What a Dope

Lance Armstrong says he would dope again despite soiled career

Lance Armstrong says he would dope again despite soiled career

Lance Armstrong riding his bike along the beach
Lance Armstrong spoke extensively with BBC reporter Dan Roan about his life since he admitted to doping two years ago. Lancearmstrong.com

Disgraced athlete Lance Armstrong is once again making waves. During an interview with BBC reporter Dan Roan on January 26, Armstrong revealed that given the opportunity to do his career over, he would dope again. 

Armstrong believes that in order to win his seven (now redacted) Tour de France titles, doping was necessary, considering its prevalence at the time. He goes on to argue that a lot of good came from his title, including the subsequent success of the Livestrong Foundation, which he founded in 1997.

"It's a complicated question, and my answer is not a popular answer," Armstrong says when Roan asks if he would dope again. "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 totally pervasive, I'd probably do it again," Armstrong said in a BBC interview.

"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."

Armstrong finally admitted to doping in his now-famous interview with Oprah Winfrey in 2013.

"I spent a long time trying to build up an organization to help a lot of people," Armstrong tells Roan. "And I can't lie: It hurts that that has been put away, or almost forgotten, and almost — in some parts of the world — discounted as if it was a sham or PR. It wasn't.

"That was very real. It meant a lot to me. And the deepest cut was Livestrong saying, 'You need to step away.'"

Roan points out that even after being stripped of his titles and Livestrong's support, Armstrong showed little emotion during the fallout, aside from the moment he told Oprah about his teenaged son's defending him. During his BBC interview, Armstrong says that his children haven't experienced much blowback over the past two years.

"And not through any credit to me," Armstrong explains. "I think it is a testament to the community we have here in Austin, to their schools, their classmates, their teachers."

When the subject switches to forgiveness, Roan asks Armstrong a very important question: If he were just one of us, could he forgive Armstrong? "Listen, I'm not going to lie to you. Selfishly, I would say, 'Yeah, we're getting close to that time.'

"But that's me, my word doesn't matter anymore. What matters is ultimately what collectively those people on the street — whether that's the cycling community, the cancer community — it matters what they think." 

Watch the full interview with Roan or read an abridged transcript at the BBC Sport website.