In the second part of his interview with Oprah Winfrey, Armstrong recalled being forced to step down from his Livestrong foundation and admitting his doping to his 13-year-old son.
WASHINGTON — Lance Armstrong described his most humbling moment, recalled his most difficult confession and challenged his lifetime ban from competitive sports in the second part of his interview with Oprah Winfrey, aired Friday.
“I deserve to be punished. I’m not sure I deserve a death penalty,” he said, comparing his lifetime ban from competitive sports to the six-month bans for riders who doped with him and then testified against him.
Armstrong, 41, said “hell yes” when asked if he would like to compete again, “but that isn’t why I’m doing this.” He also said he does not expect the lifetime ban to be overturned.
In the first part of the interview, aired Thursday, he confessed that he had used banned substances en route to seven Tour de France titles.
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That appearance met mixed reactions, and he was criticized for failing to provide details of his doping regimen, as well as for appearing aloof and arrogant.
In Friday’s broadcast, Armstrong appeared close to tears when describing how he had to tell his 13-year-old son that he had taken banned substances.
“I told Luke, ‘Don’t defend me anymore … if anyone says anything to you, do not defend, just say, ‘Hey, my dad said he was sorry.’ “
He also spoke emotionally about the day he was asked to step down from the Livestrong cancer charity he founded.
“That was the most humbling moment,” he said. “(I was asked) to step down as chairman. A couple of weeks later the next call came — I was asked to step aside. That was the lowest.”
Armstrong estimated that the fallout from the doping scandal had cost him about $75 million in lost commercial opportunities and sponsorships.
Earlier Friday, the international cycling organization UCI welcomed his admission, while the International Olympic Committee spoke of “a very sad day for sport” amid criticism that he failed to reveal how the doping program worked and name others who were part of the scheme.
Armstrong apologized for his deception but maintained that he never made any of his teammates take illegal substances, while acknowledging he may have exerted pressure on them.”I never forced anyone,” he said in the first part of the interview. “I was the leader of the team, and the leader of the team leads by example.”
USADA chief Travis Tygart said Armstrong’s confession was only “a small step in the right direction.
“If he is sincere in his desire to correct his past mistakes,” Tygart said, “he will testify under oath about the full extent of his doping activities.”
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