Lance Armstrong must make a full confession under oath — not merely an admission in a television interview with Oprah Winfrey — if he wants authorities to consider lifting his lifetime ban from sports, the director of the World Anti-Doping Agency said.
LONDON — Lance Armstrong must make a full confession under oath — not merely an admission in a television interview with Oprah Winfrey — if he wants authorities to consider lifting his lifetime ban from sports, the director of the World Anti-Doping Agency said Tuesday.
WADA director general David Howman told The Associated Press that Armstrong’s interview with Winfrey is “hardly the same as giving evidence to a relevant authority” that deals with doping rules and sanctions.
“He’s got to follow a certain course,” Howman said. “That is not talking to a talk-show host.”
Armstrong, 41, was stripped of his seven Tour de France titles and banned for life from Olympic sports last year after a U.S. Anti-Doping Agency report portrayed him as a longtime user of performance-enhancing drugs. After years of denials, he confessed to doping during an interview with Winfrey taped Monday.
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The interview will air as a two-night event on OWN: The Oprah Winfrey Network on Thursday and Friday. Both shows begin at 9 p.m. PST, according to the network website.
Seattle-area viewers with satellite television or computers might be able to see the shows starting at 6 p.m. both nights; check provider listings. According to the website, the interview will be “simultaneously streamed live worldwide both nights” on Oprah.com.
In an appearance Tuesday on “CBS This Morning,” Winfrey declined to give many details of what Armstrong told her, but said she was “mesmerized and riveted by some of his answers.”
Asked whether cancer survivor Armstrong appeared genuinely contrite after his decade of fierce denials of doping, Winfrey replied, “I felt that he was thoughtful, I thought that he was serious, I thought that he certainly had prepared for this moment. I would say that he met the moment.”
Armstrong, who reportedly is eager to compete in triathlons, has been in conversations with USADA about a possible confession to authorities and a path to restoring his eligibility.
Howman said a reduced ban is possible, depending on the level of Armstrong’s cooperation.
“Is he trying to do something for himself to have the sanctions changed?” Howman said. “Does he want to do something for the benefit of the sport itself?
“In both instances, he will need to make a full statement on oath.”
The International Cycling Union, meanwhile, urged Armstrong to testify before its independent commission on doping to shed light on allegations that include whether the UCI helped cover up his use of performance-enhancing drugs.
WADA and USADA officials complained the UCI panel is failing to offer amnesty to potential witnesses, which they said will discourage people from coming forward. The UCI commission, chaired by retired British judge Philip Otton, is to meet in London in April and has a June 1 deadline to deliver its report.