Text size:

  • Small
  • Normal
  • Large
Formula One 2014: Complete schedule, standings, driver info
Happier times for Lance Armstrong as he playfully holds his seventh Tour de France trophy just out of the reach of his son, Luke. The disgraced athlete got emotional during his interview with Oprah Winfrey in recalling his discussion with his family about his doping issues.
Happier times for Lance Armstrong as he playfully holds his seventh Tour de France trophy just out of the reach of his son, Luke. The disgraced athlete got emotional during his interview with Oprah Winfrey in recalling his discussion with his family about his doping issues.

Emotional Lance Armstrong told family 'don't defend me anymore'

The disgraced athlete says the emotional toll on his family was one of the reasons he decided to set the record straight.

Lance Armstrong showed barely the slightest flicker of emotion when he confessed to cheating his way to a record seven Tour de France titles, but the American finally cracked when he recalled telling his children the truth about his doping-fuelled career.

In the final half of his televised interview with the US talk-show host Oprah Winfrey, aired late on Friday, Armstrong sifted through the rubble of a career destroyed by the exposure of his use of performance-enhancing drugs.

A day earlier he had admitted to what the sporting world had long suspected, that he had cheated his way to the pinnacle of professional cycling by blood doping and using banned drugs such as erythropoietin and human growth hormone.

Armstrong, 41, equated the lifetime ban handed down by the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) to the "death penalty".

Armstrong remained stoic as he recounted how his sponsors fled, and along with them tens of millions of dollars in income disappeared in a single day.

"I don't like thinking about it, but that was a US$75 million (Dh275.5m) day. Gone, gone and probably never coming back," he said.

Armstrong appeared saddened when he recalled the day he had to stand aside from Livestrong, the cancer foundation he set up, but it was when questions turned to his family that Winfrey finally struck a nerve.

The Texan fought back tears and paused to gather his crumbling composure as he talked about admitting to his 13-year-old son Luke that the stories about his father were true.

"When this all really started, I saw my son defending me, and saying, 'That's not true'," said Armstrong.

"That's when I knew I had to tell him. And he'd never asked me. He'd never said, 'Dad is this true?' He'd trusted me.

"I told Luke, I said, 'Don't defend me anymore, don't'.

"I said, 'If anyone says anything to you do not defend me, just say, Hey, my dad said he was sorry'."

Painted as a relentless, ruthless athletic machine, the moment of raw emotion offered a rare glimpse of Armstrong's human side. Having described himself as a man who is always in control, Armstrong struggled to contain his emotions again when Winfrey asked about the impact the doping scandal had on his mother.

"She's a wreck," he said. "[But] she's a tough lady and gotten through every other tough moment in her life.

"It took seeing her to really understand that this has taken a toll on her life.

"I'm deeply sorry for what I did, I can say that thousands of times and that may never be enough to come back."

twitter Follow us @SprtNationalUAE

Back to the top

More articles


Editor's Picks

 Al Ahli's Ismail Al Hammadi, left, battles for the ball during the Arabian Gulf Cup final between against Al Jazira at Hazza bin Zayed Stadium on April 19, 2014. Al Hammadi hit the game-winner in the 81st minute for Ahli. Al Ittihad

Al Ahli maintain course for domestic treble with victory over Al Jazira in Arabian Gulf Cup

Al Ahli maintained their hopes of a domestic treble with a superb comeback victory against Al Jazira in the Arabian Gulf Cup final on Saturday night.

 Yuzvendra Chahal, centre, and the Royal Challengers Bangalore teammates celebrate after the bowlers set up an easy win over Mumbai Indians. Pawan Singh / The National

Bowlers set up Bangalore as Patel stand tall over Mumbai

Mumbai bowlers gave early hope but Parthiv Patel and AB de Villiers' unbeaten stand of 99 ensures second defeat for the men in blue in Dubai.

 Roelof Kotzee is leading UAE to unchartered territory. Sarah Dea / The National

UAE step into the unknown ahead of Asian Five Nations

Performance manager Roelof Kotze will give 12 players their first experience of international rugby, but there is also minimal information on Singapore ahead of first Test in Dubai on Wednesday, reports Paul Radley.

 Manuel Pellegrini believes Manchester City have the ability to bounce back from recent defeats to win the Premier League title. Andrew Yates / AFP

Pellegrini certain Manchester City will take title race down to wire

As his side host West Brom in a must-win match, the manager is banking on other teams dropping points in the last few weeks of the Premier League title race.

 Novak Djokovic of Serbia winces in pain during his semi-final match against Roger Federer of Switzerland at the Monte Carlo Masters on April 19, 2014. Federer prevailed to set up an all-Swiss final with Stanislas Wawrinka. SEBASTIEN NOGIER / EPA

Ailing Djokovic will ‘just rest now’ while Nadal not pressing the panic button

Djokovic says only rest will help is injured right wrist after he falls to Roger Federer on Saturday, and Nadal suffers just his third career defeat in Monte Carlo when he slumped to a shock 7-6, 6-4 quarter-final loss to compatriot Ferrer on Friday.

Events

To add your event to The National listings, click here

Get the most from The National