgiving society,” Lebowitz says, “we’re a society that you know in many respects we like the rise, we also like the fall but in many respects we are open to redemption.”
Armstrong was stripped of all seven Tour titles last year in the wake of a voluminous U.S. Anti-Doping Agency report that portrayed him as a ruthless competitor, willing to go to any lengths to win the prestigious race.
USADA chief executive Travis Tygart labeled the doping regimen allegedly carried out by the U.S. Postal Service team that Armstrong once led, “The most sophisticated, professionalized and successful doping program that sport has ever seen.”
After a federal investigation of the cyclist was dropped without charges being brought last year, USADA stepped in with an investigation of its own. The agency deposed 11 former teammates and accused Armstrong of masterminding a complex and brazen drug program that included steroids, blood boosters and a range of other performance-enhancers.
A positive in this, says Lebowitz, is that the Armstrong case puts a microscope on doping in cycling, and is already sparking a conversation of how the sport can move forward.
“The confession stage is more of a person saying to themselves, you know what, it is time for me to make this a positive both for my life, for other cyclists, for the sport of cycling and for sport in general,” said Lebowitz.
WBZ-TV’s Bobby Sisk contributed to this report.
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