Disgraced former Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong is opening up about the truth behind his use of performance-enhancing drugs — or at least his version of the truth.
‘I’m going to tell you my truth,’ the 48-year-old Armstrong said in a trailer for an upcoming two-part documentary, which will air on ESPN later this month.
Over four hours, Armstrong and ESPN will detail his rise to the top of the sport, his battle with cancer, his seven consecutive Tour de France titles, and the steroids scandal that ultimately came to define his career.
If this feels like well-worn territory for Armstrong, that’s because he already gave a tell-all interview to Oprah Winfrey in 2013, confessing that it would not have been possible for him to win seven Tour de France titles without cheating. However, he denied accusations that he pressured team-mates into doping, bribed cycling officials, or took PEDs during his comeback in 2009 and 2010.
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ESPN’s upcoming documentary about Lance Armstrong appears to question his credibility
Armstrong already gave a tell-all interview to Oprah Winfrey in 2013, telling the TV host that it would not have been possible for him to win seven Tour de France titles without cheating. However, he denied accusations that he pressured teammates into doping, bribed cycling officials, or took PEDs during his comeback in 2009 and 2010
The preview makes it clear that Armstrong’s credibility remains in question after years of vehemently denying steroid use and berating reporters who questioned his integrity.
‘He’s very good at making sure he’s one step ahead of taking true responsibility for his actions,’ an unidentified voice can be heard saying during the trailer.
Armstrong was one of the most admired Americans amid his cycling dominance, and was the face of the Livestrong Foundation, the cancer charity that he helped to popularize by wearing a yellow band around his wrist.
‘I can never be honest about this because all of this goodness will come crashing down,’ Armstrong said in the preview as fans are shown wearing the yellow wrist band.
Although nearly every sport in North America has been sidelined by coronavirus, ESPN has generated interest with its 10-part docu-series on the 1997-1998 Chicago Bulls titled ‘The Last Dance.’
Episodes 7 and 8 ran Sunday night, drawing 5.3 million and 4.9 million viewers, respectively, according to ESPN.
The first six episodes actually averaged 12.2 million viewers when DVR recordings are taken into account, according to ESPN.
Lance Armstrong pictured winning his seventh Tour de France in 2005
Armstrong is no longer affiliated with Livestrong, and was nowhere to be seen in February during the brand ‘relaunch’ ceremony in Austin.
The charity announced plans to end its one-on-one cancer support services, where a patient could call for help dealing with insurance, counseling and medical trials. Instead, it will pivot to spending $5-6 million annually to support entrepreneurs developing products to improve treatment and patient care.
Livestrong will maintain its partnership with the Livestrong Cancer Institutes at the University of Texas Dell Medical School, which focuses on cancer research, patient care and treatment.
‘We’re more than a wristband,’ Livestrong President and CEO Greg Lee told a crowd of about 200 gathered for the event. A few minutes earlier, Gloria Gaynor’s 1970s hit single ‘I Will Survive’ pumped out of the speakers.
Livestrong’s trademark yellow wristbands were once worn by celebrities and politicians the world over. Donations and commercial ties to athletic apparel company Nike brought in tens of millions annually.
But those days are gone. The wristbands are rarely seen anymore, and Nike ended its Livestrong clothing line years ago.
Livestrong was a pioneer in providing one-on-one help to guide people through difficult and sometimes traumatic cancer diagnosis and treatment. The model has been successfully copied by many. The company therefore needs to find new, unique ways to help patients, Lee said.
Livestrong’s trademark yellow wristbands were once worn by celebrities and politicians the world over. Donations and commercial ties to athletic apparel company Nike brought in tens of millions annually. But those days are gone. The wristbands are rarely seen anymore, and Nike ended its Livestrong clothing line years ago
Armstrong founded Lance Armstrong Foundation in 1997 after he was diagnosed with testicular cancer that had spread to his lungs and brain. His remarkable recovery and success on the world’s biggest stage for cyclists fueled a boom that transformed the once small charity into a global force.
At its peak, Livestrong took in $41million in donations in 2009 when Armstrong came out of retirement to finish third in the Tour de France. The downturn came when Armstrong’s career and reputation were undone first by a 2012 investigation in performance-enhancing drug use and his 2013 confession in a televised interview with Oprah Winfrey.
The charity desperately tried to distance itself from the scandal. Armstrong was pushed out of his role as chairman of the board of directors – he remains listed as a board emeritus member but is otherwise not involved – and the foundation’s name was formally changed to Livestrong.
According to 2018 financial records, the most recent available, donations and revenue had dipped under $2.5m. Assets listed at $100m a decade ago have been whittled to $46m. That includes a $37m endowment, which has about $15m tied to specific spending restrictions.
Lance Armstrong is now 48 years old and no longer partakes in competitive cycling