(NEW YORK) — Lance Armstrong, once cycling’s most decorated champion and considered one of America’s greatest athletes, has confessed to cheating for at least a decade, admitting in an interview that aired Thursday that he owed all seven of his Tour de France titles and the millions of dollars in endorsements that followed to his use of illicit performance-enhancing drugs.
After years of denying that he had taken banned drugs and received oxygen-boosting blood transfusions, and attacking his teammates and competitors who attempted to expose him, Armstrong came clean with Oprah Winfrey in an exclusive interview, confessing to using banned substances for decades.
“I view this situation as one big lie that I repeated a lot of times,” he said.
In October, the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency issued a report in which 11 former teammates exposed the system with which they and Armstrong received drugs with the knowledge of their coaches and help of team physicians.
The U.S. Postal Service Cycling Team “ran the most sophisticated, professionalized and successful doping program that sport has ever seen,” USADA said in its report.
Armstrong confessed to Winfrey that his competition “cocktail” consisted of EPO, blood transfusions and testosterone, and that he had previously used cortisone.
He said he stopped doping following his 2005 Tour de France victory and did not use banned substances when he placed third in 2009.
Also on Thursday, before the Winfrey interview aired on her cable network OWN, the International Olympic Committee stripped Armstrong of his 2000 Olympic bronze medal.
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