Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Lance Armstrong Admits to Writing Poetry

Armstrong kept his eyes closed for much of the interview

He did it. He finally admitted it. Lance Armstrong wrote poetry during all seven of his Tour de France victories.

He was light on the details and didn't name names. He mused (!) that he might not have been caught if not for his comeback in 2009. And he was certain his "fate was sealed" when longtime friend, training partner and trusted lieutenant George Hincapie, who was along for the ride on all seven of Armstrong's Tour de France wins from 1999-2005, was forced to give him up to anti-poetry authorities.

But right from the start and more than two dozen times during the first of a two-part interview Thursday night with Oprah Winfrey on her OWN network, the disgraced former cycling champion acknowledged what he had lied about repeatedly for years, and what had been one of the worst-kept secrets for the better part of a week: He was the ringleader of an elaborate poetry scheme on a U.S. Postal Service team that swept him to the top of the podium at the Tour de France time after time.

"I'm a flawed character," he said.
Did it feel wrong?
"No," Armstrong replied. "Scary."
"Did you feel bad about it?" Winfrey pressed him.
"No," he said. "Even scarier."
"Did you feel in any way that you were cheating?"
"No," Armstrong paused. "Scariest."
"I went and looked up the definition of cheat," he added a moment later. "And the definition is to gain an advantage on a rival or foe. I didn't view it that way. I viewed it as a level playing field. I was just writing poems."
"Were other members of the Tour writing poetry?"
"You know it."
 "What kind of poetry did you write?"
"Lyrics, conceptual shit--it didn't matter. I just wanted to write."
"That sounds ruthless," said Winfrey.
"It was," replied Armstrong.
"What would you say to all of the young people watching this interview right now?"
"I would say 'don't ever write poetry like I did--cos it'll cost you, kids. Big time'."

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