Lance Armstrong Speaks Out on Doping, Lifetime Ban in BBC Interview

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistJanuary 26, 2015

AUSTIN, TX - JANUARY 14:  In this handout photo provided by the Oprah Winfrey Network, Oprah Winfrey (not pictured) speaks with Lance Armstrong during an interview regarding the controversy surrounding his cycling career January 14, 2013 in Austin, Texas.  Oprah Winfrey’s exclusive no-holds-barred interview with Lance Armstrong, 'Oprah and Lance Armstrong: The Worldwide Exclusive,' has expanded to air as a two-night event on OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network.  The special episode of 'Oprah’s Next Chapter' will air Thursday, January 17 from 9-10:30 p.m. ET/PT (as previously announced) and Friday, January 18 at 9 p.m. ET/PT. The interview will be simultaneously streamed LIVE worldwide both nights on Oprah.com.  (Photo by George Burns/Oprah Winfrey Network via Getty Images)
Handout/Getty Images

In one of the most in-depth talks since a sit-down with Oprah Winfrey and an August interview with CNN, bicyclist Lance Armstrong has publicly spoken about doping and the subsequent fallout from the scandal that eradicated his seven Tour de France titles.  

He spoke to Dan Roan of BBC Sport, who asked him point blank if he would dope again.

"It's a complicated question, and my answer is not a popular answer," Armstrong said. "If I was racing in 2015, no, I wouldn't do it again, because I don't think you have to. If you take me back to 1995, when it was completely and totally pervasive, I'd probably do it again. People don't like to hear that." 

He also spoke of the frustrations that have come with his lifetime ban from the sport and other sports even, like running marathons:

But what's really frustrating, and probably 80 percent of it, is that if my mum got [multiple sclerosis] tomorrow—and thank God she hasn't—and I wanted to run the Boston Marathon to raise $100,000 (£66,500) for the MS Society, I couldn't do it. And not just run, I couldn't walk it, run a little bit, walk the aid stations and finish in four hours 15 minutes, but raise a hundred grand—I can't do it.

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Armstrong and Roan touched on multiple topics, from Armstrong's surprise at just how severe the fallout was after he admitted to doping to Oprah in January 2013 ("It's been tough, it's been trying, it's required some patience"); to his desire to be forgiven for his actions by the public someday; to his belief that his seven vacated Tour de France titles should have a winner, regardless of who it is; to his sadness that his Livestrong foundation has largely been forgotten.

But most folks will likely focus on his answer to whether he would dope again or not. Much of the fallout for Armstrong came as a result of his reluctance to fully reveal what had transpired in his doping days, and many felt he simply wasn't sorry for his actions.    

Journalist David Walsh shared his reaction to Armstrong's comments:

BBC Sport @BBCSport

"I just feel this guy hasn't changed one iota" says David Walsh, who first raised questions on Lance Armstrong http://t.co/jV9pe1Flhk

While Armstrong noted on more than one occasion in his interview with Roan that he made mistakes—mistakes he was sorry for committing—even he admitted that his opinion on doping likely wasn't a popular one. 

In the coming years, the public might forgive Armstrong. He might be permitted to compete in future events of some nature, such as marathons. Perhaps history will someday judge his entire generation of cyclists and not just him, reinstating his Tour de France titles.

A year after admitting he doped, however, feels far too soon for any of that to transpire.

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