CNN CNN


 

Return to Transcripts main page

CNN NEWSROOM

Oprah Dishes On Armstrong Doping; Armstrong's Hometown Reacts; The Psychology Of Lying; The Psychology Of Lying; Lance Armstrong's Career & Crash

Aired January 15, 2013 - 13:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Suzanne Malveaux, and this hour, we are taking an in-depth look at Lance Armstrong. After years and years of denial and being stripped of his seven Tour de France titles, he finally talks about doping in an interview with Oprah Winfrey. Now, we're going to analyze his cycling career. We're going to take a look at how he beat cancer. We're going to even take a look back at the 2005 court deposition. And we're also going to be looking for can he actually come back after the scandal? Well, Oprah says that Armstrong revealed a lot to her, but the interview didn't go exactly as she thought it would.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

OPRAH WINFREY, HOST, "OPRAH'S NEXT CHAPTER": I would say he did not come clean in the manner that I expected. It was surprising to me. I would say that that for myself, my team, all of us in the room, we were mesmerized and riveted by some of his answers. I had prepared. I'd read the recent decision. I watched all of Scott Pelley's reports, "60 minutes" reports. I had seen the Tyler Hamilton interview. I had read "Seven Deadly Sins." I read "L.A. Confidential," David Walsh's books. I had prepared and prepared like it was a college exam and walked into the room with 112 questions. And in a two and a half hour interview, I asked most of those questions, or at least as many of those questions as I could, but I feel he answered the questions in a way that he was ready. I didn't get all of the questions asked but I think the most important questions and the answers that people around the world have been waiting to hear were answered, and certainly answered -- I can only say I was satisfied by the answers.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Would you characterize --

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MALVEAUX: Just minutes ago, we heard from the head of the world anti- doping agency about Armstrong's revelations and, of course, his efforts to make a comeback. Director General Manager David Howman, he said in part here, I'm reading this, that only when Mr. Armstrong makes a full confession under oath and tells the anti-doping authorities all that he knows about doping activities can any legal and proper process for him to seek any reopening or reconsideration of his lifetime ban commence. We'll see how that goes.

For more than 10 years, Armstrong denied that he was doping. We've all heard about it. In 2005, he made the same claim, under oath while giving a deposition. This is a lawsuit that he had filed against a Dallas-based insurer. I want you to listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You have never taken any performance enhancing drug in connection with your cycling career?

LANCE ARMSTRONG, PROFESSIONAL ATHLETE: Correct.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And that would include any substance that's ever been banned. Is that fair to say?

ARMSTRONG: Correct.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MALVEAUX: By the way, the lawsuit, it was against an insurer that had paid huge bonuses to Armstrong for winning the Tour de France in all of those years.

Well, of course, he was a superstar athlete, beat the odds, beat cancer as well, lives a lie to all of his fans and cycling world. So, what is next for him after this big interview with Oprah Winfrey? Well, can he actually even redeem himself? Can he rebuild his image? It is all the talk of the town. That is in Austin, Texas, the hometown of lance Armstrong. It is the headquarters of the Livestrong Foundation, which he founded to help fight cancer.

Our own Ed Lavandera, he is covering part of the story for us in Austin, Texas. And you're at the bike shop there. The guy you interviewed at the bike shop, he's still a loyal fan. He's still a friend of Lance Armstrong. How are most people responding to this?

ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Boy, it's really difficult in a place like here. This is place is a place called Mellow Johnny's here in the heart of downtown Austin. Lance Armstrong and -- is one of the owners, opened up this bike shop about five years ago. This is a place where it has been a refuge for him. His pictures still hang on the wall. There is the seven yellow jerseys up there on the wall as well, Suzanne. So, this is a place where he has still kept a great deal of support, even though over the last couple of months and years, that -- the suspicion of just how involved lance Armstrong was in using performance enhancing drugs and it started to gnaw away at people. But, you know, look here, they're saying that we're going to take a look at the bigger picture of Lance Armstrong, all of the good things that he had -- that he has done, and all of the good things that they think -- his friends here think will come of his continued work in trying to redeem himself after making this confession.

MALVEAUX: Ed, you had an interesting story about somebody, a woman, who brought back a bicycle because it came from that shop. Are most people -- what did she say to you?

LAVANDERA: Well, it was a story that was relayed by the general manager here at -- of Mellow Johnny's who had told me that a woman had come in recently and bought a bike and then -- and then returned it and said didn't want to buy a bike from that guy, Lance Armstrong. And you know, obviously, this is -- he is one of the owners here. So, this is a place that they expect that kind of reaction right now. They know that here in the heat of the moment of Lance Armstrong after spending a decade of denying performance enhancing drug use that all of a sudden he has done an about-face and is -- and is ready to confess to using those performance enhancers. But, yes, it comes as a big -- a big shock to people.

MALVEAUX: Sure.

LAVANDERA: And outside of the store, you know, they need to realize that circle of influence and that's in that circle of people who support Lance Armstrong has shrunk --

MALVEAUX: Sure.

LAVANDERA: -- considerably here in the last few months.

MALVEAUX: And Ed, I know you have news about the fact reports now that Lance Armstrong is not going to testify against others. What do we know about that?

LAVANDERA: Yes, there have been some reports that one of the reason -- you know, one of the of the speculation why Lance Armstrong is now coming out and making this confession after so many years of denying the performance enhancing drug use is that -- perhaps that he wanted to get a lesser sentence. You know, he has been banned from competing in competitive sports at the Olympic level and that sort of thing. He has been doing triathlons and running a lot and that some of the speculation had been if he could help investigators. And there has been deals that have been made with other cyclists who have come forward and given investigators information, that their sentences have been reduced.

And so, there had been some talk as whether or not Lance Armstrong was going to talk or confess about others and point the finger at others in the cycling industry that had helped him. But a source close to the -- to the situation and knowledgeable of what is going on with this situation says that there is no plans right now for Lance Armstrong to point those fingers. So, we'll see how this plays out. And obviously, many questions could very well be answered when we see the full breadth of the interview with Oprah Winfrey.

MALVEAUX: All right. A lot of people waiting very patiently. But still want to see that. It's just days away but we are already getting a pretty good idea of what's in that interview. Armstrong, he lost all seven of his Tour de France titles following this huge report by the anti -- the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency. Now, it portrayed Armstrong as a ruthless competitor willing to go to any lengths to win. The chief of the agency was recently interviewed on "60 Minutes Sports." Travis Tygart revealed a Lance Armstrong representative tried to make a sizable donation to the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency shortly before the investigation was launched.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) SCOTT PELLEY, CBS 60 MINUTES: What kind of donation was he interested in making USADA?

TRAVIS TYGART, CHIEF EXECUTIVE, U.S. ANTI-DOPING AGENCY: It was a significant financial donation --

PELLEY: Which came to what?

TYGART: which his representatives' offers to us. It was in excess of $150,000.

PELLEY: More like a quarter of a million dollars?

TYGART: It was around that ballpark.

PELLEY: When you heard that, what did you think?

TYGART: I was stunned.

PELLEY: Did you feel like you were being bought off?

TYGART: It was clear conflict of interest for USADA. And we had no hesitation in rejecting that offer.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MALVEAUX: In a statement e-mailed to CNN, Armstrong's attorney denied the accusation. Well this hour, we're taking a close look at Lance Armstrong, of course the scandal that is rocking the sports world. We're going to hear his entire deposition. This is from 2005. This is when he denied using performance enhancement drugs.

Psychologist Wendy Walsh, she's going to us next as our special coverage of Lance Armstrong continues.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You've never used your own blood for doping purposes, for example?

ARMSTRONG: Absolute -- that would be banned.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. I'm not trying to agitate you. I'm just trying to make you're your testimony is clear.

ARMSTRONG: OK, OK.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MALVEAUX: For more than a decade, Lance Armstrong vehemently denied that he used performance enhancing drugs. Well, the one seven-time winner of the Tour de France repeated that denial over and over and over again. Well, now, after an interview with Oprah Winfrey, the talk show host has confirmed that Armstrong admitted to doping. Psychologist Wendy Walsh, she's joining us from Los Angeles. Wendy, first of all, who does this?

WENDY WALSH, PSYCHOLOGIST: Who does this? Somebody who has a lot to lose. I mean, he was clinging on the lie built into more lies and more lies as the numbers built up, the endorsements, the image or his charity, indeed the image for America on a worldwide playing feel. And so, he started to cling to the lie and believe it because he had to. In his mind, it was his survival mode.

MALVEAUX: So, where does this come from? Is this extreme narcissism? Is this a pathology? I mean, give us a sense of what is going on in the mind of somebody who is capable of doing this.

WALSH: You know, we're all capable of lying, Suzanne, all of us. In the right situation, all human beings lie. I lie sometimes that the traffic's a little heavy when really I was a little too late getting out of my house in the morning, OK? We all lie. But this high-level lying with this kind -- these rule violations and these consequences, I think more have to do with the elite world that he was in. It's almost like the general public doesn't really understand. All my competitors are using it, we all have to now. This is what we have to do. And really, what's the difference between it and a supplement like a vitamin that people might be taking? So remember, he rationalizes, what I'm doing is -- I'm not saying this is true, I'm saying this how people rationalize in the upper ranks and sort of protect the inner circle as much as they can.

MALVEAUX: And, you know, it's not the first time we've seen high- profile individuals valiantly (ph) denying something, lying in the past. I mean, we -- and then, finally the truth comes out. We've seen many examples, Barry Bonds lying to the Grand Jury about using his own performance enhancing drugs. You know, former President Clinton, I covered that whole thing with Monica Lewinsky affair.

WALSH: Yes.

MALVEAUX: And then, Anthony Weiner who was lying repeatedly about sexting the pictures of himself to women. And then, finally, coming clean and admitting it here. Is there a sense that when people lie over and over again that they are -- they have the capability -- they've transformed something in their head or mind where they can believe what it is that they are saying?

WALSH: Oh, of course. The more often they lie, the more real it becomes to them. And also, at the same time, they are using those rationalizations that I told you about. They're sort of justifying it inside themselves as they're repeating the lie over and over again, so it becomes real in a way to them.

MALVEAUX: And I want you to take a look at this. This is a deposition Armstrong made back in 2005. He is denying this. And I want to -- I want our audience to just pay attention to the body language here.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ARMSTRONG: How could it have taken place when I've never taken performance enhancing drugs? Look, how could that have happened?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's my point. You're not -- it's not just simply you don't recall, just --

ARMSTRONG: How many times do I have to say it?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm just trying to make sure your testimony is clear.

ARMSTRONG: Well, if it can't be clearer that I've never taken drugs, then incidents like that could never happen.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK.

ARMSTRONG: How clear is that?

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MALVEAUX: So, what do you make of that, the attitude?

WALSH: A little defensive, wouldn't you say? How many times do I have to say it? If I had never taken performance enhancing drugs, I'd say, ask me as often as you like. I'll keep saying it. Come one. But he was very defensive there. His body language was -- he was trying to put a wall up. He was trying to be emphatic and almost push the interviewer away. I would question this kind of defensiveness in the interview.

MALVEAUX: How do you explain this is somebody who also has done an incredible amount of good? He's a cancer survivor. He starts the Livestrong Foundation. He gets a lot of people to buy the bracelets and to feel empowered. How do you explain that on one hand, he does such good and the other hand, he's been lying and cheating for years?

WALSH: Well, that's the point. Human beings are very complicated people. Nobody is all good. Nobody is all bad. He's a good person. He's a good person who got caught up in a terrible system, maybe got a little narcissism incentive entitlement when he got into the elite circles, and then felt he -- once he had that power, he had to protect it. And maybe he even thought he was protecting America in some crazy way. Yes, he let down a lot of people and, yes, he's still doing a lot of good in the world and that's why human beings are so fascinating.

MALVEAUX: And he is -- he is a fascinating person. Wendy Walsh, thank you so much. We appreciate it.

WALSH: Thanks, Suzanne.

MALVEAUX: And, of course, reflecting the fact that he's so fascinating, social media blowing up over the allegations, what he is saying, what Oprah Winfrey is saying and what other folks are saying. We've got that up next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MALVEAUX: Cyclist Lance Armstrong talks about doping to Oprah Winfrey. But anti doping officials, they say that Armstrong needs to admit to his doping under oath. Just last hour, I talked with Dave Zirin. He's sports editor of "The Nation" magazine. He's also author of the new book "Game Over: How Politics Have Turned The Sports World Upside Down." Well, I asked him what Armstrong's apology would mean for him and the sport of cycling. Here's what he said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DAVE ZIRIN, EDGEOFSPORTS.COM: Lance Armstrong is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to performance enhancing drugs and cheating in the world of cycling. You know, Lance Armstrong won seven Tour de France titles. The reason why, now that those titles have been stripped, they haven't been given to the second place finishers is that every single second place finisher in those seven victories has also been found to be implicated in performance enhancing drugs. I mean the sport makes -- it is unbelievable. It makes Major League Baseball look clean in comparison. It makes Las Vegas look like Salt Lake City. It's just -- it's the sort of thing that they need to actually now get started and prove that this wasn't just about chasing Lance Armstrong, the big white whale, this wasn't just about going after him, which Lance Armstrong and his defenders have often said, this is actually about cleaning up the sport.

MALVEAUX: Dave, how on earth -- how do they even start that process when you talk about this? I mean this is a sport that doesn't seem to have all that much legitimacy when you look at the top level cyclists around the globe now.

ZIRIN: Yes. I mean it's very difficult to get started in terms of cleaning up the sport. The first reason is that the sport itself is so very dangerous. I mean if you had the same number of deaths in the National Football League that you've had in competitive cycling over the last 20 years, there would be congressional investigations on a monthly basis. It's incredibly physically demanding. What they're asked to do, particularly in the Tour de France in terms of biking up the face of the Pyrenees at 35, 40 miles an hour, it's so intense that many cyclists, who I've spoken to off the record, will say, look, the drugs we're taking are -- we call them survival drugs. We're trying to increase the oxygenation of our blood so we can actually do it. So how do you have cycling that's safe, that still has fan interest, and that bikes actually feel like they can compete in without putting themselves at risk? That's the gordian (ph) knot (ph) that cycling faces right now.

MALVEAUX: And let's talk about Lance's own career here. I mean you've said before, and I think a lot of people agree, that he did the interview because he wants the U.S. Anti Doping Agency to lift this lifetime ban on him so he can go ahead -- ahead in his future, perhaps compete in triathlons, there are some other events, things like that. Is this something that you think will actually work?

ZIRIN: It's a great question. What he is attempting to do is the public relations equivalent of cycling through the eye of a needle, because not only does he have to show the United States Anti Doping Agency, an organization that he has criticized and cursed for years, that they were right, he was wrong, he is repentant, he is -- he's contrite, but he also has to not reveal too much, because if he does, there is going to be a conga line of lawyers outside his door ready to sue him for every last penny of his $100 million fortune for all the time that he countersued, that he won libel suits against newspapers, like "The Sunday Times of London" --

MALVEAUX: Yes.

ZIRIN: Or other entities as well. There's the Justice Department that wants to claim $30 million from him perhaps --

MALVEAUX: Sure.

ZIRIN: Because of the U.S. Postal Service endorsement. So he is attempting to do something very difficult with his interview and that's honestly what I'm going to be looking to watch. Not so much did he admit it, but how much does he reveal.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MALVEAUX: The Lance Armstrong interview with Oprah Winfrey, it has lit up social media. People are posting all over the place their opinions. They are passionate. They are pointed. Just check this out. This is CNN FaceBook page. Melinda Morgan told us, "this guy is a loser and a liar!" Margaret Midkiff posted, "he is not sorry for what he did. He is sorry that he got caught." Nbhuller tweeted this, "Lance Armstrong needs to make a new foundation called #CheatStrong."

But not everybody is bashing Armstrong. Megan, she tweeted this. She says, "Lance Armstrong cheated at a sport that nobody cares about, but raised millions of dollars for a cause that everyone cares about. Forgiven in my books."

Well, his career as professional athlete began back in 1987. He was just 16 years old. But there was always this dark cloud that hovered over him, his cycling glory, those were the doping suspicions. He continued to deny using those performance enhancing drugs, but now Oprah Winfrey, she says, and confirms, he was lying. We're going to take a look at the repeated denials.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MALVEAUX: Seven years ago Lance Armstrong looked like he was on top of his game. This photo actually shows him with former President George W. Bush taking a bike ride on the president's ranch at Crawford, Texas. I remember that. The photo was taken in the summer of 2005. It was about a month after he won his seventh Tour de France title. Well, that is a title that he no longer holds. Our Ed Lavandera, he is looking at Lance Armstrong's career.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

LAVANDERA (voice-over): It's a script that would make a Hollywood writer jealous. Cycling athlete gets cancer, nearly dies, but heroically comes back to win the world's most famous race, not once, not twice, but a record breaking seven straight times. Oh, and, by the way, he also starts a cancer foundation which has raised $470 million and has provided inspiration to millions around the world.

But a dark cloud hovering over this story never blew past. Suspicions that grew into allegations that Lance Armstrong used performance enhancing drugs to accomplish his incredible feats. The suspicions were confirmed in October, when the United States Anti Doping Agency released thousands of pages of evidence of what it said was a sophisticated doping program.

Armstrong was stripped of his Tour de France titles and banned from all Olympic sports for life. One by one, his sponsors have left him, too. Late last year, Armstrong was forced out from Livestrong, the cancer charity he founded.

Armstrong has kept a low profile at his Austin home since the report was released. But Armstrong's repeated denials over the years to protect his name have angered many.

Seven years ago, Armstrong denied using steroids under oath in this videotaped deposition obtained by CNN. He was sued by a Texas-based insurance company that had paid massive bonuses to Armstrong for winning consecutive Tour de France titles.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You have never taken any performance enhancing drug in connection with your cycling career?

ARMSTRONG: Correct.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And that would include any substance that's ever been banned, is that fair to say?

ARMSTRONG: Correct.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why don't you give me the definition of what you're using when you say you've never taken any performance enhancing substances? What would that include, anything banned --

ARMSTRONG: That would have include -- well, it would include anything on the banned list.

LAVANDERA: Former teammates, found guilty of doping themselves, went on record.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you see Lance Armstrong using other performance enhancing drugs?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: At times, yes. At different training camps.

TYLER HAMILTON, FORMER CYCLIST TEAMMATE: He took what we all took. Really no difference between Lance Armstrong and, I'd say, the majority of the (INAUDIBLE), you know.

LAVANDERA: Repercussions. So why is he doing this now? One reason could be hope that a confession might give him a shot at resuming his competitive triathlon career from which he is banned for life. At age 41, he doesn't have much time left to make a clean start in another sport. (END VIDEOTAPE)

LAVANDERA: And this is Mellow Johnny's bike shop in the heart of downtown Austin, Texas. Partly owned by Lance Armstrong. One of the few places left where there's a refuge, of sorts, for him, where he can still find people, some of the people who have stood by him the longest and the most steadfast.

But this news, very difficult. We spoke with the general manager of the store here. His name is Craig Staley. He has raced and known Lance Armstrong since they were teenagers. Listening to Lance go through this confession has been very difficult for him.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LAVANDERA: You know, he lives in this town. And do you feel people are disappointed in him?

CRAIG STALEY, GENERAL MANAGER, MELLOW JOHNNY'S: There's a lot of that, sure, naturally. But he does have a lot of supporters still. And that's been impressive and kind of amazing to see here because, you know, when everything kind of hit in October, the big question was like, well what happens to this place? And it was a -- nobody really knew. And we've seen some drop-off. We've seen some people not come here any longer. And the first week we had a lady return a bike and just say, well, you know, I just don't want to buy my bike from that guy. It's understandable.

But overall what we've seen is we've seen a lot of people that still want to come here and still take pictures and there's still supporters of Lance, the person.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LAVANDERA: And, Suzanne, the pictures of Lance Armstrong, the seven Tour de France jerseys, still on the wall. And Craig Stalely says they have no intention of bringing those down in any way. They'll leave them up there.

MALVEAUX: All right, Ed, thank you so much. We appreciate it.

Well, during his 2005 deposition, Armstrong denied, denied, denied. And we're going to listen to the entire deposition as our special coverage continues.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)